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Auto review: 2021 Porsche 911 turbo delivers legendary performance, latest tech

Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

All 911 turbos have all-wheel drive. That makes the most of their prodigious power — 572 hp and 553 pound-feet of torque from a 3.7L flat-six engine, and makes the car useable, if not entirely advisable, in winter weather. The biggest drawbacks to year-round use are low ground clearance and front aero effects not designed with snow and slush in mind.

Aerodynamic tweaks include adaptive front cooling flaps and a bigger but lighter rear wing. Called Porsche Adaptive Aerodynamics, or PAA, the pieces also respond as an air brake when decelerating at high speeds. Before you scoff, remember: When Porsche refers to high speeds, it’s talking about the 911 Turbo’s 199-mph max.

The all-wheel drive system can send up to 368 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels for maximum performance and handling

The 911 turbo is available as either a coupe or convertible. It’s considered a 2+2. That means there are two vaguely leather-trimmed receptacles behind the driver and passenger, but they’re not intended to carry people far, if at all. It’s best to think of the rear as a seatbelt-equipped space for grocery bags, purses and briefcases.

I tested a very well-equipped Euro-spec 911 turbo coupe. All the performance features were in line with U.S. models, but some electronic and infotainment features were not functional.

Driving impressions

 

The 911 turbo is smooth, quiet, luxurious and — of course — blisteringly fast. It races from zero to 60 mph in 2.7 seconds using the standard launch control.

The adaptive suspension (PASM, or Porsche Active Suspension Management in the company’s panoply of abbreviations beginning with P, should you forget what you’re driving) lowers ride height by 10mm — about 0.4 inch — and stiffens to hold the car absolutely flat despite its massive acceleration and cornering ability.

The car hunkers down, then lights out under acceleration. Massive brakes provide tons of power for repeated stops from high speed.

Porsche’s eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts fast and smoothly. Its electronic controls combined with the 911’s sport and sport-plus driving modes respond superbly to the paddle shifters, but if you’re honest, you’ll admit to yourself that the electronic controls deliver better performance than a mere human will attain.

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