2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S Coupe (3.8L 6-cyl. Twin-turbo AWD 7-speed Automated Manual)
Driven On 5/28/2014
If there's one car out there that can do it all, it's the 911 Turbo S. Blazing speed, cling-wrap grip, and astounding brakes are expected and delivered. But it also knows how to calm down. There's no penalty for its impressive performance when you're just puttering around. It is refined and civilized. The price is justified.
PerformanceThere's incredible speed and capability on tap here, but harmony as well. Few cars are this fast. Fast is easy. The hard part is making this level of speed this accessible, yet the 911 Turbo S shows us that it is possible.
Phenomenal, instant thrust from the twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six engine at every throttle position. Incredibly rapid. Hits 60 mph in 3.0 seconds. Dual clutch gearbox has fast and smooth gearchanges and is always in the correct gear.
The best modulation of any carbon-ceramic brakes we've yet encountered. Tremendous stopping power (60-0 in 98 feet) and no fade after hard use.
Precise and well-weighted electric-assist power steering. Perhaps a bit less feel than the old hydraulic setup but certainly not numb. This car has rear-wheel steering, too, which operates imperceptively.
Lots of grip at the front axle. Can carry much higher speeds into corners than you expect. Loads of grip and capability. Sharp yet forgiving. You can feel the chassis shifting power and braking to hold your line.
The magic of this car is that its controls all work cohesively no matter the speed. The gearbox is unobtrusive when you want it to be and savage when you want to get busy. Its talents don't suffer when you go slow.
ComfortAside from the road noise from the 20-inch summer tires, this car could be driven daily with no sacrifice in comfort. The ride is reasonably compliant and the seats have long-haul comfort and supple skins. Just don't try to stuff an adult in the backseat.
Despite modest bolstering, the seat offers surprising lateral support. Long-distance comfort is no problem either. The backseat, as always in 911s, is suitable for small children only.
This is a firm-riding car, to be sure, but it's not harsh. There's a compliance to the damping, which has three levels of aggressiveness. It's not a stretch to say that it could be driven daily.
While the engine and wind noise is very well-suppressed, there's a constant stream of patter and ping from the stiff, short-sidewall tires.
InteriorThe 911 is an eminently comfortable and smartly laid out place to spend time. Perhaps the only drawback is its familiarity -- this is much the same cabin found in the far less expensive Boxster. The backseats are sort of a joke, but you might have guessed that.
The driving position and primary controls are ideally located. The button-rich center stack is intimidating at first but many of the buttons are redundant climate controls.
For a car that offers supercar-level performance, it is very easy to live with. The roof is not unrealistically low, and the sills are not silly-wide. Backseat access is aided by a power front seat and simple lever operation.
In front there is ample headroom and knee-room, despite the formidable appearance of the center console. Backseat does not have enough head- or legroom to handle an adult outside of last-resort situations. It is for children or cargo.
Large windshield and low cowl provide a wide outward view. Side windows are amply sized, though the c-pillars are on the bulky side. Rearview camera helps here, too.
Deep front trunk is broad enough to carry weekend luggage for two. If that's not enough you can use the backseat area. Handy door panel pockets and a shallow console bin provide reasonable cabin storage. The cupholders are flimsy and small.
ValueApproaching $200,000 is a lot of money for "just" a 911, but it is so well executed that it justifies the cost. Few cars are as well-rounded as this one. Still, it's difficult to describe any car that is this pricey as a good value.
Build Quality (vs. $)
Well-trimmed in every detail, but then, you'd expect that based on the price. Lots of stitched leather gives the appearance of a tailored look. The underlying cabin theme, though, is fundamentally shared with the Boxster.
Standard features at the $182,050 base price include carbon-ceramic brakes, 20-inch wheels, LED headlights, touchscreen navigation and 18-way sport seats.
Our test car stickered at $199,065. Options include adaptive cruise control, premium audio, a sunroof, keyless entry/ignition and cosmetic items. At this price at least some of those really ought to be included as standard.
Surprisingly good fuel economy considering its blistering performance. The EPA rates this car at 20 mpg Combined (17 City/24 Highway). Our overall average was 15.7 mpg, which included a lot of hard driving.
Porsche warranty consists of 4-yr/50,000-mile comprehensive coverage, 4-yr/50,000-mile drivetrain coverage and 12-year corrosion protection. This is comparable to its competition.
Roadside assistance is offered for the lifetime of the basic warranty period. No free scheduled maintenance. This is similar to its competition.
Fun To DriveFrom its hilarious launch control function to the sheer poise and grip it exhibits, the 911 Turbo S manages to be playful and fun. It's on the heavy side, but manages its weight well.
An incredibly capable car that also manages to engage its driver. Despite the whiz-bang hardware on tap, the 911 Turbo S is not anodyne or sterile. This is a memorable car.
Though this car gives no clue to the beast within when driven slowly, and has an agricultural exhaust note at idle, it reveals more of its personality the harder you drive it.