2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S Road Test

2014 Porsche 911 Coupe

(3.8L 6-cyl. Twin-turbo AWD 7-speed Automated Manual)
  • 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

    2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

    The Turbo S is rather, um, quick. | June 20, 2014

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Quick Summary
The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S is the most powerful and most expensive version of the company's legendary sports car. It features standard all-wheel drive, a new rear-wheel steering system and a well-appointed cabin that makes it as comfortable as it is fast. As supercars go, the 911 Turbo S delivers the most compelling combination of speed and everyday drivability on the road today.

2014 Porsche 911

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The 2014 Porsche 911 received an overall rating of A from our testing team.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

What Is It?
If you've ever needed your face peeled back from your skull, cheeks first, you're in luck. The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S has arrived, the latest in a line of mega-performance GT cars from the German automaker.

Early 911 Turbos from the '70s and early '80s had a fearsome reputation rooted in their all-or-nothing power delivery and for handling characteristics that had no time for neophyte drivers. Do the wrong thing at the wrong time, legend had it, and early Turbos would waste no time in punting you off the tarmac with the taillights leading the way.

Modern 911 Turbos have since matured into one of the most accomplished cars you can buy, and the new Turbo S raises this characterization to new heights. Based on the all-new 991 platform introduced in 2013, the Turbo S offers more performance, accessibility and out-and-out prowess than its forebears, and that's no mean feat.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

What's With the "S"?
"S" is for Sport, and it brings to 16 the total number of 911 variants available today. Versions of the Turbo wearing the "S" badge click the performance up a notch, while retaining the luxury equipment and all-wheel-drive hardware that its harder-core GT2-badged stablemates eschew.

The direct-injected 3.8-liter flat-6 is equipped with two variable-nozzle turbochargers and a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. No manual gearbox is offered. The S designation turns the boost up by 2.9 psi, adding 40 horsepower and 29 pound-feet of torque over the base Turbo and bringing the total to 560 hp and 516 lb-ft. It also brings the redline up by 200 rpm to 7,200 rpm.

S models also bring half-inch-wider center-lock wheels, LED headlights, a standard Sport Chrono package (active stabilizer bars, carbon-ceramic brakes and active engine mounts) and a few other trinkets to the Turbo party.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Is It Fast?
Is water wet? The Porsche 911 Turbo S is hilariously fast.

Pressing the Sport Plus button (because one Sport button in the Sport version of one of the sportiest cars extant is, apparently, not enough) enables a temporary overboost function that raises boost pressure to about 20 psi, liberating yet more thrust. Midrange torque swells to 553 lb-ft. Launch control is enabled, too.

Now, many cars have launch control, but few automakers make this function as easy to access as Porsche. Simply hold the brake down with your left foot and mat the gas with your right. Revs climb, boost builds and when you release the brake your internal organs compress and the air is briefly squeezed from your lungs.

In our quarter-mile acceleration testing, we found that the 911 Turbo S is technically a 10-second car. It ran the quarter in 10.97 seconds. However, per our official quarter-mile rubric, this result is rounded up to the nearest tenth to 11.0 seconds at 124.4 mph. The blitz to 60 mph falls in a scant 3.0 seconds. There's not much out there that can hang with this kind of thrust.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

How Extreme Are Its Handling Capabilities?
The 911 Turbo S demonstrates eye-opening agility that is at odds with its portly 3,619-pound as-tested curb weight. It orbited our skid pad at 1.05g and wound through the slalom cones at 74.4 mph, feats that put exclamation points on this chassis' ability to wrest every scintilla of grip from its tires' contact patches at all times.

Putting aside the hair-splitting of numbers, the true achievement of this new platform is the way the Turbo S's vast performance is so accessible. On the road, the car's long list of technologies — rear-wheel steering, torque-vectoring rear axle, active stabilizer bars, variable ratio steering, active all-wheel drive — work nearly invisibly. You turn into a corner at speed and the Turbo S's nose just digs in, bites down and yanks the nose toward the apex, and then hurls you out the other side with freakish efficiency. The electric-assist power steering transmits at least some of the road's texture, and is well-weighted and terrifically precise.

Despite all the whiz-bang hardware at play, the Turbo is not anodyne or video game-like, where the driver is just along for the ride. It works better the harder you drive it, right up to when you start overcooking corner entry, at which point you can feel the car attempting to maintain your desired path by shuffling torque and braking wheels.

Yet this car still requires respect. As much as the car is with you on a hard charge, in the back of your mind you're aware of the fundamental physics at play; that the powertrain's mass hanging aft of the rear axle is ever poised to pendulum around. It's just that its demand for respect is now a whisper and a nod rather than the bellow of years past. Fool-resistant, not foolproof.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

What About the Brakes?
Carbon-ceramic brakes often feel wooden when cold and are more difficult to modulate than conventional iron brakes. Not so with the Turbo S's 16-inch, six-piston front and 15.4-inch, four-piston rear whoppers. These are the most progressive carbon ceramics we've encountered, with uncharacteristically linear release characteristics and only the occasional squeal.

As for heat capacity, they do that trick, too. Repeated stops failed to induce any fade, all the while delivering stopping performance that ranks among the best we've tested. Its shortest stop from 60 mph consumed just 98 feet.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

How Much Does It Cost?
Base price of the Turbo S is $182,050.

Our test car had a few options added on like a $3,500 Burmester premium audio system (pretty nice), $2,490 adaptive cruise (skip it), a $1,990 glass sunroof (definitely skip it), a $1,710 leather-trimmed dashboard (unnecessary but nice; we're conflicted) plus other bits that brought its total to — and you might want to sit down for this — $199,065.

And our tester was equipped with just a small fraction of the available options, not to mention the customization program Porsche offers. So the better question to ask is: How much do you have?

How Wretched Is Its Fuel Economy?
Surprisingly, not as bad as you might think. The EPA pegs the Turbo S at 20 combined mpg (17 city/24 highway). We netted 15.7 mpg in a mix of conditions that admittedly included an awful lot of wide-open throttle.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Which Areas Need Work?
The Turbo S's savage performance asks little sacrifice of its driver.

Road noise is a constant companion, no surprise given the ultra-short, stiff sidewalls of its 20-inch Pirelli P Zero summer tires that measure 245/35 in front and 305/30 out back. The engine note is entirely unimpressive at idle and at small throttle openings, sounding gruff and anonymous and clearing its throat only when the right pedal is used in anger.

Around town the ride quality has a firm compliance that breathes well over bumps, and its PDK gearbox is quiet, smooth, smart and rapid. It remains the best dual-clutch unit in the biz. Plus, its interior is finely trimmed and equipped, logically laid out and frankly difficult to fault. In these respects there are few cars out there that offer the Turbo S's blend of performance, capability and everyday civility.

But someone paying nearly $200,000 might be dismayed that the same basic cabin is found in a Boxster at roughly a quarter the price. Same goes, too, for the sheet metal. In creating the Turbo S Porsche has swollen the 911's fenders, perforated its fascias and added swank and swagger at every turn. The end result is striking from certain angles, not beautiful, and it isn't differentiated enough from the base 911. Then again, if you're into flying under the radar...

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

What's the Verdict?
The new Turbo S is more engaging than the outgoing car, its chassis pointier and more alert than any Turbo to come before it, driving as though the Stuttgart wizards squeezed in a few drops of the GT3's special sauce during the car's development.

Yes, the Turbo S is a complex, substantial car that's a long way on from the lean, lithe and elemental 911s of years past. It's all the more impressive, then, that all the elements of the Turbo S's driving experience meld so cohesively.

The 911 Turbo S is really that good, and puts a convincing kink in the Turbo's otherwise robust trajectory in the direction of a leaden GT car.

2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S

What Are Its Closest Competitors?
2015 Aston Martin V12 Vantage: This is the most powerful version of Aston Martin's most dynamic sports car. Its 556-hp V12 matches up favorably with the Porsche's turbocharged flat-6, and the Aston also uses a seven-speed automated manual transmission.

2014 Audi R8 V10: Although the R8 is getting old, it still delivers incredible performance that is easily accessible. Couple that with a unique design and everyday drivability and the R8 is still a formidable foe.

2014 Jaguar F-Type R Coupe: If you're looking for knockout performance with a slightly more palatable price tag, this 550-hp coupe will do the job. It looks stunning on the road, makes all the right sounds and is comfortable, too. Makes a good argument for spending half as much.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.


  • frostyzoob frostyzoob Posts:

    You say to skip the adaptive cruise control, but you neglect to say why. Can you go into some detail? (I was considering getting a Macan with that option.)

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    @frostyzoob Skip the adaptive cruise control because in a car like this why would you want to match the speed of the Yaris in front of you when you have one of the quickest cars ever in the entire history of motor cars. Pass them. Just a slight twitch of your right foot is all that is needed.

  • davechapin davechapin Posts:

    This car is actually differentiated more than enough from the "base 911". That's because that "base 911" is one of the most beautiful shapes ever. The Turbo just takes the 911 "to eleven". The interior may share a lot of bits with a Boxster, but it's nevertheless more refined and functional than most of the competition, even the higher dollar ones from Italy (especially in the maxi-leather, stitched edition that comes standard in a Turbo S). One other note: The Turbo is about performance + luxury. The adaptive cruise and glass roof align nicely with that mission. If you want hard core: there is the GT3 (and let's hope soon: a GT2).

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    This has been my dream car since 1976. I have had the pleasure of driving my friend's tatty '77 930 (black with lovely 16" Fuch's in the proper black center polished rim configuration) before he sold it a few years ago, it was glorious, and quite comfortable as I drove it on a two hour trip including 20 miles of downtown Chicago traffic. I don't care if the C7 Corvette is 80% of the performance for 33% of the cost, if money were no object I would buy one of these instead of a modern Corvette (even an inevitable ZR1 version) without hesitation or regret.

  • davisdvm davisdvm Posts:

    I've been disappointed in the enthusiast press for downplaying the importance of adaptive cruise control (part of a collision warning system). This technology is now standard in all VW Golf cars sold in Europe and will soon IMO become a required part of the safety gear in all cars. You can argue that a 911 does not need the system because it's a sports car but I would argue that it needs it ALL THE MORE. Most of these systems have a continually active collision warning feature; it is not necessary to engage the adaptive cruise to get a warning that you are closing too fast on the car ahead. These systems almost entirely eliminate rear end collisions and therefore reduce the incidence of whiplash injury, saving money for all of us via reduced insurance costs. The Euro NCAP organization will no longer award a five star rating to a car that does NOT have one of these collision avoidance systems. It just makes sense to add this level of safety, it could be your child that is saved when this technology gives you advance warning of a car stopped ahead. The radar systems even provide warning in foggy conditions and are a godsend for those of us who have to drive in such conditions. Come on Edmunds, take off your macho enthusiast hat and do the responsible thing, recognize these systems for what they are, perhaps the biggest advance in safety tech since seat belts. I have ACC on my current car (A6) and will never buy another car without it.

  • Oh momma, gimme the keys to that thing.

  • marcos9 marcos9 Posts:

    One day I'll have a 911 turbo added to the stable - once the kids are are all grown up! Beautiful ride. And I love the color.

  • The only real competitor out of the cars listed is the Audi. Both the Jag and the Aston cannot even keep up with a Boxster when the road gets twisty. I'm looking forward to the next gen R10, whenever that happens.

  • hugogu hugogu Posts:

    ACC is a must. Very useful on autobahn, but given you also get the breaking it will save multiple collisions, and if you get distracted it's a god-send. yes it's expensive $2,900, but so nice with that extra safety, as well as cruising along on the interstate (yes, you will find yourself behind the occasional prius, but that's fine ...)

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