What Are They?
Imagine rocketing from standstill to 60 miles per hour in just 2.9 seconds. The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo S can do that. This car and the non-S Turbo have broken cover at the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show like adrenaline-fueled cats among the electric/diesel/hybrid pigeons that seem to make up the rest of the show's offerings.
The Porsche 911 sports car is one of the few machines that can genuinely claim that often over-used description: iconic. It was first introduced 50 years ago at the 1963 Frankfurt show. Ten years later, the first turbocharged version debuted at the same place. Seven generations have made the 911 the most successful sports car of all time. The current 911 has only the third all-new platform in the badge's history and debuted in 2011 at, yes, Frankfurt.
As sure as coffee follows sunrise, turbocharged versions of the 911 follow the naturally aspirated models into the showrooms and onto the roads. Where the basic 2013 Porsche 911 runs with 350 horsepower and 287 lb-ft of torque (still quite enough power for most people), the new Turbo enjoys 520 hp and 487 lb-ft. It's no slouch in the 0-to-60 miles per hour stakes, either, at 3.2 seconds. The S version ups the ante to 560 and 516, respectively.
From that 3.8-liter flat 6-cylinder engine placed where most vehicles put their spare tires, both cars transmit their considerable mechanical muscle to the ground via an all-new all-wheel-drive system that usually favors the rear wheels but can direct all the drive (up to around 330 lb-ft of torque) to the front wheels, if needed. (The front differential is now water-cooled to handle that power.)
The car's agility has been enhanced by a sophisticated rear-wheel steering system that complements the adaptive suspension. Turbo versions have their own aerodynamic designs and, just to make things more exciting, engine sounds are directed into the cabin from a speaker diaphragm.
Following the usual pattern of automotive evolution, the new Turbo models are lighter, more powerful and more fuel efficient than their predecessors.
The Turbo starts at $149,250; the Turbo S from $182,050 (including destination charges).
When Can You Get Them?
At the end of 2013.
Add Them to Your Shopping List Because...
The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo is one of the best sports cars in the world. The Turbo S is another. They aren't cheap, but the money pays for decades of top-level motorsport experience and engineering expertise, not just leather seats and a nice stereo.
Other Cars to Consider
2014 Audi R8 -- Possibly the most benign-handling supercar there is. No turbo model, but the V10 version generates 525 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. And it's starred in a couple "Iron Man" movies.
2014 Nissan GT-R -- One of the few supercars that also combines turbochargers with rear-wheel steering. Good for 542 hp, 463 lb-ft and 0-to-60 mph in 2.7 seconds. Doesn't have quite the same cachet as a Porsche, though. Nor does it have that "everyday use" feel that Porsches enjoy.
Used Porsche 911 Turbo -- The previous generation is still an awesome car. And the 911 generally retains strong resale values.