Opinion: Why nobody’s scared of the timid-looking 991 Turbo

First off I’ll start by saying the 991 Turbo is an absolutely incredible supercar. It’s fast, deft, and incredibly advanced technologically, so much so that I’ve previously said in the magazine it’s the intelligent supercar for the intelligent driver.

The 520hp on offer from the 3.8-litre DFI engine with VTG means it’s seductively fast, and yet the Turbo is unmistakeably useable day to day thanks largely to that compulsory PDK gearbox which is delightfully agile. Meanwhile, inside is both a comfortable and luxurious place to be, in keeping with the 991 platform at large.

Then there’s the chassis, spearheaded by active rear-steering, which provides almost unbelievable precision on turn-in and traction mid-corner. So much so, in fact, that you’ll scarcely be able to believe you’re disposing of corners with such aplomb in this behemoth of a 911.

In terms of performance and sheer driver experience, the 991 picked up perfectly where the 997 left off then. However, my one gripe with the Turbo arises when I look at the thing.

Visual stimulation has always been part of the Porsche package, something Lee says is missing with the new Turbo
Visual stimulation has always been part of the Porsche package, something Lee says is missing with the new Turbo.

Although I’m delighted to admit the first 911 Turbo precedes my very existence on this planet by at least a decade, being the Editor of Total 911 magazine means I’m more than accustomed to the history and provenance of Porsche’s forced-induction darling. I’m innately aware as to how the 3.0-litre, whale-tail clad 930 wowed contemporaries upon its initial release, and how its wide, imposing coachwork captured the imaginations of enthusiasts for years afterwards. We’ve all seen SCs with ‘Turbo’ arches, and Zuffenhausen themselves even caught on to the allure of Turbo aesthetics by rolling out the Turbo-look SSE (and later the 993 and 996 C4S, of course).

What I’m getting at here is the Turbo has always inspired as much for its savage performance as its imposing looks, and it’s the latter that the 991 grossly lacks. At the front, it simply looks like a Carrera: there’s no deep spoiler at the front with chiselled vents directing air to the brakes like the 997. Instead, it has a retractable front lip that aids downforce at higher speeds which, as a concept, is great, but in the day-to-day rigmarole of the City (which let’s face it, is where most high-spec Turbos are delivered to), it loses all visual purpose and intimidating zest, replaced by a huge gap between the front lip and the floor akin to a conventional family wagon.

997 Turbo on the left ticks all the boxes for how a Turbo with finesse should look.
997 Turbo on the left ticks all the boxes for how a Turbo with finesse should look.

Sure, the Turbo has audaciously wide hips (now bigger than even the widebody Carrera 4) but sitting within those wide hips are air vents leading to intercoolers that appear timid, rather than intimidating, and certainly don’t carry the finesse of those on the 997. The rear, as ever, is the business end of a proper Porsche, and to my mind nothing is particularly out of place here.

To reiterate, I’m otherwise in love with the 991 Turbo, especially after spending the last eight days and 800 miles piloting one, but still I have this overriding sensation that for £120,000, I really don’t want my Turbo to look like a Carrera from the front, and a timid little sportscar otherwise. I’m not after a plethora of awkward, rough edges a la Lamborghini, just some visual Turbo swagger as last seen on the 997 please, Porsche.

Do you agree? Comment below or tweet us @Total911 with your thoughts.

Comments (1)

  • Paul Harford

    Well put