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2020 Porsche 911 Turbo S 992 Prototype First Ride

Porsche’s new 992-series 911-lineup onslaught is now well underway. With deliveries ongoing for the 2020 911 Carrera S, 4S, and corresponding Cabriolet models, there is even more on the horizon. Non-S versions of those cars are arriving in early 2020, followed up by the ever-more gobsmacking Turbos, in the form of the 2020 911 Turbo S Coupe and Cabriolet. Expect Porsche to officially reveal the cars during the first quarter of 2020, with examples arriving in customer hands late next year.

In the meantime, we’ve learned a little bit about just how gobsmacking the Turbo S models will be. Porsche has not confirmed final power figures, but its engineers reworked the Turbos’ 3.8-liter flat-six engine with new turbochargers, Piezoeletric direct-fuel injectors (as found on the new, also-turbocharged Carreras), and revised intercoolers. Expect peak horsepower to jump from 580 in the last Turbo S to around 640 ponies, with torque increasing from 553 lb-ft to 580. Porsche estimates the new S will officially knock 0.2 second off the previous car’s already stout 0-60 mph time, meaning that figure lands at 2.6 seconds. However, knowing the company’s proclivity for issuing conservative performance estimates, we won’t be surprised to see the new S make the run to 60 mph in the neighborhood of 2.4 seconds—if not slightly quicker. Likewise, expect the top speed to rise from 205 mph to a 991 GT2 RS-equaling 211 mph.

The updated engine is connected to an eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox similar to the unit found in the Panamera and 911 Carreras, but uprated to handle more torque and using different gear ratios. It is 53 pounds heavier than the old Turbo S transmission, but it’s also shorter in length, allowing it to fit better within the chassis. Additionally, the new car will come to the U.S. market with a particulate exhaust system, now mandatory in Europe. The new hardware adds 20 pounds; overall, the Turbo S should weigh about 3,637 pounds, or 110 pounds more than the old model.

Porsche recently gave us a quick opportunity to experience a few of the new Turbo S preproduction development cars near Monaco. From a standstill or low speed, it feels measurably quicker than before—if that is even possible, considering the previous S’s hyperspeed acceleration chops—and for the first time on any 911 Turbo S, the factory offers a Sport Exhaust option. It produces a nice burble, including the seemingly mandatory off-throttle exhaust popping, but don’t expect GT2 RS-levels of anti-social volume.

The first car we hopped aboard was a coupe that boasted the Sport Performance package, another first-time offering which lowers the Turbo S’s ride height by 20 mm (0.8 inch), and includes additional helper springs and recalibrated dampers. We detected no issues with ride comfort, as the setup was taut, well controlled, and more than acceptable for daily driving. The electronic-damper tuning within the Porsche Active Suspension Management system does a superb job of taking the shock out of road imperfections.

In fact, we felt very little difference between cars with and without the Sport Performance option; the main differentiator was a small increase in suspension compliance, which we expect will yield an ever-so-slightly slower response to steering inputs. Both versions demonstrated excellent roll control, with no chassis yaw or pitch issues, as the all-wheel drive dug deep for every ounce of grip. If the 992 Carrera S is anything to go by, steering feel and front-end controllability should improve over the previous model. We like the Michelin PS4S tires for their all-around wet/dry performance. Also like the Carrera S, the Turbo S employs staggered wheel sizes (20-inch front, 21-inch rear), and the rubber is now 10 mm(0.4-inch) wider all around, measuring 255/35 in front and 315/30 in back.

With so much velocity on-tap, Porsche stepped up the size of the front brake rotors to 420 mm (16.5 inches!), an increase of 10 mm (0.4 inch), while retaining the 390 mm (15.3 inch) discs in back. The 10-piston front calipers are new on the 911 Turbo S; this caliper setup is also found on the latest Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid Turbo S and Taycan Turbo S EV—vehicles that carry more than 1,300 pounds of additional mass compared to this 911. In this application, we expect to find the brakes have the capacity to turn the poor car inside out.

Sitting in traffic behind another one of Porsche’s development cars, the Turbo S’s rear end and stance serves as an attention-sucking tractor beam. The rear haunches seem to go on for yards, and we joked to Dr. Frank Walliser, vice president of the 911 and 718 model lines, that this might be the first 911 with a track width greater than its wheelbase. He chuckled and confirmed the car is 20 mm wider than previous 991 version and 44 mm wider (that’s 0.8- and 1.7 inches) than the 992 Carrera S, itself already boasting some “widebody” 911 treatment. He also mentioned he does not believe the 911 should get any bigger, but that’s a topic for another day.

As we cruised along, we noticed the Auto Stop feature, which kills the engine at stoplights to save fuel and is another first for a Turbo S. Thankfully, Porsche also provides a conveniently placed “off” button for it. Other than that, the more we rode in the new car, the more we liked the difference in feel. Relative to the 991 Turbo S, and as we discovered when we drove the Carrera S earlier this year, its improved grip and responses are almost certainly down to the combination of wider front track, suspension improvements, and wider front tires, which should all work to allow better manipulation of the car’s front and rear, from turn-in to corner exit.

A brief stint in the Cabriolet version with the top down revealed a surprising, almost complete lack of wind noise; in this Porsche, you’ll have to drop the notion of buying a convertible so you don’t have to talk to your passenger. Otherwise, we sensed no measurable difference to the coupes. That said, on a racetrack the Cabriolet’s additional weight might be easier to detect from the driver’s seat. Speaking of tops, the new Turbo S Coupe also offers a sun roof-less carbon-lid option.

With our experience of testing various 911 Turbo S models during the past several years, our seat-of-the-pants gauge confirms already that this new one will deliver a measurable performance leap forward, as nutty as that might be. But with its backbreaking power, refined suspension, eight-speed PDK gearbox, and daily driving comfort, it’s all adding up to a remarkably special result.



































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