2001 Porsche 911 Turbo (996) AWD Coupe
|Engine||Flat six-cylinder, 3600cc|
Right from the introduction of the original 930 way back in 1975, Porsche’s Turbo has been the fastest, most expensive production road car in the Zuffenhausen line-up, a name synonymous with the ultimate in high performance motoring for more than four decades. The first generation Turbo enjoyed remarkable longevity, remaining in production virtually unchanged until 1989, the only major revisions being a larger 3.3-litre engine and the eventual move to a five-speed gearbox. The next generation 964 series gave rise to a more powerful 3.6-litre engine but retained the original Turbo’s rear-wheel drive platform, whereas the succeeding 993 of 1995 switched to an altogether more sophisticated four-wheel drive layout and twin turbo configuration, significantly raising the bar for Porsche’s flagship model. Introduced in 1998, Porsche’s 996 series was designed from scratch and had little in common with its predecessors aside from sharing the basic concept of a rear engine layout and the use of a six-cylinder boxer motor. Built on a longer wheelbase platform and larger in every dimension, the new 911 was actually lighter by 50 kilograms thanks to clever weight saving techniques. Perhaps the most radical departure from Porsche tradition, the 996’s all-new 3.6-litre flat six engine employed liquid cooling and the latest Bosch Motronic M5.2 engine management to develop more power and greater reliability. The new Porsche’s body was an amalgam of traditional 911 styling cues with modern detailing, improved aerodynamics and increased stiffness. It took Porsche until January 2000 to launch a Turbo version of the 996 series, with revised bodywork featuring a new electronically controlled rear wheel, wider rear guards, new sills and front valance. The engine was based on that used in the hard-core GT3, with dry-sump lubrication, VarioCam Plus valve timing system, Bosch Motronic ME 7.8 engine management and a 9.4:1 compression ratio, producing 420bhp at 6000rpm. The standard 996 Turbo transmission was a six-speed manual driving all four wheels, but for the first time Porsche offered a five-speed Tiptronic S option. The Turbo enjoyed firmer suspension settings, more powerful brakes (with ABS, ASR and ABD standard) and new 18-inch hollow-spoke alloy wheels. The interior was similarly upgraded, with full leather upholstery, air conditioning, Bose sound system and Alcantara roof lining added to the already luxurious interior found on naturally-aspirated models. Performance was electrifying, with 0-100 km/h taking just 4.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 305 km/h, making it one of the fastest road cars available at the time. With values of 911/964/993 generation Turbos rising fast, the 996 remains relatively affordable but for how long is anyone’s guess.