911 Turbo Cab – Average speed, 700MPH

As my car is in service, I’ve been gratefully provided with an interesting replacement – a 997 Turbo Convertible. Dazzling in white with black wheels (ring any bells??), I already feel like it’s the loudest car I’ve ever driven and I’ve not even started the engine yet.

Have always been curious on the merits of the 911 Turbo. Having driven a GT2 a few years back, I remember the ferocious power delivery of that scarcely manacled beast. However, time has moved on since then and our perceptions and benchmarks have shifted somewhat.

Glenn has just taken delivery of a Gen 2 Turbo S Convertible. In an almost unbelievably coincidental display of fate, my courtesy car has ended up looking identical to Glenn’s Gen 2 in all but detail. His car is positively savage and it’s one of the few 911’s you can hear before you can see it, with the most unholy induction noise you’ve ever heard. Coupled with a PDK gearbox, his car should be criminalised. To think that you cannot buy alcohol in an unlicensed place, but you are able to walk into a showroom and buy this missile is surely a parody sketch on the state of modern day society?

Regardless, “Speed is relative” I remind myself as I set into my ‘standard’ Turbo. It’s a Gen 1, which means it’s a 3.6, rather than a Gen 2 3.8. It’s also not an S, which gives leaves it with 40BHP less at 480BHP. It’s still a powerhouse of an engine with each overtake acting out as giant lunges through traffic, chomping huge chunks of road and cars, sucking up every object into its airbox, tied down or not. It becomes comedic and you have to shift your sense of what’s possible when you overtake cars as everything is SOOO easy.

Select gear, nail throttle, wait for the lag, count to one, two…whhooOOOOSHH and you’ve got warping stars, Millenium Falcon style. With the hood down, tears start to stream as you realise you way past triple figures and you’re desperately trying to readjust your sunglasses that seem to have made their way around to the back of your head. As you haul hard on the brakes (because you really had no idea just how fast you were approaching that car!), you repeat the process again. Over and over and over.

The brakes work fantastic, if a little out of sorts with the chassis. I’m not certain if this was isolated to this particular car, of if I’ve been warped by the rigidity and hardness of a GT3, but the 911 Turbo can’t seem to escape a somewhat lofty personality under hard braking, with the nose dramatically pointing downwards under heavy braking. Also under hard throttle, the car does the opposite with your headlights pointing to the birds in the sky.

But the one thing that kills the car is also the one thing that I cannot forgive nor ignore; the gearbox. I’ve never driven a tiptronic before, why anybody would spec such a magnificent car with such a travesty in technology is an enigma. If you see any Porsche’s with tiptronic gearboxes, I’m telling you right now, the owners can’t drive for toffee. It’s simply a glorified automatic.

Shifting it to manual mode, you are granted with two steering wheel buttons. Up and down. When it carries out those actions, however, is really down to how the gearbox is feeling at the time. Shifts actioned by the button rarely get carried out exactly when you want them, especially if coupled by an urgen, nailed throttle. This delay in shifting gears often has you bumping on the rev limiter, forcing you to recalibrate as you end up having to shift 2 seconds before you really need to. Electric, eh?

We live in a colourful world filled with subjectivity. That’s why I can comfortably say I could never buy a Turbo. It has none of the electricity of my GT3 that allows me to enjoy and cherish each hurried gear shift and subsequent pinning of the throttle, giving out that scream, filling my ears with ecstasy and meaning. The Turbo also doesn’t have the immediacy that you come to expect from a N/A car. Accelerating in the Turbo almost requires forethought and planning as you end up acting out all movements 2-3 seconds before you need to, just to get around the turbo lag. That is huge fun at times, but rather dangerous at others, as you occasionally try to take advantage of small, immediate gaps in traffic.

And I tell you what, nobody let’s you out of traffic in a white turbo cab! Big drive this weekend, I hope the weather’s good so I can respond with an informed decision.

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