The 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo is a technological extravaganza. Adaptive aerodynamics, four-wheel steering, torque vectoring, active four-wheel drive, adaptive dampers, launch control, twin-clutch automatic gearbox – you get the picture. This is the first time we've had a chance to sample all of this on British roads.
Two versions are available; both are powered by an uprated version of the previous 911 Turbo's 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six engine. Our test car was a standard 514bhp Turbo, but there's a 552bhp S model, too.
As well as extra power, the S version also gets ceramic brakes, a Sport Chrono pack – that brings more torque via an overboost function – plus active anti-roll bars.
What’s the 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo like to drive?
The last 911 Turbo was brutally fast but didn't offer as much drama or emotion as the best supercars, or even lesser members of the 911 range.
The new 911 Turbo has even more power and more electronic systems, yet surprisingly this doesn't result in an even more sterile-feeling car. Quite the opposite, in fact. The harder you drive, the more the systems ratchet up their tolerance levels, bringing a sharper turn-in to corners to give a more invigorating drive.
True, if you are too aggressive on the way in to corners you will start to run wide of your intended line, but lifting off the throttle is all that's needed to bring the nose back in line.
It all feels remarkably progressive and well-mannered for such a brutally rapid car. The Turbo has little turbo lag and pull cleanly from low revs, making for accessible and world-blurring acceleration when you stamp on the right pedal.
The seven-speed PDK automatic (there is no manual option), is also hard to fault, although if we’re being picky it can linger in the high rev ranges a bit longer than is ideal for fast road driving.
The steering is perfectly weighted, giving a good sense of what’s going on at the wheels, while the repsonsive throttle and brake pedals make the 911 Turbo easy to drive smoothly.
The ride isn't exactly soft, but the 911 Turbo is more than comfortable enough given its ‘daily supercar’ context, with only the worst of Britain's roads thumping through the cabin.
Even refinement is well sorted. Wind and tyre noise are kept to a minimum, so it’s the resonant, bassy exhaust note that’s audible most of the time.
So, perfection? Not quite. The Porsche 911 Turbo is so well sorted that you get little sense of the speed you’re carrying, and that means you could easily find yourself well beyond the limits of the law before you benefit from the extra abilities that the Turbo offers over its far cheaper siblings. That's a shame, given that this is a car that will be driven almost exclusively on the road.
What’s the 2013 Porsche 911 Turbo like inside?
The 911's interior takes its lead from the Porsche Panamera, with a dominant centre console dividing the cabin. The controls are beautifully crafted and sweetly weighted, too.
Although the new Turbo is wider and longer than its predecessor, it still feels snug inside. The driving position is low, yet all-round visibility is fine, making it easy to place the car on the road with pinpoint accuracy.
The back seats, of course, are still comically small for adults, if they can get in at all, but they also are handy as additional luggage space.
Standard kit includes electrically adjustable leather sports seats, sat-nav, climate control, cruise control, automatic lights and wipers, full iPod connectivity and a 12-speaker Bose sound system.
The Turbo S gets even more supportive seats, LED headlights and a raft of cosmetic upgrades.
Should I buy one?
The Turbo makes a persuasive case for itself. It's an absurdly capable yet remarkably forgiving thing to drive quickly, and by comparison to exotica such as the Ferrari 458 Italia or McLaren MP4-12C, it's pretty good value, too, even though the price has risen substantially over the older model.
However, although the 2013 911 Turbo offers similar performance to both of its aforementioned supercar rivals, it doesn't have quite the same presence or sense of occasion.
Even bigger issues abound in the form of the rest of the 911 range, because a Carrera 4S is £30,045 cheaper than the Turbo (£52k cheaper than the Turbo S), and on any public road it will deliver just as much fun, if slightly less ballistic acceleration.
If you want something that will double as a track car, the 911 GT3 is a better bet than the Turbo, because it's lighter, £18k cheaper and even more dramatic.
However, the 911 Turbo is still a stupifyingly fast and capable sports car.
What Car? says...
Audi R8 V10
Porsche 911 Turbo
Engine 3.8-litre turbo petrol
Price from £118,349
Power 514 bhp
Torque 487 lb ft (524lb ft with optional Sport Chrono package)
Top speed 196mph
Fuel economy 29.1mpg