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Car Review: 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo

Time:2018-02-12 13:00Turbochargers information Click:

road test automo Bill adam

‘You’re carrying too much speed for your first lap,” shouts Bill Adam above the roar of a new Porsche 911 Turbo.

Approaching 200 km/h, we’re headed straight for the “inner loop” at Watkins Glen International, a 5.47-kilometre racing circuit nestled in the rolling green Finger Lakes region of New York, and considered the birthplace of auto racing in the United States.

The inner loop was added in 1992 because many drivers were collecting too much speed after a long straight and could not negotiate the “outer loop,” a sweeping right hander that begins a descent into a harrowing series of turns.

Car Review: 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo

 

Watkins Glen is no place to make mistakes. Men have been killed racing here. Careers have been lost. Guardrails ring the track like schools of hungry sharks. Four words play over and over in my head: Do Not Screw Up.

Mr. Adam, who spent a couple of seasons racing in the Canadian Porsche Cup series, knows this track. He also knows how to handle a Porsche. In 1996 he won the 12 Hours of Sebring in a GT1-class 911. The next year he finished second in his class at the 24 Hours at Daytona with drivers Thierry Boutsen and Hans Stuck.

On this day, however, Mr. Adam is my coach, riding in the passenger seat of our Cobalt Blue 911. He was invited to Watkins Glen by Porsche North America to ensure that the 2007 Turbo we’re hurling around the track not only stays off the guardrails, but that the auto writers invited here learn the true performance capability of a car long considered one of the jewels in the Porsche crown.

At one point, Mr. Adam urges me to stand on the brake pedal even harder before entering turns. The optional composite ceramic brakes, lighter and better able to handle high heat, force the car into a squat position each time they’re applied. There’s no dive, no sense of urgency, just a shredding of speed that makes the car feel like an F-16 landing on an aircraft carrier.

My confidence is rising. With the driver’s window down, the wind is buffeting hard. At one apex of a turn, all four tires are at their limit. But with such immense power and stopping ability, it’s hard to resist pushing ever faster.

I expect a command to slow down. Mr. Adam instead instructs me to look where I want the car to go and give it a little more throttle.

The sophisticated electronics and all-wheel-drive system step in. Instead of throwing the car off balance, the extra power goes to the wheels that have more grip. It’s as if the car knows what I want, pulling us hard toward the next corner, all four wheels working to set us up for the next apex. Now here is a new definition to point-and-shoot.

“Pretty good,” Mr. Adam remarks. “You didn’t scare me.”

The 911 Turbo, of course, has always stood proud of other models in the Porsche fleet. This, it could be argued, is the car that has so sharply defined Porsche’s image as one of the most sought-after brands on the planet.

Wearing a rear fin the size of a card table, the 911 Turbo stood out immediately when it appeared in 1974 as a 1975 model, U.S. price $26,700.

With its fat rear end, rounded shoulders and big round headlamps, this was the coolest looking car ever to come from Europe. Every boy across North America hung a poster of one in his room.

Snarling and spitting with up to 260 horsepower from a 3.0-litre flat six, the Turbo could reach 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds. This, at a time when the North American version of muscle had atrophied into the Mustang II.

For 2007, the 911 Turbo continues its evolution.

Marginally lighter than the outgoing model, and more efficient, too, the sixth-generation Turbo still strikes that handsome 911 pose, with lines not unlike a Carrera 4.

Look closer, though, and the massive air intakes up front and on the flanks, and the integrated stainless-steel exhaust and two-stage spoiler out back, reveal the fire-breathing dragon beneath the perfect skin.

Yet light the engine and there’s no hint of the beast at idle. Carefully release the light-weight clutch and the smoothness is surprising.

Car Review: 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo

 

Then stand on the throttle.

Remember the rush the first time you rode in a very fast car? Multiply that a few times and you begin to get a sense of what the new 911 Turbo is like. The power of this machine is felt mostly in the head, neck and stomach, even as your eyes struggle to keep the horizon level under such staggering forward force.

In 3.7 seconds, the Turbo with manual transmission will hit 100 km/h. With the five-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, acceleration to 100 is quicker yet: 3.4 seconds.

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