Throwback Thursday: The 911 Turbo Through the Years
It was way back in 1973 that a silver concept car was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show that froze everyone where they stood. The badge read "Turbo" and its shape would become just as legendary as its Carrera siblings.
1974 Turbo 3.0
Sporting a body not much different from the 911 Carrera RS 3.0, but with more aggressive aero, was the car that would change the automotive world as we know it. Underneath the large rear spoiler sat a flat six engine mated to a single turbocharger that made 260 horsepower and pushed the car to a top speed of 160 mph. The Turbo 3.0 was the fruit of years of research inspired by the Porsche motorsport program, whose engineers were almost obsessive about how they could push the 911 to increased performance levels. When the car finally went on sale a journalist from Britain's Motor magazine called it "The finest driving machine you can buy".
1977 Turbo 3.3
After the first run of the Turbo 3.0, Porsche was hard at work on the 3.3, or as it was known internally the 930. The car received not just a bump in displacement but also an intercooler to keep the turbo-fed with cool air, an upgraded drivetrain, a new beefier brake system, and wider rubber to put the power down. All of these parts and changes pushed the car up to 300 horsepower and into legendary status with enthusiasts everywhere. The 930 would run until 1989 with tweaks made here and there with the last variant getting a 5-speed gearbox.
1990 964 Turbo
The new Turbo with 964 underpinnings was made to be a road warrior, but one that was more daily driving friendly, with changes such as better cabin ventilation and the addition of power steering. The motoring madmen, known as the Porsche Turbo engineers, saw to it that the car continued on its path toward being the definitive choice of those who truly loved the thrill of the drive. This turbo would be the last model to carry a single turbo and have a rear wheel drive only format.
1995 993 Turbo
The new Turbo got a 3.6-liter displacement bump, and switched to dual turbochargers that were controlled by an advanced engine management system, putting the power level at 408 horsepower. For those who gaffed at high-performance cars by saying there was no way to enjoy it in tight urban environments, Porsche made much of the power available low in the rev range to make any type of driving more lively. This Porsche has the distinction of being the first Turbo model to carry all-wheel drive, which would become standard, as well as an all-new 6-speed gearbox.
2000 996 Turbo
Here comes the Porsche that splits purists right down the middle, and caused friends to become bitter rivals. Okay, I'm being a bit facetious, but this water-cooled 996 that shared components with the Boxster, and used Toyota's manufacturing ethos of "just in time" production, caused many to wonder just what was going on in Stuttgart. Nevertheless, the 996 Turbo was another top performer and carried an engine that became known as the "Mezger", after its designer Hans Mezger from the R&D center Weissach. The new Turbo pushed out 420 horsepower and had a top speed of just under 200 mph. The 996 was also the model that received the electronic Porsche Stability Management control system that could be relied upon to calm things down had an owner gotten themselves into a bit of a steering pickle.
2006 997 Turbo
The 997 proved to be the Turbo model that would see many enthusiasts return to the brand. Those madmen in lab coats I mentioned earlier added in a goodie that was capable of providing brief periods of over-boost from the turbo, turning the car into a temporary rocket ship. To handle the ever-increasing power that the engines were providing, owners got a traction management (PTM) system and multi-plate clutch system to send torque to the front axles, instead of the old-school viscous coupling, which made living with the car much easier.
2013 991 S
Out goes the Mezger motor and in comes an all-new 3.8-liter model, that sported direct-injection and would alert the paramedics in advance when you gave it full throttle. The car now had 500 horsepower, before factoring in the insanity of the over-boost function, which had returned as well to give owners quite a thrill when overtaking another motorist. This Turbo was the first to receive the long in development twin-clutch PDK gearbox, which meant the power flowed seamlessly, with no pause to shift. The Turbo S (pictured above because it is astoundingly beautiful) had 530 horsepower and said hello to 62 mph in 3.3 seconds. The car also got an industry first 7-speed manual transmission, with computer rev-matching, to make even the most novice driver feel like Nick Tandy. In 2015, Car and Driver bestowed upon the car the award of being "the best premium sports car on the market".
2020 992 Turbo
Information is almost nigh impossible to glean from Porsche on the brand's newest iteration of the giant killer. However, back in February, this leaked photo was posted on Instagram for the automotive world to lust over while the German brand prepared the boosted car for roadway domination. The car is likely to debut in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show and is likely to pack a tweaked 3.8-liter twin-turbo six-cylinder engine with noticeable bumps over the 540 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque produced by the 991.2-based model.
For help with keeping your Porsche in racing, trim see the how-to sections of RennList.com.