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Inside the multi-million-pound Porsche showroom

Last month, Porsche built its millionth 911. Then, just a fortnight later, a 1993 911 sold at auction for £1.7million. Think about that for a moment. One-point-seven million pounds. For a 911. Has the world gone mad?

Before you spill your PG Tips or take to Twitter, I should point out that, yes, the car in question was a rare 964 3.8 RSR. And yes, it was essentially new, with six miles on the clock. Nonetheless, we’re still talking about a 911: a car for which around 700,000 of that one-million production run remain on the road.

Thankfully, you won’t need £1.7million to buy a Porsche at JZM – one of the UK’s leading marque specialists, based at Kings Langley in Hertfordshire. But if you’re looking for an investment-grade Porsche it’s a good place to start; the showroom is packed wall-to-wall with classic 911s, including plenty of RS models. I went along to see what all the fuss is about.


More Porsche on Motoring Research


Inside the JZM Porsche showroomJZM Porsche

Since we’re talking telephone numbers, it seems fitting to start with the most expensive car on sale. The 997 GT3 RS 4.0 was a limited-run special that Autocar declared: “The finest Porsche ever to wear a number plate”. And, with 4,285 miles under its centre-lock wheels, this hardcore road-racer is advertised at £535,900. Quite incredible for a car that cost ‘just’ £128,466 in 2011.

Next-up in price order is an immaculate Midnight Blue 964 Turbo 3.6: a relative snip at £199,000. The 360hp 3.6 was only produced between 1993 and 1994 (most blown 964s used the 320hp 3.3-litre motor), making it a rare beast today. With wheelarches stretched over polished split-rims and that iconic ‘tea tray’ wing (take note, Porsche geeks: it’s not a ‘whale tail’), this is the brawniest-looking 911 of all.JZM Porsche

If anything can wrench my eyes from the visual sucker-punch of a 964 Turbo, it’s a Viper Green Carrera 2.7 RS. Except this isn’t a genuine RS, but a meticulously-built ‘tribute’ based on a 1972 911T. With a 2.7-litre MFI engine, period Recaro seats and chromed Fuchs alloys, it looks fabulous – and a price tag of £129,900 is less than a quarter what you’d pay for the real deal.

The evolution of an icon

Wandering around the JZM showroom, it’s fascinating to see how the 911 has evolved. Over five decades, it has swelled in size, sprouted spoilers and become hugely more luxurious, but that iconic silhouette has stayed the same. Perhaps this is key to the car’s long-lasting appeal; it’s constantly evolving yet curiously timeless. Present-day Porsche’s profits may come from SUVs, but the 911 remains the core of its range.JZM Porsche

Even so, it’s one of the oldest 911s here – a 1970 2.2E finished in Light Ivory – that really wins my heart. A ‘California car’ that has never been welded, it still wears all its original body panels, and the delicate chrome trim looks flawless. JZM says the car has ‘been fully prepared for the British climate’, but I’d still be loath to take this £104,900 classic on wet winter roads. One for sunny Sunday mornings (and evenings spent lovingly polishing in the garage), I suspect.

If in doubt, Flat clout

I’ve added the 2.2E to my lottery-win garage and am heading for the door when… whoah! Poking its sharkish snout out of the next-door workshop, I spy a 930 Flachbau. This special-order ‘flatnose’ version of the original 930 Turbo is fast, fearsome and – to a kid who grew up in the excess-all-areas 80s – probably the coolest 911 you can buy. Sadly, it isn’t for sale, or it would have bumped the 2.2E from the top spot on my personal (and, sadly, entirely theoretical) shopping list.JZM Porsche

So, if my numbers came up, would I buy a Porsche 911? As a daily-driver, probably not. A Cayman S is all the sports car you really need, especially on congested UK roads. But if I wanted somewhere to put my money, an appreciating asset that I could drive and enjoy, then absolutely yes. The 911 is a car that, like its rear-engined layout, defies logic. Yet if you can afford one, it’s probably the most sensible sports car you can buy.

Classic Porsches on show at Autofarm for MR Retro Live

MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Autofarm in Oxfordshire is a mecca for disciples of the air-cooled and the rear-engined. The company has been fixing and restoring Porsches since 1973, and its huge wooden barns are stuffed with classic 911s. Where better, then, to hold our second MR Retro Live event – this time catering for Porsche enthusiasts.

And so it was that, one brisk Sunday morning, a group of Porsche fans gathered at Autofarm, chatting cars and supping coffee to a flat-six soundtrack. The Motoring Research team was there, too: Peter in his 964 Carrera 4 and Andrew in a Cayman GT4 nabbed from Porsche’s press fleet. Here are some of the highlights.

MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS

Yes, before you ask, it’s a real one. The Carrera 2.7 RS is the most iconic 911 of all, with the best examples today costing seven figures. Designed for motorsport homologation, it boasted a fuel-injected 210hp engine, stiffer suspension and bigger brakes – not forgetting that trademark ‘ducktail’ rear spoiler.

This ’73 RS belongs to one of Autofarm’s customers and was in for a service. It was restored about 10 years ago and remains in flawless original condition.

MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911S

Speaking of originality, Chris Knowles’ stunning 2.4 S looks exactly as it left the factory in 1972. The Signal Yellow bodywork has been resprayed by Autofarm, but the interior has never been retrimmed.

Interestingly, 1972 was the only model-year where 911s had an oil tank access flap on the side of the car. However, some owners filled it with petrol, so Porsche wisely chose to relocate it under the engine lid. 

MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Ruf 964 special

Remember the Ruf CTR – star of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show? The German company has been modifying Porsches for decades, including this unique 964. Based on a 3.6 RS, it packs a twin-turbo engine from the later 993 Turbo.

Ruf also fitted its ‘electronic foot’ clutchless manual gearbox. And the eagle-eyed will spot the wide-arched Turbo bodywork has been de-seamed – just like an old Mini.

MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche Cayman GT4

Not a 911, but equally as cool, the Cayman GT4 is a modern Porsche destined for classic status. MR’s Andrew had this Guards Red example for the weekend and kept finding tenuous excuses to run errands in it.

With added aero, a stiffer chassis and brakes from the 911 GT3, the 385hp GT4 is a serious driving machine. It also comes with a six-speed manual gearbox – something that wasn’t available on the GT3 at the time.MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911 Carrera RS

Regular readers will recognise this car – also Guards Red – from our Retro Road Test last year. The hardcore 964 was the first 911 to wear the RS badge since the 1970s. Thankfully, Porsche did it justice, with more power, less weight and a close-ratio gearbox.

This car was recently for sale at Autofarm and has been expertly restored in-house. MD Mikey Wastie reckons it’s one of the best 964s he’s driven. We were equally effusive, saying: “It’s a car you’ll ache to spend time with, to learn its quirks and exploit its talents. The buzz of driving it stayed with us many hours after we reluctantly handed back the keys.”
MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911 GTS  

Paul Woods brought along his immaculate 991 GTS, complete with appropriately speedy number plate. We love the primer-grey paint, too.

This first-generation GTS is one of the last with a naturally-aspirated engine. It also came with the Powerkit engine upgrade, sports exhaust and adjustable PASM suspension. GT3 aside, could this be peak modern 911?

MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911L

How pretty is this 1968 911L? Another customer car, it was already at Autofarm for some engine work. Note the oh-so-classic Fuchs alloys, as worn by many 911s of the era – including the Carrera RS.

The 130hp 911L was the mid-point in Porsche’s late-1960s range, sitting between the 110hp 911T and 160hp 911S. It also had front disc brakes.
MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Supersport

The Supersport was essentially a Carrera 3.2 with the wider wheelarches and ‘tea tray’ spoiler from the 930 Turbo. Suspension and brakes were also sourced from the flagship car, but engine output remained a standard 234hp.

Porsche also sold the Supersport in Cabriolet and Targa body styles. Today, such cars are rare, as many were cannibalised for race-look RSR conversions. MR Retro Live at Autofarm

Porsche 911 Carrera 2.7 RS replica

This one is a replica, but a fantastic car nonetheless. It started life as a 1988 Carrera 3.2, then was ‘backdated’ by Autofarm to resemble a ’73 RS.

The paintwork is ‘Aubergine’, an original Porsche colour. And the dashboard was recently backdated, too, giving an authentic look inside and out. Classic style and modern(ish) mechanicals? Yes please.

New four-cylinder Jaguar F-Type breaks cover

Jaguar F-Type four-cylinderJaguar has an F-Type surprise – a new four-cylinder turbo model that’s claimed to be the sportiest, most purist-pleasing F-Type yet launched. Producing 300hp, it hits 62mph in 5.7 seconds, but is also the greenest F-Type yet, with average fuel economy of 39.2mpg – 16 percent better than the 340hp V6.

Crucially, it brings the entry-level cost of the F-Type down. For the first time, Jaguar’s junior sports car costs less than £50,000 (the current cheapest model is £52,265). It doesn’t replace the existing V6 and V8 models, but sits below them, making the F-Type “more accessible than ever”.

And more dynamic than ever? The 300hp four-cylinder F-Type is 52kg lighter than the V6, and that weight has mainly been taken off the front axle. Jaguar is promising this gives it “even greater steering response, body control and ride comfort”. And a choice of two centre-exit active exhausts means it even sounds good, reckons the firm. What’s not to like from this entry-level alternative to a Porsche 718 Cayman?

Jaguar F-Type four-cylinder engineJaguar F-Type four-cylinder

The new engine is part of the Ingenium family. We’re familiar with the diesels, and now 200hp and 250hp petrol versions are rolling out. This 300hp is the range-topper, and boasts some fancy technology as part of its power boost.

It has a twin-scroll turbo, direct injection and electrohydraulic intake valve actuation with “patented control algorithms”. It also boasts JLR’s first exhaust manifold fully integrated into the cylinder head, plus ceramic ball bearings in the turbo to ensure it responds as quickly as possible.

Reflecting its sportier focus, Jaguar is only offering the engine on rear-wheel-drive F-Types, all fitted with a bespoke-tuned eight-speed automatic gearbox. The firm hasn’t bothered to engineer the manual ’box as offered on the V6s, presumably because of low demand.

We’re expecting a very flexible engine, as peak torque of 295lb ft is produced at a diesel-like 1,500rpm, and held at that level round to 4,500rpm. The 1997cc engine’s peak power comes in at 5,500rpm.Jaguar F-Type four-cylinder

Taking 52kg out of the mass – it now tips the scales at 1,525kg – has moved overall weight distribution one percent rearwards. Because corner weights are lower, Jaguar’s been able to reduce front spring rates by four percent and rear spring rates by 3 percent, for a better ride. Knowledge from developing the SVR has been fed back into the bespoke monotube dampers.

Jaguar has even given the electric power steering a unique calibration – again to make the most of the reduced nose weight. We’re being promised more tactility and feedback, which can’t be a bad thing. JLR driving guru Mike Cross says the four-pot F-Type is even more engaging and rewarding, better balanced, more connected and more comfortable.

“Enthusiasts will want to drive this car; this is a true F-Type, with its own unique character.” Chief product engineer Erol Mustafa was equally positive: “I like to think of it as the feisty younger brother of the V6 and V8 models.”

New Jaguar F-Type model rangeJaguar F-Type four-cylinder

It’s absolutely no coincidence that the F-Type 300hp 2.0-litre turbo slots in at £49,900 in base coupe guise. There’s also an R-Dynamic version, with 19-inch alloys instead of the likely-preferable lightweight 18-inch wheels of the base model.

It doesn’t replace the 340hp 3.0-litre V6, which is offered in rear-wheel-drive guise alongside the 380hp V6 in either rear- or all-wheel drive. As part of the 2018 model updates, you can also get a bespoke-tune 400hp F-Type 400 Sport V6, plus 550hp R and 575hp SVR V8 models. Naturally, there’s also the coupe or convertible.

The intriguing new four-cylinder F-Type goes on sale in spring 2017. We’re already anticipating perhaps the closest challenge Porsche’s 718 Cayman and Boxster have yet faced.

Porsche 996 Turbo

Porsche 996 Turbo review: Retro Road Test

Porsche 996 TurboStroll into a new-car showroom and you’ll struggle to spot anything that isn’t turbocharged. Even Porsche has succumbed: the latest 718 Cayman and 911 Carrera both use forced induction.

Where does that leave the 911 Turbo? Well, despite all this high-velocity hot air, the ‘proper’ Turbo remains something special – and rarely more so than in 996 guise. Indeed, the 2000-2005 996 Turbo may be the best used 911 you can buy.

The car we drove is an immaculate 2001 example, kindly loaned by leading Porsche specialists, Autofarm. At the time of writing, it was for sale at £48,000.

What are its rivals?Porsche 718 Cayman

That £48,000 is near-as-dammit the price of a new Porsche 718 Cayman S. The 350hp Cayman is only 0.4 seconds slower to 62mph than the 420hp 996, and 16 years of chassis development mean there’s scant difference in cross-country pace. With an ‘average’ driver at the wheel, the young pretender is, in reality, probably quicker.

However, while the 718’s three-year warranty certainly appeals, you pay dearly for that peace of mind. A Cayman S will retain around 52% of list price after three years and 60,000 miles – a loss of more than £23,000. Over the same period, a 996 will almost certainly appreciate in value, perhaps significantly so. After all, a few years ago, you could pick up a Turbo for less than £20,000. Now, £30,000 is a realistic start-point.

If you fancy an older, air-cooled 911, you’ll have to settle for a Carrera – don’t expect to find a Turbo for less than £50,000. Prices for the 996’s predecessor, the 993 Turbo (1995-1998), have gone supernova: the best examples now nudge £200,000.

Which engine does it use?Porsche 996 Turbo

Two bits of good news. Firstly, the Turbo uses a derivative of the legendary Mezger engine, as found in the 911 GT1 Le Mans racer and 996 GT3. Secondly, that means it doesn’t have the M96 motor found in most 996s, which is notorious for costly intermediate shaft (IMS) bearing failures.

With six-speed manual gearbox as here, the 3.6-litre flat-six is good for 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds and a VMAX of 189mph. Opt for the five-speed Tiptronic auto and those figures drop to 4.9 seconds and 185mph respectively.

Porsche offered an ‘X50’ upgrade pack that boosted power to 450hp and reduced the 0-62mph time to 4.0 seconds. This effectively became the Turbo S in 2005, shortly before the 996 was discontinued.

What’s it like to drive?Porsche 996 Turbo

Close your eyes while driving a 996 Turbo (actually, please don’t – Ed.) and you could be in a modern car. Its controls are light, but beautifully-weighted, its suspension feels supple and refinement is genuinely impressive.

There’s nothing old-fashioned about its performance either. The seamless shove becomes a torrent of turbocharged torque once the blowers spool up beyond 3,000rpm. It feels gut-punchingly, head-spinningly fast.

Four-wheel-drive traction and a benign, yet biddable chassis make the 996 ruthlessly rapid in real-world conditions. On narrow British B-roads where a Ferrari might intimidate, the Porsche inspires calm confidence. And, unlike older 911s, the 996 Turbo doesn’t bite back.

Criticisms? The water-cooled six lacks the heavenly high-rev howl of its air-cooled ancestors. And the brakes don’t have the vice-like bite of a newer Porsche. But we’re nitpicking: this is still a fabulous driver’s car.

Reliability and running costsPorsche 996 Turbo

A 996 Turbo should be cheaper to run than most cars with equivalent performance, particularly if you use an independent Porsche specialist such as Autofarm.

Nonetheless, you should budget around £5,000 a year for servicing and maintenance, including regular oil changes (at least once a year), new spark plugs every 24,000 miles and a new clutch every 40,000 miles. Be wary of cars with the optional carbon ceramic brakes, which were standard on the Turbo S. They last a long time, but cost thousands to replace.

Official fuel economy for the 996 Turbo is 21.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 309g/km. That equates to annual road tax (VED) of £235, or £295 for cars registered after March 2001.

Could I drive it every day?Porsche 996 Turbo

The 911 Turbo hasn’t earned its ‘everyday supercar’ nickname by accident. In stop-start traffic or – dare we say it? – on the school-run (it has four seats, right?), the 996 is as docile as an Andrex puppy. Equally, on a foggy February morning, when few supercars venture beyond their air-conditioned garages, the four-wheel-drive Turbo is sure-footed and safe.

Where the 996 really feels its age is inside. Ergonomics are good – far better than the haphazard 993, in fact – but there’s an abundance of hard, scratchy plastics. The media system looks very dated now, too. Jumping from this into a new 991 is like trading your Nokia 3210 for an iPhone 7.

How much should I pay?Porsche 996 Turbo

Prices start at around £30,000 for early cars with mileages approaching six figures. At the opposite end of the scale, expect to pay £75,000 for a mint Turbo S.

Any Porsche 911 has investment potential – and the potential for big bills. So buy the best 996 Turbo you can, focusing on service history and condition rather than mileage. We strongly advise getting a professional inspection before you buy, too.

What should I look out for?Mikey Wastie

Mikey Wastie is the co-owner of Autofarm and an expert on all things 911. Here are his top tips for buying a 996 Turbo:

1. Make sure it has a good service history. You’ll want to see invoices to back up the services, and ensure the stamps are credible ones. Turbos are lovely cars, but costs can add up if they’re not maintained properly.

2. The left-hand turbo control valve link rod corrodes and can stop the wastegate functioning – thus there is no overboost safety. Look out for boost issues: intercooler hoses can blow off and the plastic diverter valves can fail. Some cars have billet alloy ones fitted.

3. Check for rattling heat shields over the turbochargers.

4. Radiators have similar blocking-up issues to the naturally-aspirated 996s. However, they don’t seem to happen so soon as the radiators are at slightly different angles. The bumper also has a tighter grille that stops larger leaves.

5. Rust may be found under or around the bonnet latch, plus around both door striker catches on the rear wings. Look for the door-shut decal being masked over and painted around.

6. Corrosion can form on the curved edge of the Turbo alloy wheels from brake dust erosion.

7. As the cars are heavier and braking tends to be harder, we’ve found that standard, non-genuine discs and pads are not robust enough, possibly causing brake judder.

Should I buy one?Porsche 996 Turbo

Older cars invariably look cool and offer classic kudos. However, they’re often – whisper it – quite disappointing to drive. Not so the 996 Turbo. Of all the Retro Road Tests we’ve written, this one was perhaps the most surprising.

Maybe our view had been tainted by sniffy Porsche purists, who look down on the 996 as inferior to the earlier, air-cooled cars. Objectively, the exact opposite is true: few cars even today are so capable, so crushingly competent.

For some, that breadth of ability equates to dearth of character, at least when compared with the quirky 911s of old. Judge the 996 Turbo on its own merits, though – as a car to own and live with, as well as to drive – and little else comes close.

So, should you buy one? Absolutely. Prices are creeping upwards, but the 996 Turbo is still a bargain in the big-money world of classic 911s. Get one while you still can.

Pub factSally Carrera

The Porsche 996 is familar to five-year-olds everywhere as Lightning McQueen’s girlfriend – and a star of Pixar’s Cars films. The character of Sally Carrera is based on 2002 911 Carrera (not a Turbo, sadly), albeit with a shorter wheelbase and more upright windscreen.

Sally was originally going to be a classic 911, but Porsche convinced the animators to use an up-to-date car. The photo shows a real-life ‘Sally’, created for promotional duties.

Porsche turbo history

Porsche’s turbocharged street car saga

Porsche turbo history
In the 1990s, due to regulations and increased performance, Porsche made the move – an unfavorable one by many Porsche aficionados – to go from air-cooled to water-cooled engines on all 911s.

Now, due to similar circumstances, Porsche’s standard engines are, once again, entering a new era as they will all be turbocharged; first the 911, and now the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman.

But turbocharging is nothing new to Porsche as it has been playing with the force induction devices since the early 70s. Porsche’s inaugural venture in turbocharging began with its motorsports program.

In order to challenge the dominating McLarens of the Can-Am, Porsche engineers were pushed to adapting a turbo to its Type 912 engines used in its 917 racecars.

From the track to the road

Porsche turbo history

Turbos elevated Porsche’s motorsports program and company chairman, Ernst Fuhrman, believed they could also enhance the performance of the production cars. The 911 Turbo – the first production turbocharged Porsche – was introduced as a prototype in 1973 before officially launching in 1975.

The 911 Turbo

Porsche turbo history

Iconic 930 body – with ‘shark-fin’ fender covers and large ‘whale-tale – on the outside. 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six on the inside. The first 911 Turbo, for the time, impressively produced 260 hp. Five-hundred models were initially to be produced, but due to immense demand over 1,000 ended up being sold.

Expanding turbocharger utility

Porsche turbo history

Porsche’s entry-level model, the 924, was in need of a variant which could bridge the gap between a base 924 and base 911. To fill the vacancy Porsche took inspiration from the 911 Turbo and added a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 to the front-engine sports car.

Entry-level turbo Porsche

Porsche turbo history

Introduced as a 1978 model, the 924 Turbo produced 170-horsepower – 10-horsepower off of the 911 SC – and featured a NACA duct in the hood and air intakes in the nose to help distinguish the base 924 from the Turbo. In its short production run the 924 Turbo say minimal changes before its end.

Upgraded 911 Turbo

Porsche turbo history

In 1978 the 911 Turbo’s engine’s displacement increased from 3.0-liters to 3.3-liters, giving the car a 40-horsepower jump over the last. Unfortunately for the U.S. in 1979 the 911 Turbo would no longer be available due to an energy crisis, and would not return until 1986.

New front-engine turbo

Porsche turbo history

Before the 911 Turbo returned to the U.S. the 924’s replace, the 944, arrived with a turbo variant. The turbo produced 217-horsepower and had a recorded 0-60mph time of 5.9 seconds.

Advanced 944 Turbo

Porsche turbo history

In 1988 a 944 Turbo S was revealed. Improved suspension, clutch, transmission, rear-end, and engine and clutch combination, helped make the Turbo S the fastest production four-cylinder car of its time. With 247-horsepower and 258ft-lb of torque, the Turbo S could go from 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds.

Superior supercar

Porsche turbo history

While the 911 Turbo returned to the U.S., something much more menacing and paramount was leaving Stuttgart at the same time – the Porsche 959. Powered by a bi-turbo flat-six, the 444-horsepower all-wheel-drive super-Porsche could reach 195mph, making it the world’s fastest street-legal production car for its time.

Next generation 911 Turbo

Porsche turbo history

Not until 1990 would the second generation 964 911 Turbo be released. It retained the same 3.3-liter flat-six from the last generation, but retuned to 320-horsepower. A Turbo S variant was released in 1992 with improved suspension and a power increase to 376-horsepower.

Improving the 964

In 1993 Porsche replaced the 3.3-liter engine with a new 3.6-liter flat-six pushing 360-horsepower with the Turbo variant. Only 1,500 3.6-liter Turbo 964s were produced, making it almost as sought after as the 959.

New 911 features

When the 993 generation of the 911 Turbo was revealed in 1995 it was equipped with two never-before-seen features on a 911 – twin turbos and an all-wheel-drive system. The twin-turbo 3.6-liter flat-six produced a whopping 402-horsepower, and combined with the new aerodynamic body the 993 Turbo launched from 0-60mph in a blistering 3.8 seconds. The Turbo S even faster with 424-horsepower.

The apotheosis of the 993 911

The GT2 name presents a sense of nobility. And when placed next to another dignity name, 911, everything you need to know about the car is represented in six characters. Bestowed with 430-horsepower – 450-horsepower on the upgraded edition – widened plastic fenders, larger rear spoiler with air scoops in the struts, six-speed transmission and rear-wheel-drive, the GT2 was truly a street-legal 911 racecar.

First water-cooled 911 Turbo

Diehard air-cooled 911 fans were thrown a curve ball with the launch of the new water-cooled 996 model 911. But the 911’s new feature in no way hindered the Turbo model’s performance. Its 3.6-liter flat-six is derived from the 1998 Le Mans winning GT-1 car and produced 415-horsepower at 6,000rpm.

996 generation GT2

Despite how enthusiasts felt about water-cooled 911s, there was no denying the pertinence of a 911 GT2. And the 996 GT2 did not disappoint. Two large turbochargers assisted the 3.6-liter flat-six in producing 476-horsepower, and according to reports of the time, the GT2 hardly suffered any dreaded turbo lag.

Turbocharged SUV

Porsche entered uncharted territory in 2002 with the development of a SUV. But in typical Porsche fashion, the Cayenne had superb handling and a line of strong motors – including a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 – and quickly became the company’s best-selling vehicle. The Cayenne has a Turbo and Turbo S variant with the current Turbo S producing 560-horsepower.

Growing line-up

Porsche continued to grow its lineup with the Panamera – a full-sized luxury sedan. Like the Cayenne, a Turbo and Turbo S variant of the Panamera was made available with a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8. The current Panamera Turbo S is the most power mass production Porsche producing 570-horsepower.

997 generation turbos

While it was no surprise to see new turbo editions with the launch of the 997 generation 911, what was new was the first time use of BorgWarner VTG turbos. The new turbos cut lag and increased power with the 911 Turbo producing 473-horsepower and the mighty GT2 producing 523-horsepower.

997 generation two

For the 2008-09 model years of the 997 911 there were a few updates including revised suspension, PDK 7-speed transmission option, slightly altered front fascia and a couple other minor details. This didn’t have a major effect on the Turbo variants, but there was the addition of a new Turbo S and a staggering 612-horsepower twin-turbo GT2 RS.

Crossover endeavor

Porsche continued to work on increasing its audience by jumping on the crossover bandwagon with the launch of the Macan in 2014. There is a Turbo variant of the Macan, but a unique feature of the Macan is all of its engine options include a turbo. The base Macan and diesel models house a single turbo while S, GTS and Turbo models house twin-turbos.

991 generation 911

With the new 991 generation 911 came the end of the 3.6-liter flat-six. Now all Turbo models would be powered by a twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six. The Turbo now produced 513-horsepower, while the Turbo S produced 552-horsepower.

The 911 blows into another new era

Mid-generation updates usually include minor revisions, but this time the facelifted 991.2 sees all Carrera models sporting a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine. Aside from GT models, no longer can you go to a Porsche dealer and purchase a new naturally aspirated 911.

991.2 Turbo models

The Turbo and Turbo S models will still exist and will be the most powerful editions. Both all-wheel-drive with a twin-turbo 3.8-liter flat-six, but the Turbo will produce 540-horsepower with an estimated 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds, while the Turbo S will produce an incredible 580-horsepower with an estimated 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds.

Increasing its turbo line-up

New emission regulations are pushing manufacturers to adapted turbocharging technology to their lineups, and for Porsche this doesn’t stop with the 911. As of 2016, the Boxster and Cayman, now named 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, have been given the turbocharged treatment coming standard with a turbocharged flat-four.

Boost or bust?

Now, Porsche’s entire line-up is turbocharged. The exceptions will be super-raw road-going racers such as the 911 GT3 RS. Like it or not, if you’re a fan of Porsches, you now need to be a fan of turbochargers. Not all the die-hard enthusiasts are happy, but such is the march of progress. Besides, as we’ve now seen, Porsche’s history with the turbo goes back decades. If anyone can lay claim to being an authentic turbo car maker, it’s Porsche…

Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara S: Two-Minute Road Test

Suzuki VitaraThis is the hot hatch of SUVs. It really is. It’s Suzuki’s latest (and rather good) Vitara, fitted with an all-new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and, in this case, an automatic gearbox. But is it worth the £20,000-plus asking price? Keep clicking to find out…

Suzuki Vitara rivalsWhat are its rivals?

There’s no shortage of trendy crossovers on the market, especially if you’ve got a Vitara S budget to play with. There’s the darling of the segment, the Nissan Juke, as well as its platform-sharing Renault Captur. Both of these are perhaps quirkier choices, but lack the off-road credibility of the Vitara. Then there are fashionable options such as the Jeep Renegade and Fiat 500X – both of which are available with a 170hp petrol engine, if you’re after sprightly performance.

Suzuki VitaraWhich engine does it use?

So, that 1.4-litre turbo? Despite being smaller than the 1.6-litre petrol also offered, it actually sits above the bigger engine in the Vitara range. It produces 140hp and 162lb ft of torque (that’s more than Suzuki’s hot hatch, the Swift Sport), resulting in a 0-62mph time of 10.2 seconds.

Suzuki VitaraWhat’s it like to drive?

The standard Vitara, especially when fitted with four-wheel-drive (standard on the Vitara S), handles really well. Body-roll is well controlled, while the steering provides plenty of feedback. It’s definitely a ‘warm hatch’ among crossover SUVs – even more so when fitted with this eager engine.

It feels considerably quicker than its 0-62mph time suggests. A low 1,210kg kerb weight (nothing for an SUV) makes it pretty nimble, while the automatic gearbox is quite happy to drop down in a hurry if you’re looking to overtake or accelerate out of a corner as quickly as possible.

Suzuki VitaraFuel economy and running costs

Following the downsized-engine-plus-turbo recipe, the Vitara S is actually more efficient than the sensible 1.6-litre in the range. Officially, anyway. While the auto returns 51.4mpg on the combined cycle (52.3mpg for the manual), small capacity turbos like this usually struggle to match their official figures. And if you drive it like a hot hatch? Well…

Suzuki VitaraIs it practical?

Yes, more so than many of its rivals. The Vitara boasts a 375-litre boot space with the seats up, while the boot opening is large and easily accessible. Rear passengers will appreciate the high-up seating position and good visibility and, although the interior does have a few less-than-premium plastics, it’s largely a pleasant cabin. There’s a lot of standard kit, too.

Suzuki VitaraWhat about safety?

The Vitara’s four-wheel-drive system should provide that extra stability if you regularly drive in slippery conditions. Like most of its ilk, it usually runs as a front-wheel drive car, diverting power to the rear when required. It’s clever, though – the Vitara will anticipate this before it happens. So, if you mash the accelerator mid-bend, it’ll send power to the rear before it detects slip.

Combine this with a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and a plethora of tech (such as an automatic radar braking system), and the Vitara should prove a very safe family SUV.

Suzuki VitaraWhich version should I go for?

If you’re after the 1.4-litre turbocharged engine (we’d recommend it if you’re budget can stretch to it), you’re restricted to the top-of-the-range Vitara S. The only choice to make then is the £20,899 manual or £22,249 auto. We’d probably opt for the manual ’box, but that comes down to personal preference.

Suzuki VitaraShould I buy one?

If you want a crossover that drives really well, then yes. It’s a hefty price to pay for a Vitara, but you do get a lot for your money in the range-topping Vitara S. Suzuki has a reputation for making reliable cars, so the Vitara shouldn’t prove troublesome, and it has more off-road ability that most of its peers. It’s a smart buy.

Suzuki VitaraPub fact

To brighten up the cabin, Suzuki has given the Vitara S various splashes of colour as standard. We like the red stitching on the steering wheel and seats, but the rings around the air vents definitely look pink to us. They’re red, insists Suzuki, but they’re anodised – which might make them appear pink in certain lights. Tell that to your mates down the pub.