I Want One: Porsche 911 Turbo

DrivingTalk waxes lyrical over the 911 Turbo

By Tim Kendall | 12th August 2013

I can remember when the seed was sown. The year was 1995 and the car was an improbably rude looking 911 Turbo 2 3.6 in black with two-piece polished Speedlines. Yep, that one. The one from Michael Bay’s buddy cop blockbuster ‘Bad Boys’.

Bad Boys Porsche 964 Turbo

‘You damn right it’s limited. No cupholder, no back seat. Just a shiny dick with two chairs in it’

That particular 964 Turbo 2 was apparently lent to the production by director Michael Bay and features a French number plate with the Parisian ’75’ marker. An incongruous sight on the streets of Miami, but the silver on black plates just made it even cooler. As did the 964’s naturally purposeful stance, its tarmac-hugging bumpers combining with the Turbo’s widebody and split-rim ‘Cups’, making this particular ’90s Porker look just about bob-on. It still does today.

Which is the best 911 Turbo?

Tough call. All five generations were bahn-munching weapons in their day.

It all started with the original ‘930’ Turbo, unleashed on the car world in 1974 at the Paris motor show. Fitted with a 260hp 3.0-litre version of the Hans Mezger-designed air-cooled flat six, it was good for 158mph, earning it the gong of Germany’s fastest road-going sports car for a while. The addition of forced induction came 11 years into the 911’s lifespan when Porsche engineers tacked on a KKK turbocharger, although it still had only a four-speed ‘box and rear-wheel drive. Today’s crop of über-hatches might well be capable of showing it a clean pair of Michelins, but in the mid-seventies, a 0-60mph time of 5.3 seconds showed the original 911 T was a bona-fide supercar capable of rivalling Maranello’s finest.

Porsche 911 930 3.0-litre Turbo

The original widow-maker? 1974 Porsche 911 Turbo mustered 260hp

The 930 Turbo later morphed into a 3.3-litre with an intercooler and a chunkier 300hp, bringing it bang up-to-date for the ’80s. The perfect accompaniment to red braces, filofaxes and Thatcher’s decade of excess.

1994 Porsche 964 Turbo

The 964 turbo of 1994. The most aggressive looking 911 Turbo ever? I reckon so..

Then the ’90s arrived and given the fact a contemporary Mercedes 560 SEC could trump the Turbo’s horespower figure, Porsche needed to do something to regain its fearsome reputation. So they swelled the Mezger motor to 3.6-litres and a more serious 360hp, marking the arrival of the 964 Turbo. And, it must be said it looked ruddy fantastic by this point. With a capital F.

In fact, as you might have gathered from the car that earned the 911 Turbo a place on my Want One list, I reckon it’s hands-down the most aggressive iteration of the 911 dynasty ever. Not the best looking one mind….

Cards on the table – which 911 Turbo then?

If you know your 911 onions, you’ll know where this is leading.

Yep, to the holy grail of 911 Turbos – the 993 Turbo. I can still remember the allure of that issue of Evo magazine’s forebear, ‘Performance Car’ with the Arena Red press car on the cover. So much of the appeal lies in the utterly sublime looks – the classic, original 911 honed to perfection – pure 911 at its aesthetic zenith.

Porsche 993 Turbo

I want that one. The Porsche 993 Turbo

But underneath it were properly delicious mechanicals too – the air-cooled 408hp twin-turbo flat-six. And this time, four-wheel drive so you could exploit that ballistic power delivery. Performance is still on the money today with 60 arriving in the mid fours, but really it’s about the looks, the hewn-from-solid mystique and the kudos of being the last of the air-cooled dynasty. I don’t care that the interior was an ergonomic nightmare and the engine was a bit laggy, because the desirability of this thing is off the scale. And yes, there’s been a couple more 911 Turbos since, including the searingly rapid, great value 996 TT. But we don’t need to talk about those – just linger on the daydream of a 993 Turbo. I Want One.

Video: Porsche 993 Turbo, Tiff Needell, vintage Top Gear, Dire Straits:

By Tim Kendall
12th August 2013

Got an opinion? Don't be shy....