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Car of the Year 2011: No. 3 Porsche 911 Turbo S

Paul Meyers, Robert Ross and Paul Dean

Fast and Efficient
Close your eyes while sitting in the passenger seat of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, and when the driver floors it, you will swear you are in the cockpit of a Bugatti Veyron. (Those with weaker stomachs should avoid this experiment.) Equipped with a tuned version of Porsche’s 6-cylinder boxer engine, the Turbo S manages to fly past the 60-mph mark in less than three seconds, according to published numbers from sources other than Porsche. This is a staggering achievement, especially considering that the Veyron requires double the displacement, 10 more cylinders, and twice as many turbochargers to achieve a similar feat. But the Turbo S’s performance numbers can be misleading, for this car is surprisingly suited to everyday driving. Such a blend of performance and practicality may be why the Volkswagen Group recently placed Porsche in charge of its sports-car development—and why the Turbo S earned a place on the Car of the Year podium. —Paul Meyers

 

Street Smart
Now that the Porsche 911 Turbo S has been declared the quickest series production automobile on the planet (some published tests achieved zero-to-60 runs in 2.6 seconds), we can consider the more practical attributes of this standout sports car. All-wheel drive and numerous drive assists, including launch control, make the Turbo S nearly foolproof when pressed, and everyday tractability is increased in every way with the standard Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission, a 7-speed with both manual gearshift and an automatic mode. The car’s no-nonsense interior looks almost dated compared with the 21st-century spaceshiplike decor of its peers—assuming, that is, the Turbo S has any peers. —Robert Ross

 

Highly Evolved
A Porsche is a Porsche is a Porsche, and that is the way it has been since the 911 Turbo began collecting Amer­ican disciples nearly four decades ago. Yet little by little, year by year the 911 Turbo has evolved and kept pace with the science of automotive propulsion. The current 2+2 is the most potent six-banger Porsche ever, with its twin turbochargers amassing a frightening 530 hp. The Turbo S drives flat and with monumental adhesion, allowing it to be driven securely to its limits. —Paul Dean

SPECIFICATIONS
Configuration Rear-engine, all-wheel-drive sports car Engine 3.8-?liter turbocharged flat-6 Transmission 7-speed, dual-clutch automated manual Power 530 hp at 6,250 rpm Torque 516 ft lbs at 2,100 rpm Curb weight 3,516 pounds Zero to 60 3.2 seconds (modest factory spec.) Top speed 196 mph Base price $160,700 Porsche, www.porsche.com

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