Goodwood Test: 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Review

The most engaging 911 Turbo ever..?
10th December 2020
Seán Ward



Over the last decade or so the 911 GT3 RS has offered the ultimate Porsche 911 driving experience and the 911 Turbo S has been the ultimate 911. I’m simplifying a lot there, but the GT3 RS has served feel, noise and driving dynamics second to none in the Porsche range, while the Turbo S has been the one that feels invincible and shockingly fast in any condition – two very distinct branches on the 911 tree. That balance is said to have changed for this, the 992 Turbo S, however. This is supposed to be the most exciting and most engaging Turbo S ever, and stupidly fast. That sounds like rather a nice recipe wouldn’t you say?

We like

  • Most engaging 911 Turbo S ever
  • Performance is shocking and addictive
  • Some nice Porsche flat-six noise at the top end of the rev range

We don't like

  • You pay £150k but a reversing camera is optional
  • At normal speed a regular 911 is just as much fun
  • We live nowhere near an Autobahn



All things considered the Turbo S is relatively anonymous. There’s no huge, fixed rear wing, there are no Turbo stickers, nothing too out there – to most people it is ‘just’ a 911. But it really isn’t. The front axle is 42mm wider and the rear axle 10mm wider than the previous 911 Turbo S, and you get 20-inch wheels up front and 21-inch wheels at the rear with wider tyres to match. The result is a wide, low, muscular body, still with the classic 911 look.

There’s some serious aero work going on here too. The moveable rear wing, combined with a moveable, flexible front splitter, a number of hidden vents and aero tricks on the body and on the car’s floor have contributed to a 15 per cent increase in downforce over the last Turbo S to 170kg.

Performance and Handling


The performance is shattering. Yes, there are electric cars around today that are proving to be faster off the line on paper, but the difference of a tenth or two means absolutely nothing when you’re accelerating to 62mph in under three seconds. For the record, the 992 Turbo S will crack 62mph (100km/h) in 2.7 seconds. Zero to 124mph (200km/h) is over in 8.9 seconds and the top speed is 205mph (323km/h). I promise you, when the car really hooks up in a full-bore launch, when there’s no slip at all, you feel as though you’re auditioning for NASA.

Those numbers come courtesy of a monstrous all-wheel-drive system, a rapid eight-speed double-clutch gearbox and a twin-turbo, 3.8-litre flat-six with 650PS (478kW) and 800Nm (592lb ft) of torque. For the record, that’s 70PS and 50Nm more than the 991 Turbo S, thanks to a new charge-air cooling system, new intake and new, larger turbochargers (they deserve an entire paragraph on their own). The all-wheel-drive system, can deliver even more torque to the front wheels, up to 500Nm.

As I said at the beginning, though, the new Turbo S isn’t just about straight line performance. As well as the wider track and new, hidden aero features there’s rear-wheel steering and bigger brakes, now 420mm at the front and 390mm at the rear, carbon ceramic on the Turbo S. The rear-wheel steering brings stability at speed and a tighter turning circle when you slow things down and try to drive with some restraint, and the brakes are very, very good at bringing you to a stop. A good thing, really, given how easy it is to find yourself going a tad quicker than you’d realised… What’s more, the steering inspires confidence, the adjustable dampers give you suppleness when you need it and a firmer platform when you don’t, there’s an other-worldly level of grip seemingly all of the time, and there’s some real 911 flat-six noise from the engine at higher revs, too.

One of the most entertaining features has to be Sport Response. There’s a little rotary dial on the steering wheel with which you can move between the Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual drive modes. Move through the modes and the Turbo S becomes progressively more feisty and alert, but if you’re in Normal and find yourself in a situation that requires everything the car has you can press a little button in the middle of the dial for Sport Response. Push it, and immediately everything – engine, exhaust, gearbox, all-wheel-drive system – is at maximum attack for 20 seconds. Coffee is cheaper, but a Turbo S and Sport Response packs a similar punch.



It’s funny to think that even with all of that performance there are still four seats and a decent boot. And while work has gone into making the driving experience closer to that of a GT-spec car, plenty of time and energy has gone into making the 911’s interior a pleasant, comfortable, quiet place to be.

The driving position is spot on and the weight and feel of all of the controls is lovely. The 10.9-inch central touchscreen is easy to use, too. It’s easy to get very comfortable very quickly.

What doesn’t work? Well as nice as it is from a design perspective, the teeny tiny gear lever  doesn’t have the practicality of old Porsche auto selectors. You can’t pull on the lever or push it away to move up or down a gear, and even if you could it would be too small to do so. And the instrument cluster works very well, with once physical dial, the tachometer, in the middle, and digital displays on either side, two large circular dials and two small circular dials. But the outer two are mostly obstructed by the wheel.

Technology and Features


As well as performance features like rear-wheel-steering and Sport Response, as a 911 there’s a lot – a lot – to play with. The rear wing, for example, moves between various heights and angles of attack depending on the drive mode and your speed. And, of course, sitting in traffic lights it’s all too easy to move from one mode to the next just to watch the wing rise and fall in the rear-view mirror.

From the central screen you can control all the usual things like the radio and Sat-Nav, and connect your phone to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But you can also see information on the car itself – how much power you’re using, the turbo boost, your launch control times… There’s a G-meter in the instrument cluster, too. How could there not be.

The front seats are 18-way adjustable, there are two USB ports (not USB-C, thankfully), a BOSE surround sound system, Bluetooth, dual-zone climate control, cruise control and a heated rear screen. Sadly lane keep assist is a £749 option, and adaptive cruise control a further £1,203. ParkAssist, the parking sensors and a reversing camera, and Surround View, a further three cameras to create a 360-degree image, is an extra £732 in total as well. You’d think that by spending more than £150,000 you’d get at least lane keep assist and the adaptive cruise thrown in. The front axle lift is another £1,709, although the Turbo S rarely scrapes its nose anyway, and the sports exhaust £2,180.



The 911 Turbo S remains the everything 911 – there’s pretty much nothing it can’t do. But it is not a blunt instrument, one that fails to inspire or engage. The all-wheel-drive system, the gearbox, the brakes, the steering, the suspension and the engine combine to create something you really want to drive over and over and over again. Moreover, you don’t always have to be going fast to enjoy the experience.



3.8-litre, twin-turbocharged flat-six


650PS (478kW) @ 6,750rpm


800Nm (592lb ft) @ 2,500-4,000rpm


Eight-speed double-clutch automatic, all-wheel-drive

Kerb weight


0-62mph 2.7 seconds
Top speed 205mph
Fuel economy


CO2 emissions



£155,970 (£167,210 as tested)

Our score

4 / 5

This score is an average based on aggregated reviews from trusted and verified sources.

  • Evo
    4.5 out of 5
  • Autocar
    4.5 out of 5
  • Top Gear
    4.5 out of 5