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New Car/Review


Porsche 911 Turbo (2001)

By Matt/Bob Hagin


     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price             $ 110,000
     Price As Tested                                   $ 114,700
     Engine Type          DOHC 24-valve 3.6 Liter Flat 6 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 220 cid/3600 cc
     Horsepower                                   415 @ 6000 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               413 @ 4600 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                   92.5"/72.0"/174.6"
     Transmission                               Six-speed manual
     Curb Weight                                     3570 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  16.9 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)              225/40ZR18 front/ 295/30ZR18 rear
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/disc (ABS)
     Drive Train                     Rear-engine/all-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                         2+2-passenger/two-door
     Domestic Content                                  0 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                              0.31


     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            15/22/18
     0-60 MPH                                        4.5 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                         13.0 seconds @ 113.5 mph
     Top-speed                                           189 mph
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Bob Hagin believes that the new Porsche 911 Turbo is totally impractical. Son Matt agrees, but says its fun quotient is very high.)

BOB - This Porsche 911 Turbo is probably the most impractical car we've ever evaluated. It costs as much as a pretty good house is some areas of the country and it will only carry two people. It's said to be good for around 190 mph and the only place that a person can go that fast is in the desert areas of Nevada. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 in a bit over five seconds and when it's passing traffic on the highway, it can accelerate from 50 to 75 in five seconds and does it in fifth gear. But the most amazing thing about it is that it's as smooth as silk in town and isn't at all fussy on the street.

MATT - The car has lots of other attributes, too, and if status is important, there are few new cars in the world that draw as much attention as this Porsche. The rear-mounted engine is a mechanical work of art. It displaces only 3.6-liters, but it puts out 415 horses at 6000 revs and the torque figure is 413 pound-feet. And the torque curve is so flat that it pulls very hard even at low engine speeds. It's a flat-six "boxer" engine with a turbocharger feeding into each bank of cylinders. It uses dual overhead cams with four valves per cylinder and unlike most rear-mounted Porsche engines in the past, it's watercooled. The valve train is interesting in that it can advance and retard the camshafts themselves as the engine load increases or decreases. The lift of the valves is varied by using a dual valve-lifter system for low and high speed performance, along with "trimming" the engine so that it puts out the lowest possible pollution. Amazingly, it's designated as a low emissions engine by our Environmental Protection Agency. Another surprise is that its fuel mileage is better than many of the sport/ utility vehicles that we've tested this year. If there's a down side to this, it's that the engine requires 97-octane fuel.

BOB - I've studied diagrams of that valve system, Matt, and I still can't figure out how it works. The transmission in the car we evaluated is a six-speed stick-shift although there's an five-speed automatic available, too. The ZF automatic uses the Tiptronic system so it can be "rowed" up and down through the gears almost like a stick. In that case, the driver can simply point, accelerate and steer, but I'm pretty sure that die-hard enthusiasts will go for the six-speed. The Turbo uses all-wheel drive, which is also a pretty slick system. In most cases, the car puts most of its power to the rear wheels with a small amount going forward through a viscous clutch mounted on the front of the transmission. As the car accelerates hard and picks up speed, more and more power goes to the front wheels, as much as 40-percent when full power is applied and the tires need maximum adhesion. There's a traction control system built in, but adventuresome drivers can shut it off if they feel the need to do some hang-the-tail-out highballing.

MATT - With all the technical wizardry in the Porsche 911 Turbo, its easy to ignore all the creature-comforts that are built into it. The driver and passenger seats are as form-fitting as a pair of high-class leather gloves and all the controls have been place by engineers who no doubt spent their formative years in the competition department of Porsche. The tires are huge, being 18-inchers with 295/30ZRs in front and 225/40ZRs in back. The rear spoiler on the engine cover lifts a bit at 75 mph to give the car more downforce, a factor that becomes important when road speeds get up around three miles per minute.

BOB - I was at a track session when the original 911 was first brought over to the U.S. in '63 and the profile of this new car shows its lineage to the original version.

MATT - High quality things don't change much over the years, Dad. They just get better.