We get to do some pretty cool things at CarAdvice sometimes. Like this, the time we visited Porsche’s Exclusive Manufaktur facility at its German headquarters. Immediately after, we were beckoned across the road, where a fleet of 911s belonging to the Porsche Museum sat gleaming in the Stuttgart sun.
Take your pick, we were told. Um, okay then… If we wanted to get our mitts on two vehicles, it was going to be a short drive in each, but when one of them was the utterly mental 911 Turbo S Exclusive Design – you didn’t expect us to argue, did you?
The lure of a super-rare (356 built for sale globally) 911 Speedster was way too hard to resist, so a quick blast out into the countryside in car 000 followed by the return leg in the Exclusive Edition (also car 000) made up our plan of attack. The museum likes keeping the first vehicle off the line it seems…
Driving the older 911 is something of a revelation really. Not as powerful, direct or sharp as its modern brethren, it remains an in-focus snapshot in time, and is still a beautiful machine to drive rapidly. The humpy Speedster rear end might not be to everyone’s taste, but the steering (hydraulically assisted), the brakes and the handling are all excellent. It doesn’t possess the savage holeshot acceleration of the modern 911, but it’s fast enough to put a silly grin on your dial, that’s for sure.
Interestingly, the older car rides beautifully. German roads are hardly poor, but even cobblestones and the odd mismatched surface don’t upset the balance and comfort in the cabin. Less than five of these Speedsters landed in Australia, and you can take a guess as to the price – if someone wants to sell one. If you’re a collector, this is one limited-edition 911 you’d be mad not to chase at some point.
Switching into the Turbo S Exclusive Edition is a lesson in modern technology by way of a sharp punch to the temple. The acceleration is quite simply savage in any gear from any speed, the steering (electrically assisted now, of course) is razor sharp and weighted perfectly, the brakes liable to remove your eyeballs from their sockets if you’re not ready when you stand on them, and the handling balance is stupendous. If there’s a supercar that is easier to drive at warp speed than a Turbo S, I certainly haven’t driven it.
Conversely, I never came away from a Turbo S blast thinking it was underpowered, and yet the extra grunt afforded by the Exclusive Edition package makes a lot of sense. As we’ve noted before, the Turbo S is effectively devoid of lag, it gets out of the hole like a gunshot, and just keeps piling on speed relentlessly. Traffic foiled any attempts to rifle well past 200km/h sadly, but there’s no doubt the sub-10-second claim to hit the double ton is bang on the money in the real world too.
I’m constantly staggered by the precision and timing of the gear change afforded by the PDK system. It’s so fast it feels almost computer game-like, such that you hardly notice the next gear has been engaged. At any speed, under any load, it’s ruthless in its precision. Fellow tester Curt Dupriez and I once buttoned off a rambling 911 conversation by anointing the Turbo S the ‘ultimate any-condition getaway car’, and every time I drive one I’m reminded of its accessibility.
There are faster, more powerful 911s in the form of track-focused GT cars, but none you’d want to beat on in the rain on unfamiliar roads and across varying conditions with little to no runoff. The Turbo S is undoubtedly the most ‘friendly’ super-fast 911 by some measure, even if it is a rabid beast beneath the otherwise composed skin.
No Turbo S drive is ever long enough – that’s for sure. And our post press conference blast is another that gets noted down as an epic tease. Unrestricted autobahn beckons, so does the end of peak-hour traffic, and yet we must move on – other plans have been made for us over at the Exclusive Manufaktur facility.
The point remains that the ‘garden variety’ Turbo S wasn’t remotely lacking in anything that might be required to make it feel special. It seems, though, that the Exclusive Manufaktur touches have simply made an already iconic sports car even more special, more bespoke, more desirable.
Do yourself a favour if you’re ever near Stuttgart too – get to the Porsche Museum. The cars we drove will probably be on display, as will an eye-watering array of road and race cars from the very beginning of the company’s journey. Stuttgart is a special place, and even if you’re not a Porsche tragic (as I’m not), the brand’s cars are among the very best in the world.