With its 560 horsepower, all-wheel-drive, and complex dual-clutch transmission , the 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo has come a long way from the very first 911 Turbo prototype that debuted at the 1973 Frankfurt Motor Show. Porsche is celebrating 40 years of the legendary 911 Turbo with a retrospective of the model’s history throughout its six generations.
This first-ever 911 Turbo featured a 260 horsepower, turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six that propelled the car to a top speed of 160 mph, big numbers in its day. In 1978, the engine increased in size to 3.3-liters and added an intercooler to the turbo system for even better performance. This first-generation car lasted until 1989 and was one of the most in-demand performance cars of its time.
The second-generation 911 Turbo more refined than the first thanks to better aerodynamics and power steering, but did not give up any ground in terms of performance. Initially offered with a version of the 3.3-liter turbo flat-six from the previous model that now produced 315 hp, the 1994 model saw a newer 3.6-liter turbo six that increased power to 355 hp. This generation was the last of the single turbo, rear-wheel-drive models, as the 993 successor changed the 911 Turbo template significantly.
In 1995, the all-new 911 Turbo was a major evolution from the previous model, with twin-turbochargers for the 3.6-liter engine and standard all-wheel-drive. This brought the car up to 408 horsepower and gave the flagship 911 model even more blistering performance. This was also the last of the air-cooled 911 models.
The 996 generation of the Porsche 911 was the biggest mechanical departure since the car’s debut with its water-cooled engine. The Turbo version of this model featured an all-new engine that made 420 hp and got the 911 Turbo to a top speed of just under 200 mph. An available power package increased performance even more, with 30 more horsepower and a 0-60 mph time of under 4 seconds. This was also the first 911 Turbo model offered with an optional automatic transmission.
Although it was more evolution than revolution for this iteration of the 911 Turbo, the 997 model did introduce a new turbo overboost feature that allowed for increased torque of up to 500 lb-ft for a brief amount of time. A 2010 update of this 911 Turbo introduced a new 3.8-liter engine, which bumped power to 500 horsepower and mated with Porsche’s all new PDK dual-clutch gearbox. A Turbo S version had 30 more horsepower—more than twice the amount of the first 911 Turbo—and got from 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds.
This latest 911 Turbo and Turbo S, which we recently drove in Germany, are better than ever, with an insane amount of technology in place to put the car’s 560 hp (in Turbo S models) to the road. For the first time, there is no manual transmission available on the 911 Turbo, with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK being the only transmission option. As Jason Harper said in his first drive, The Turbo isn’t the best 911 to drive…but it is a 911 for god’s sake, and the spirit is definitely willing.”