2002 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 twin turbo, modded to 610 HP from North America
Insane acceleration, unique driving style... but not for everyone
Nothing of any consequence has gone wrong (yet). The car was a concours garage queen its whole life (until I bought it) - and it shows.
The only problems are that the driver's side seat warmer is nonfunctional, and in my pre-purchase inspection, the only potential "future issue" that was found was a few small cracks that were starting to appear on a few of the ignition coils.
Other than that she's a beaut. The only concern which I'll likely have to address at some point is upgrading the stock clutch, which is a tad light for the upgraded powertrain.
First of all, this isn't a stock Turbo.
The previous owner spent the better part of $30K upgrading the car with a variety of tasteful, professional upgrades, the most major of which are:
* GMG Racing's Stage 2+ engine package. This includes larger KKK turbos, GT2 intercoolers, GIAC flash (ecu), larger throttle plenum & a REVO intake.
* H&R racing suspension (which lowers the car by about an inch, but the lowered stance is just a by-product)
* Tubi exhaust (sounds MEAN)
And a few other goodies... but you'd never know it until you start to really hammer it. The only giveaway is the slightly lowered stance... and the meaner sounding engine.
The result is that, basically, it's now the equivalent to an X50 (or Turbo S) around town, but with better handling and a fair bit more power (almost 200+ HP gain) under boost.
Anyway - let's talk about the driving experience and how it performs.
Coming from my previous car (2002 BMW M3), I am continually amazed at how much FASTER the Porsche feels in terms of acceleration.
The M3 was certainly fast, but with its high-revving engine you had to "wind it up".
With the Porsche, your peak torque curve starts at around 3,000 RPM and seems to sink you in your seat all the way to the 6500 redline.
(And when we're talking about 610 HP on tap, it's literally an eye-blurring experience... and you need both hands on the steering wheel).
This readily-available power isn't just in the lower gears, either. Even if you throttle it in FIFTH, you'll still get thrown back in your seat. It's something that you need to experience for yourself...
There is a slight turbo lag if you simply mash the gas pedal, but if you're keeping the throttle slightly engaged beforehand ("alert mode") at anywhere below 4000 RPM, you can tap your toe and the turbos come on STRONG with virtually zero lag.
It's definitely a different driving style with a turbocharged engine. Both have their benefits, but this car in particular is simply mind-blowing when those two chargers spool up...
This is hands-down the fastest car I have ever driven, and I've driven most of the exotic brands.
I was initially wary of the Porsche's inherent rear-engine physics "challenges" before I bought it, and for the first few days of ownership.
And you CAN definitely feel the weight over the rear wheels - especially when you're adjusting the car mid-corner.
What I can say now, after a few months of driving is that with the 996 Turbo, you'd have to REALLY push the envelope to get into trouble. In other words, unless you're driving like a complete arse - you'll be just fine.
This car is built for a different kind of handling, and therefore treatment.
It has a very sharp turn-in at nearly any speed, and the AWD keeps you firmly planted, to the point of sheer disbelief as you begin to learn the car's limits. (Or seeming lack thereof).
And once you learn to corner it properly (slow in, fast out, proper apex), the feeling is far more exhilarating than handling in a car that's prone to oversteer or drifting... such as an M3.
That said... this is a car where if you DO surpass its limits - you're in trouble. And fast.
I've already had the Porsche's nanny-mode save my ass a few times where I've entered a corner (way) too fast - and each time I felt like the car was on the verge of swinging out entirely.
But like I mentioned above - once you adapt to the driving style, you can actually corner a LOT faster and with far more stability.
There's still something a little un-nerving about it, though. The car is deceivingly capable, because it tempts you to push it harder and faster into corners.
Just don't go past the point of no return.
SUMMARY & FINAL COMMENTS:
I personally feel that the 996 Turbo is currently the biggest bang for buck in the exotic car realm.
This car is on par with its respective Italian competitors, and it blows everything else in the "sports car" world out of the water completely - ESPECIALLY in terms of longevity, ownership cost and reliability.
The feeling of speed is truly awesome.
One thing about the Porsche though is that it's all about function over form.
The exhaust note is certainly "mean", but it's not particularly inspiring like my old M3, or the F430 I drove for a couple days.
This is a raw sports car that involves the driver like no other marque in the exotic realm.
I'm not sure if it's the "pinnacle" of the driving experience... but it's definitely a unique and memorable one.
Everyone in a position to do so should own a 911 Turbo at least once. Because for the things it does well (acceleration and "apex" cornering), there's truly no substitute.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th February, 2010
8th Feb 2010, 19:19
Now, that was a great review!
I have a co-worker who is a Porsche fan, and lately I've been thinking about the possibility of getting a Carrera 2 sometime in the future.
This review has certainly given me more insight about the driving the Turbo.
10th Feb 2010, 09:54
I will add a Viper is even more of an raw driving rush after driving a 930 modified Turbo Carrera as well.
13th Mar 2010, 19:07
I am the person who posted this review originally, and need to update the current maintenance status...
I recently had an electrical issue with the VarioCam system in the Turbo due to a faulty solenoid that controls the exhaust valve on Cyl #2.
This required an engine-out repair that, with costs and labour, came to around $5,000.00.
There is no known "reason" why this part failed, aside from the typical culprits when it comes to electrical failure (which is basically just a toss of the dice).
I still love the car and can't wait to get it out of the shop and back on the road...
But make no mistake - it's still a supercar. And one needs to be prepared to maintain a car of this calibre.
(ie. Don't buy one if you can't afford to own it)