2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Click image to enlarge

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Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

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2010 Porsche 911 Turbo

Estoril, Portugal – If Charles Darwin was formulating his theories on the evolution of species today, he could easily include a chapter or two on the Porsche 911 (flat-sixus rapidus). Porsche’s iconic sports car has been around for 46 years – an eternity in automotive terms – yet its lineage can be traced back even further to a pre-war beetle (VW) that formed the basic mechanical and stylistic template to which the 911 still adheres.

Like the platypus or Galapagos tortoise, the 911 is a bit of an, er, odd duck with its unique profile and a flat-six engine hung out perilously beyond the rear axle. Yet, through a gradual and highly focused development process, the Porsche 911 has remained at the top of the sports car food chain for over four decades.

And so we come to the alpha 2010 911 Turbo – the seventh generation of this 911 sub-species that first smoked its rear tires in 1975; not an all-new car, this is a major refresh of the 997-based Turbo that was launched in 2006.

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Click image to enlarge

The 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo goes on sale in Canada in January 2010. Pricing for the Turbo Coupe starts at $165,300 with the Turbo Cabriolet bowing at $178,400.

Visual upgrades for 2010 are subtle: new 19-inch forged Turbo II wheels (with the availability of racy centre-lock units), new LED running lights where the fog lights were, larger exhaust tips and revised tallights. The big changes, however, lie beneath the skin.

The heart of the 2010 Turbo is an all-new dry sump 3.8-litre bi-turbo direct injection flat-six that makes 500 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque (up 20 hp and 22 lb.-ft. from last year’s 3.6-litre Turbo). Direct injection allows for a substantial increase in the compression ratio from 9.0:1 to 9.8:1. That, along with a slight decrease in boost pressure makes for more linear throttle response across the rev range.

Along with the six-speed manual transmission, a seven-speed dual-clutch PDK sequential transmission is now optional, replacing the previous car’s geriatric five-speed Tiptronic S. As with all Porsche Turbos since 1995, the car is all-wheel drive.

Other developments include tweaks to the all-wheel drive and traction control systems, and an optional Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) system that applies brake intervention to the inside rear wheel when cornering to reduce understeer.

2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo. Click image to enlarge

Also new are active engine mounts that come with the Sport Chrono Package (standard kit on Canadian cars). First seen on the 2010 911 GT3, these magnetically controlled mounts reduce transmitted vibration when driving easily, but clamp down hard when the going gets more aggressive, giving the car sharper reflexes and reducing axle hop under hard acceleration.

Depending on equipment levels, the 2010 Turbo is up to 25 kg lighter and 16 per cent more fuel efficient than the outgoing model.

While these upgrades are all part of the Porsche evolutionary process, we can’t discount the fact that an interloper from the Far East, the Nissan GT-R, came to the Turbo’s natural habitat recently (the Nurburgring) and opened a small can of whoopass on the Porsche. This may have lent a certain sense of urgency to the Turbo’s modifications.

There is certainly no lack of urgency in the way the new Turbo responds to right foot flexing. Forward thrust can be best described as laughably ridiculous. The fastest way to 100 km/h is in a Coupe fitted with the PDK transmission. The Sports Chrono Package includes Launch Control and a ten second overboost function of 516 lb-ft., enabling the car to blast to the century mark in an eyeball compressing 3.4 seconds (3.5 for the Cabriolet).

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