Fast. Really fast. Expensive. Really expensive.
Nobody ever got out of a Porsche 911 Turbo S and said “well, it needs a bit more power.” Ever. That’d be like saying that Neil Armstrong needed a bit more brave. However, quite a lot of people have looked at a modern 911 and said “it just doesn’t look special enough.”
You can see where they’re coming from. To these eyes, at least, the 991 generation of the Porsche 911 has a quiet, classic beauty that’s no less potent in its desirability than the wonderful extravagance of a McLaren or Lamborghini. But certainly, the 911 has less visual impact.
Step forward Porsche Exclusive. A branch of Porsche with its very own manufacturing centre, capable of personalising your 911 to whatever degree you fancy. They’ve been around quite a while, and already have some true classics (the fantastically desirable 964 911 Turbo S, to name one of them) chalked up to their credit. But they’re upping the ante with this 991.2 generation 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series, of which only 500 examples will be made
The bonnet and roof are carbonfibre, and are painted before being painstakingly lacquered to give a completely smooth, seamless join where the paint meets those striking double stripes of bare carbonfibre. There’s copper wire in the carbonfibre interior trim, bespoke seat upholstery, laser-finished two-tone alloys… You name it, they’ve either done or can do it. Oh, and you can have a matching watch and luggage, too. Naturally.
It’s not subtle, which I guess is the point. That burnished-gold paint is unique to the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series, although you can choose from a few other select colours should you wish.
The interior is reasonably understated by comparison to the outside. There are dual stripes of contrast colour stitching in the roof lining as well as in the seat to mirror the striking exterior, but they’re not overly bright, and that copper-enhanced carbonfibre is really very gorgeous. Inside, the Exclusive Series feels decadent but also tasteful, which is a relief.
Otherwise you have much the same 911 interior that we know and love. A low seat position with plenty of adjustability, a logical dash layout mated to the touch- or rotary-controlled multimedia screen, and the excellent driver’s dials that are easy to read and show you all the info you want.
There are also two seats in the back, although even children will feel pretty uncomfortable; most 911 owners sling their bags back there and be done with it, although you do also have the boot in the nose of the car (which’ll take a couple of soft weekend bags) if you need it.
All of this bespoke paintwork, painstaking craftsmanship and the extra power comes at a price, mind – a bit under £190k, in fact. That’s some £40k more than a standard 911 Turbo S.
How does it drive?
It’s fast. Fast, fast, fast. Although peak torque output – and actually the 0-62mph time and top speed – remain the same as the standard Porsche 911 Turbo S, the Exclusive Series streams 553lb ft of torque all of the time, where the ‘ordinary’ (anything but, really) Turbo S only streams that level of torque for 10sec at a time when you hit the boost button.
Now, I’ll be honest – I drove the Exclusive Series in Germany on ordinary roads, and if I were to have tested its limits then I’d have had to file this review only after I’d been bailed. So, does it feel noticeably different to the standard Turbo S on the road? No. I doubt it would feel different unless you drove them back-to-back on track, which very, very few Exclusive Series owners are likely to do. When it comes to this – the most expensive 911 going – think Saint Tropez rather than Silverstone.
The blunt truth is that it feels just like the, er, non-Exclusive 911 Turbo S. Which is – just to reiterate this – really, really fast. Of course you have the Normal, Sport and Sport Plus mode, adaptive dampers, active anti-roll bars, rear-biased active four-wheel drive, active aerodynamics, four-wheel steer… The list goes on.
The 911 Turbo S is nothing if not a technical extravaganza, but what the full force of the Stuttgart wizardy gets you is a car that is nibbling at hypercar fast, but that is also effortless to use every day.
Ask the 3.8 twin-turbo straight-six for everything and the Turbo S doesn’t accelerate so much as detonate, but treat it moderately and the seven-speed PDK ‘box slicks through gearchanges, and you get smooth acceleration that’s easy to predict even in seven-tenths use. The refinement is great in Normal mode, although the boomy exhaust noise can get a bit wearing in the rortier settings, and ride comfort – while firm – is never jarring.
That steering is oily-smooth and full of satisfaction, although there is a whiff of the artificial to it when it weights up quite noticeably in Sport Plus. Regardless, it’s a joy to use and it lets you make the most of the Turbo’s very neutral handling.
Even with four-wheel drive and an engine slung over the back wheels, it doesn’t understeer very much at all. That nose sticks doggedly to your line unless you really do push it beyond all reasonable sanity for road use, when the vast, standard carbon-ceramic brakes will most likely get you out of a sticky spot.
It’s an astonishing thing, the Turbo S. Rabidly powerful, yet utterly at ease just about everywhere. Very few cars, if any, can genuinely claim a similar breadth of ability.
Should I buy one?
Well, as we’ve made clear, the Porsche 911 Turbo S is an awe-inspiring thing. It’s not the sharpest or most tactile supercar to drive, but it is an utter marvel by any standard, and its ease of use is second to none at this level of performance.
It’s also worth pointing out that, if you are really thinking of buying the Exclusive Series Turbo S, you’ve probably already got a nice portfolio of exotica tucked away in a de-humidified lock-up somewhere. We know that you’re unlikely to care that it’s not really the best supercar you can buy for £180k, because you’re probably gambling that it’ll go up in value.
But we’re here to review cars, not to speculate on them as financial assets, and ultimately a McLaren 570S handles with more flair and still delivers more visual drama. Or, perhaps Sir would consider an Audi R8 Plus and £50k change? Put it like that, and the Turbo S could have its carbonfibre hand-woven by fairies and lacquered with unicorn poo, and it would still be a tricky one to justify. Spectacular it most certainly is, but should you buy one? Probably not.
Gallery: 2017 Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series
Porsche 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series