Hearing the name conjures up auditory sensations of a guttural yet twangy engine note, with a splash of turbo hiss. This description may sound more like a fine dining experience than a gasoline burning vehicle, but there is no doubt that the 911 Turbo is Porsche’s silver platter offering for hungry enthusiasts. But as we revel in our own silver 997 rendition, questions of the forced induction prototype’s origins and intentions seem to still feel left unanswered. And if your current knowledge of this exotic car isn’t enough, enriching your understanding of its history makes it an even more perfect sports car rental for your next getaway or driving experience.
Porsche started testing turbocharging technology in the 1960’s for racing purposes and experimented with forced induction in its 911 series in the early 1970’s. A perfect answer to homologation regulations, the 911 Turbo was Porsche’s opportuniy to reiterate how serious the brand took motor sports, and their drive to provide the racing experience to enthusiasts and moneyed consumers. The homologation regulations behind the 911 Turbo’s coming-to-be would prove unnecessary, but there were a few other standards to surpass, a few of those being Ferrari and Lamborghini; the 911 Turbo would be Porsche’s perfect competitor.
Debuted in 1974 at the Paris Auto Show and first exported to the U.S. in 1976, the Porsche 930 (“nine-thirty”), or Turbo Carrera as it was first dubbed in the U.S., was the very first version of this finely-tuned and ferocious 911. A widened wheelbase, “whale-tail” spoiler and optional “Flachbau” (“slantnose”) design scheme represented the Turbo Carrera’s departure from lesser 911 offerings. Over the 930’s lifespan, which was 1975 to 1989, power ranged from 3.0 to 3.3 liters and were rated at 260 to 330 horsepower. These cars were fast, but don’t think our Porsche Turbo rental’s widened power range has always been true. The original Turbo Carrera suffered from extreme turbo lag, forcing spirited drivers to keep the car at high revs or risk teetering on a literal slippery slope of burnouts and unwanted drifting. With a sprint to 60 taking only about 5 seconds in the 260hp 1975 model, we can see that the 911 Turbo has always produced supercar figures; the last 930 producing 330hp achieved a 4.6 second 0-60.
As time went on, we would see the much more powerful and exclusive 911 Turbos produced. The successor to the 930, the 964 Turbo, first used the same 3.3 liter flat 6 from the original, but this was soon altered to 3.6 liter and 3.8 liter variations among a few highly exclusive variants, one of which being the 360 horsepower 3.6 Turbo that is commonly thought of as the most sought after Porsches produced since the exotic 959. Next up to grab the torch was the 993 Turbo which started selling in 1995 with a bevy of new technologies. These technologies made this generation one of the most accomplished, with the 993 Turbo rated as the fastest production car when it was produced and one of the cleanest sports cars. The next 911 Turbo, debuted n 2000, would carry over no aesthetic features from previous models, a first for the 911 Turbo. It featured all-wheel drive and was capable of over 400 horsepower, good for a 0-60 around 4 seconds.
Our 997 turbo would be next and debuted in 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show. A mixture of 3.8 liters, 470 horsepower, a 6-speed manual and state-of-the-art technology makes it the absolute best road 911 to date. When you get the chance to indulge in a Porsche rental or exotic auto timeshare, set your lead foot free on this one. All-wheel-drive will keep tire chirps to a minimum but won’t keep this beast from reaching nearly 200 mph, a feat we don’t fully endorse proving in our turbo treasure. Ergonomics are excellent and looks are truly stunning, making you comfortable, powerful and looking damn good. And although the newest 911, the 991, has hit the streets, our Turbo continues to be the standard-bearer in Porsche performance. So, now that your knowledge of Porsche’s 911 Turbo is a bit more well-rounded, we encourage you to grab our keys and experience how one of the most coveted sports cars from one of the most desirable automotive brands has evolved into the gold standard.