Porsche 911 Turbo 993 1998 vs 911 Turbo S 991 2014

2014 Drive-My

Porsche 911 Turbo 993 vs 911 Turbo S 991 – turbos face-off. The 991 Turbo S is the all-conquering supercar you’ve always wanted, but is there a meaningful rival to your £150,000 already lurking in the Porsche ranks? How’s this for sheer automotive paradise? It’s just before 6am on a bright summer morning in rural Cornwall, the rich sun already bleaching out the countryside on the horizon as miles of smooth, twisty asphalt lay bare before it.

Hours before any weekday commuters are obliged to grace the public highway (the nearest city is Exeter, which doesn’t quite require the same dawn-to-dusk commitment as your coffee-dependent London elite), the roads are deserted, and so the sleepy West Country remains aurally undisturbed, save for the whoosh of two exhaust turbines and subsequent flat-six growl emitting from my Sapphire blue 991 Turbo S.

giant test-drive Porsche 911 Turbo 993 1998 vs 911 Turbo S 991 2014

The contemporary Turbo S cabin has a vast array of electrics to aid the driver, including a dynamic high beam that auto p dips for oncoming traffic at night. Less is more in the 993, with greater purposeful carbon offsetting the yellow- backed instrument panel. Note the extra pedal in the footwell over the 991.


Inside the cockpit is a rather different story. Bolted upright and alert, my two hands – each with five white knuckles – grip at opposite ends of the Sport Design wheel as my darting eyes continually seek out the farthest point possible on the road ahead. Carrying near-blistering pace, I touch the brakes and give a quick pull of the downshift paddle before seeing off a series of left-right-left twists in third gear, keeping the revs above 3,000rpm. Then, the sight of a good straight is met with a potent yet progressive squeeze of the accelerator as the tacho needle climbs and my hands bring the steering wheel attentively back to centre. Cue the sound of those two spooling exhaust turbos from behind – reminiscent of a charging Boeing 747 on take off-engulfing my ears once more as the inertia plants my chest and head back against the cushion of Porsche leather. The 991 duly continues its propulsion forwards with audacious ferocity.


Despite the early start. I’m two hours into this electrifying drive from across Dorset’s Jurassic coast, and my brain shows no signs of tiring as I steer the relentless Turbo S towards St Mawes, a small fishing village at the nether end of Cornwall’s Roseland peninsula.

The roads arc idyllic for a spirited jaunt in a modern supercar, and the 991 Turbo S doesn’t disappoint. Just as I discovered from my trip to Paris in the lesser-powered 991 Turbo in issue 109, Porsche’s latest 911 to benefit from turbocharging makes fora simply mesmerising supercar, melding beautifully unabated, linear power with a refined luxury that safeguards its everyday usability.

Of course, in Turbo S form I now have some exciting additions to my Porsche armoury, including 40 more horsepower, ceramic composite brakes and Dynamic Chassis Control.

As if the 520hp from the 991 Turbo wasn’t enough, the increased power in Turbo S specification brings the figure to a heady 560hp, which contributes towards the scrubbing of three tenths of a second from the Turbo’s already impressive 3.4-sccond 0-62mph time. Top-end speed is also enhanced thanks in part to the additional power, with the Turbo S capable of reaching 197mph, surpassing the 991 Turbo’s 195mph max-out. In real-world terms, the Turbo S is devilishly quick on the road, although you won’t physically notice too much difference in pulling power until pitted against a 991 Turbo in a drag duel.

A marked difference is present in its braking though, where those high-brow ‘Big Yellow’ aluminium monoblock calipers (six-piston at each end of the front axle, four-piston at the back) bite the pads against gargantuan ceramic disks measuring 410mm up front and 390mm at the rear. The result means travel is eliminated at the mere hint of a push on the brake pedal, the increased friction offered by the ceramic compound disc ensuring a hard bite to eliminate speed with absurd conviction. The ceramic items on the Turbo S are also lighter than the compound items found on the Turbo, meaning unsprung mass is reduced, bettering the supercar’s handling and agility.

It’s here, in the handling and agility stakes, where the Turbo S really comes into its own. The comprehensive clamp from the PCCB will already inspire confidence in the driver under braking, but as my early morning dash through the West Country is testifying, it’s the chassis of the latest 911 supercar that’s so astonishing.

Porsche 911 Turbo 993 1998 vs 911 Turbo S 991 2014

The 993 can feel archaic next to the 991, but a 4.1-second 0-62mph sprint time is still competitive today.


Already aided by a glut of clever technologies that vastly improve handling, the addition of Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control as standard equipment helps make this 991 Turbo S chassis so astonishing. All-wheel drive with Porsche Torque Vectoring helps distribute torque more evenly across the car rear-axle steering further aids traction while boosting turn-in precision, and PDCC (working in tandem with the stiffly dampened PASM) performs miracles by helping to distribute the load on each tyre for even better traction. The result means never before have I been able to attest to having driven a road-going turbocharged car that disposes of bends with such conviction. It really does go round corners as if it were attached to rails, even with PSM switched off.

That beautifully stiff yet agile chassis can’t help but swell the confidence of the driver, and you’re invited to attack turns with an exuberance not seen before on a 911 Turbo. It’s no wonder, then, that I’m having such fun devouring the B-roads encasing the British countryside.

Unsurprisingly, given the £142,000 price tag (more with options), the 991 Turbo S fulfils every possible demand a supercar is charged with – and that could be the problem. For as long as we all dare to remember, much of the charm of a 911 can often be found in its idiosyncrasies. It’s a bizarre dictum, but it’s true: in the early days of pre-impact bumper models, the characteristic understeer when cornering meant the driver had to really bully the 911 through bends. Steering had to be positive, then jumping hard on the brakes was often necessary to tuck the front end in, before burying the accelerator to the floor, where the engine’s rear bias would ensure good traction for a neat yet rapid exit.

Drivers revelled in the thrill of hustling the 911 round circuits and on roads. Similarly, the early rear-driven Turbo with a single blower was famed for monumental lag before that almighty thrust forwards, so timing was everything when executing a hot run in a 930. Technology has slowly eradicated the need for such drama at the wheel, as motoring evolution has brought about a greater focus on the finer details in achieving the perfect drive. The new Turbo S, however, has reached a summit where it drives perfectly, albeit too easily.

In short, while it is no doubt a mesmerising car, some might find the 991 Turbo S simply too good.

My business in St Mawes is precisely linked with this axiom, and on descending onto the picturesque harbourside streets from the lofty, hilly roads above, I head for the Hotel Tresanton to meet up with a special group of drivers attending the St Mawes Classic Car festival.

A wonderfully eclectic event held every year in the town, the festival attracts an enviable realm of vintage supercars from around the UK whose owners are treated to a week-long utopia of sightseeing and fine dining alongside owners of similar- aged metal, with the odd driving challenge thrown in for good measure. There’s a throng of delectable motoring heritage in attendance this year, including two 1957 Mercedes 300SL Roadsters, a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, a 1969 DB6 Volante and a couple of Jaguar E Types. Porsche arc also typically well represented, with two stunning 2.7 Carrera RS Tourings – one with the rarer ‘decal delete’ specification – sitting next to the very crux of my morning cross-county dash: a 993 Turbo S.

Representing the very last iteration of air-cooled flat six to leave Zuffenhausen, the 993 Turbo S is also the last hand-built Porsche supercar, its 450hp considered intergalactic upon release in 1998 and still innately quick by today’s standards. That mighty powerplant and extremely luxurious specification guarantees the 993 Turbo S as a Porsche favourite, and its provenance has seen values soar: just 345 models left the factory, with only 23 in right-hand drive – most of which were destined for the UK. In the current market, the price for such Porsche prestige is high – if you can get your hands on one. Examples have been trading at around £150,000 this year, although owner Anthony Pozner values this 66,000-mile right- hand-drive example a little higher.

That brackets the appreciating 993 Turbo S with the corresponding 991 variant, which poses the mouth-watering £150,000 question: into which supercar do we put our money?

The festival’s itinerary included a visit to Lanhydrock House, a stunning Victorian estate set within immaculate grounds around an hour’s drive from St Mawes. before moving on to try our hand at some driving challenges. A 35-mile journey in convoy later, the cavalry of classic cars (and my 991 Turbo S!) park at the front of the main building, and while the festival-goersare ushered off for a tour of the house and gardens, I hang back to study the contrasting curves of the 993 and 991 side by side.

Separated by 16 years of manufacturing, the 993 Turbo S looks miniature when standing next to its bullish 991 namesake. Right from the size of the headlights, front grilles and even side air intakes, it’s only in moments like this that you realise just how much the 911 has truly evolved – I even have to double-take the tyre sidewalls on the 993 to verify that my eyes are ingesting 18-inch alloys sitting inside those Speed yellow arches, as per the factory specification. The polished five-spoke Turbo Twist alloys are, of course, the OEM 18-inch items, and I stand gobsmacked at how quaint they look when in the shadow of the imposing Turbo S centre-lock wheels on the 991, which are actually just two inches bigger in diameter.

Width is also another discerning factor between the two 911s: the 991 measures 85mm wider than the squat 993 across the rear arches, though I reason that this extra space is swallowed up inside by that

Panameraesque centre console, as well as thicker-clad doors and sills.

At the back, the 993 undoubtedly has the more appealing presence, primarily due to the huge fixed rear wing (the last such device on a 911 Turbo). Hunkered close to the floor, those rear arches fall gracefully over the ten-inch wide rear wheels with a smooth decorum that the super-wide yet busy rump of the 991 Turbo just can’t match.

Inside, there is at least some degree of recognisable lineage: carbon fibre detailing in the dash and door cards comes as standard factory specification in both, although the more liberal lashings in the lighter 993 seem more purposeful than on the 1,605 kilogram 991. Both Turbos have electrically operated seats, but the 991 is infinitely more adjustable than the 993, and there’s still an option to have colour-coded seat backs, which the 993 here has exorcised.

From there, the similarities cease. The smaller cabin of the 993 feels much more involving: the five-pod instrument dials carry more intensity, laid out individually and with more exuberance across the small, unassuming dashboard, itself sitting beneath a more steeply raked windscreen.

The long screen and deep dashboard create the illusion of more space in the 991, though the reality is some of it isn’t useable. In stark contrast to the five clocks spread across the 993’s dashboard, the 991 emulates the ‘cluster’ design seen from the 996 onwards, where the five pods are squeezed tightly together to be perfectly visible to the driver within the circumference of the steering wheel.

The scats in the 991 have vast adjustment, and can sit you much closer to the floor, helping to lower the car’s centre of gravity. By contrast, the black leather items in the 993 plump you in a higher, more upright position, and despite their engulfing appearance, I’m startled to realise that although there’s typically excellent lumbar support, little is offered from the side bolsters to keep me suitably rooted in place during cornering, superseded by the fact that my shoulders don’t quite sit perfectly in the more narrow backrest.

There’s a huge console of buttons straddling the drive tunnel between the front scats in the 991, of course, putting some space between you and your passenger and housing a range of options and technological settings that weren’t even conceived during the production heyday of the 993. Sport and Sport Plus throttle and mapping settings can be selected here, PSM can be switched off, and the suspension and chassis components tweaked if necessary. Even the handbrake, mounted between the two front seals un the 993, is replaced by a ‘parking’ air lever on the 991 Compared to the 993, it’s more NASA than Porsche in the 991, and all of a sudden that 1998 year of manufacture seems like a very long time ago indeed for the air-cooled Turbo. However, Porsche was already adept at making wonderfully sorted sports cars by 1998, and the Speed yellow Turbo S proves testament to that.

After catching up with the festival group for the informative tour of the Lanhydrock estate, we take a leisurely mid-morning coffee in our sunny, opulent surroundings before returning to the cars to move on with a program containing more local visits, driving challenges and a Bonhams-judged Concours d’Elcgance for the rest of the festival.

However, my first taste at the wheel of the 993 Turbo S has arrived, a prospect I’ve been relishing since completing my cross-country blast in the new 991 earlier on.

Settling into the cockpit, start-up immediately excites the senses: a turn of the small key in the ignition lock stirs the car into life, and there’s a loud ‘whirring’ of the air-cooled flat six as it settles on tick-over at around 1000rpm.

The (compulsory) manual transmission in the 993 Turbo S provides a call to action for my left leg, which duly depresses the hanging extra pedal in the footwell. There’s plenty of travel to it, and after pushing out and left to select first gear with the gearstick, I bring the clutch pedal up and dab the gas until the clutch plates grip and the 911 begins to travel with limited drama. Heading back out fur the Cornwall countryside, I let the engine oil rise to optimum temperature before pushing on, and the 993 begins to come alive.

A diligent prod of the accelerator pedal produces a surge forwards as the fiery 450bhp engine exerts its bountiful power. There’s a slight lag-induced pause before the two turbos provide the punch at 2,500rpm, while aurally, the shrieking of the 3.6-litre engine pierces wonderfully into the thinly clad cockpit.

Although the steering feels excessively weighty at first, I push on to find it gets predictably lighter at higher speeds, with more feel from the road transcended through the wheel than the electrically assisted 991.

The 993’s six-speed manual gearbox is tight and precise, and I never struggle to select a gear – even during lightning quick downshifts before entering a corner. Better still, I revel in the freedom of hanging on to gears for longer on straights, allowing for that hard-working flat six to release its impressively linear power as the needle swings round to 6,500rpm on the tacho each time.

The chassis of the 993 is a vastly different proposition to the 991, and it takes me a while to get used to the litheness of it. There’s more body roll in the corners (though this is not to be exaggerated), and I’m acutely more aware of the load placed on each tyre too when cornering. It takes a bit of an adjustment in mind-set compared to the 991, but once you understand it, you will revel in how direct the experience is. At all times, I know exactly where the front wheels are pointed, while the heightened sensation of weight transfer can be used in my favour when pushing the 911 on.

However, such directness in the 993 docs lead to some criticism. Surprisingly for such an opulently orientated 911, ride quality on the 993 Turbo S is not too dissimilar to that of the 20-inch alloy-clad 991 with PASM enabled. Although that provides greater communication between the driver and road, the caveat is that inhabitants of the smaller 993 are permanently susceptible to the odd back-breaking crunch from a notorious pothole, while this can be switched off on the 991 at the push of a button.

Despite this, the 993 Turbo S experience is an extremely pleasant one. Power is audacious and relentless, there’s plenty being communicated from the car, and that wondrously mechanical sound of a Porsche flat six still prevails over those turbochargers. Most importantly, giver, the price tag, I feel like I’m piloting a special 911.

Throughout the rest of the festival, I’m given ample opportunities to pilot the 993 alongside my 991 Turbo S, and each time I find myself swaying between which generation of Turbo S prefer.

My early morning blast to the festival in the 991 pinpointed early on a selection of traits that I’d come to relish, won over by its all-conquering chassis. Then there’s the power: its peak is delivered across an enviously wide band, though the kick from the turbos is perhaps most evident after 2,500rpm. There’s next to no lag present when planting the chunky floor-mounted accelerator pedal, and the sensations of spooling turbos and dramatically dumped air from the wastegates make for addictive aural stimulation that masks the traditionally quiet turbocharged Porsche engine.

What’s more, the 991 boasts genuine day-to-day usability, despite its size and power. Razor-sharp PDK gives me sensationally quick gear changes in Sport mode, and then serves to take the tedious work away from restraining the 911 about town (as proven on the narrow and slow-moving roads around St Mawes harbour for the cavalcade). On the motorway, I’m encouraged to find tyre noise is surprisingly subdued considering the huge 11.5-inch wide wheels tracking the car at the rear, and wind noise from inside the cabin is amicable, too.

Electric steering in the 991 docs not prove to be problematic compared to the 993, in contrast to my previous reservations. Sure, the direct feel between the road and your palms is lost, but I always know where the front wheels arc, and I am not found wanting. Removing the vibrations through the steering wheel adds to the opulence of the more polished 991 Turbo S, and my only critique is that I’d like a little more resistance felt from the steering at higher speeds, if only to add to the theatre of it all.

As for the 993 Turbo S, I find it a little more shaky at first, though I delight in the raw feel from the steering when pushing on and am continually amazed at just how well the Turbo S picks up speed, spirited by the whirring of the air-cooled engine working hard behind me. It’s also far easier to unstick the 993 than the 991, though as values of the air-cooled Turbo keep climbing, you’d be an incredibly brave driver to attempt it right now.

Come the end of the week-long festival, I’m left to reflect on my thoughts regarding these two peerless Porsche 911 Turbos. Although they share a name, they’re vastly different from one another – and yet there’s no doubting that I’ve been wooed by them both.

If you re after a slice of sheer automotive perfection, you need the 991 Turbo S. It’s seriously quick and almost perfectly agile, but comes with the compromise of lacking mechanical feel. On the other hand, what the 993 lacks in technological intelligence it more than makes up for through its sheer purity. It’s more of a challenge to drive fast, representing a driving nirvana – and with it, a slice of history – that the 991 Turbo S won’t ever be able to transcend.


Driving challenges

Forming a part of the St Mawes Classic Car Festival, a series of driving challenges are devised, with a variety of cones spread out over a large surface area measuring 500 metres in length. The ‘sprints’ are designed to replicate a hillclimb course, with up to ten turns incorporated into each timed run.

Porsche 911 Turbo 993 1998 vs 911 Turbo S 991 2014 - Driving challenges

Every car was invited to try the driving challenge, with one practice and one timed run each. The course involved negotiating a slalom first, before a 200-metre dash to the bottom where a 180-degree U’ turn awaited. From there, a sprint back up the runway was needed, before a quick veer right to round another cone, darting sharp left to complete the last slalom preceding a short burst to the finish. Participants had to stop with their back axle on the finishing line.

As for our Turbo S showdown, the 993 enjoyed the boost from its turbochargers at the far end perhaps making up time lost in the slalom against the more nimble Porsche 911 2.7 RS. With no traction or launch control. I relied on high revs in the 993 before dumping the clutch for a rapid standing start. Where larger classics at the festival struggled to make the ’U’ turn in one attempt, the 993’s comparatively short wheelbase came in handy, swooping around the end cone in one turn before darting back to tackle the slalom. Four-wheel drive meant the 993 stayed glued to the floor, its wider track helping to spread weight more evenly, boosting traction on the way to a respectable finishing time of 39 seconds.

Meanwhile, the 991 made light work of the entire course – all I had to do was press two pedals and hold onto the steering wheel. Deploying launch control, I turned PSM off and selected Sport Plus before resting my foot on the brake and flooring the accelerator. The digital fourth pod on the dash display told me Launch Control had been selected, leaving me to simply take my foot off the brake pedal for launch.

What surprised was the lack of commotion: the 991 sprang forward with little tyre squeal. Shoved back in my seat, the 1.605 kilogram supercar picked up speed at an audacious rate, the only real effort coming from keeping the front wheels pointing forward. Despite its 2,450mm wheelbase, rear axle steering easily disposed of the slalom, despite the close proximity of the cones. I didn’t even have to let go of the steering wheel to change gears, as the Sport Plus program gave me a lightning-quick gear change once it hit 7,000rpm each time. Approaching the end of the sprint. I left my foot on the gas for much longer than in the 993, before hitting the brakes and letting the calipers bite hard onto the ceramic composite discs, halting the car with the same minimal drama that I’d enjoyed in getting away from the start line

All too easy? A time of 34.5 seconds suggests so, but there’s still lots for the driver to get right, and controlling a car at that speed provides a sensation I just couldn’t match in the earlier 993 Turbo S.

 Porsche 911 993 Turbo S


Porsche 911 991 Turbo S











Compression ratio


450hp @ 5.750rpm

Maximum power

560hp @ 6.500-6.750rpm

585Nm @ 4.500rpm

Maximum torque

700Nm @ 2.100-4.250rpm

Six-speed manual


Seven-speed PDK




Lowe’ wishbones and MacPherson struts with combined coil springs and dampers: antiroll bar


MacPherson strut with wheels independently suspended by transverse links: cylindrical coil springs v/ith internal dampers

Multi-link with parallel wishbones: combined coil springs and dampers: antirall bar


Multi-link suspension with v/heels independently suspended on five links: cylindrical coil springs with internal dampers: active rear- v/heel steering


Wheels & tyres


8xl8-inch polished Turbo twist alloys: 225/40/ZR18 Continental tyres


9×20-inch Turbo S forged alloy wheels, 245/35/ZR20 Michelin tyres

10xl8-inch polished Turbo twist alloys: 285/30/ZR18 Continental tyres


11.5×20-inch Turbo S forged alloy wheels. 305/35/ZR20 Michelin tyres
















4.1 secs


3.1 secs


Top speed



Thanks to Anthony Poznerof Hendon Way Motors for use of his 993 Turbo S which is currently for sale. For more information call 020 8202 8011.

Thanks also to Amelia. Tim. Roger and all at the St Mawes Classic (Jar festival tor a superb event among the idyllic Cornwall countryside.

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