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Porsche 911 Turbo - 2007 model model

Broadcast date : 28th January 2007

This is quite possibly the best car in the world. Ever.

It seems strange to think that all this splendour evolved from the humble Volkswagen Beetle. And if you want to upset a Porsche owner, call his car a Beetle and see how he Ė or she - reacts.

And yet when Ferdinand Porscheís son Ferry designed the very first car to bear the Porsche name back in 1948, it was very much a modified Beetle.

While this car, the latest generation 911 Turbo, is light years beyond the boxer-engined peopleís car designed by Posche in the 1930s, it does have some things in common with the first Volksie.

Its engine still uses the boxer layout, but thatís not the point. What the Porsche still retains is an essence, a purity of design that made the Beetle the most long-lived and popular car ever. Despite its sophistication, everything in the Porsche Turbo has a purpose.

The boxer engine, with its horizontally-opposed cylinder layout has, quite logically, been given a power boost for this 997 series Turbo generation. But what a boost that is!

Power has jumped quite radically from 309 kiloWatts to a romping stomping 353 kiloWatts, while torque is up to 620 Newton metres.

All the detail-work carried out by Porsche on each ensuing-generation engine is too detailed to mention in a book, let alone a television programme.

But at the heart of the beast is a pair of new variable-turbine VTG turbochargers, which feature electrical control to vary angle at which the exhaust driving gas and the intake charge passes over the impellor blades.

At high engine speed the air-to-blade angle is wide for high flow, at lower revs the angle is narrower to maximise turbo spool-up.

The result is a nearly flat torque curve from 2000 to 5000 rpm, and this translates, according to Car Magazine, to a flat 4.0 second 0-100, and a top speed approaching 310 km/h.

Our test car had a black interior with superb panel fit, the requisite fine-stitching on the leather-work, and chunks of solid bright metal to lighten up the whole effect.

The trad-911 superimposed instrument dial design is still there, with the new addition of a stopwatch, and typically of Porsche, itís the rev counter that is dead ahead of the driver.

Creature cosseting includes memory electrical adjustment for the seats, active controls on the steering wheel, a thirteen-speaker Bose sound system, and the option of park-distance control at the rear.

The only part that slightly disappointed us was our test carís Tiptronic gearbox.

Donít get us wrong, it worked beautifully, but it lacked reaction to throttle inputs at the pull-away, and really, for such a dynamic car, the six-speed manual Ďbox is what is really needed.

Once it happens, of course, you are into another dimension. That flat-six-cylinder bark can only come from a Porsche, and only in a Porsche do you get instantly identifiable supercar street cred, combined with such solid engineering that you can drive this car every day for the next two decades.

And race it on weekends, if you feel so moved.

Okay, Porsche spotters, check out all the new ducting, bigger vents, and those optional carbon brakes to identify this as the latest, and greatest 911 Turbo.

And from the front, the return to round headlamps for the 997 series generation of the 911.

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