Yep, we just grabbed a Porsche 911 Turbo S by the scruff of the neck and thrashed it down the third runway at Sydney Airport.
A Boeing taking off on one side and Sydney’s CBD on the other is not the place you typically expect to watch the digital speedo of a car flash up 301km/h.
But these aren’t normal times. And my ride for the day is anything but ordinary: a Porsche 911 Turbo S in the latest generation 992 guise. I’m at Sydney Airport on runway 16L/34R, better known as the third runway.
Jutting out into Botany Bay, the 2.4-kilometre stretch of bitumen is usually home to hundreds of passenger jets a day, but COVID-19 has temporarily destroyed the travel industry, in turn leaving the runway largely unused. Porsche saw a rare opportunity in the gloom of 2020: utilise the runway to launch the fastest 911 ever created.
Porsche produces 20-plus variants of the 911, and in terms of potent acceleration the Turbo S is at the top of the tree. The claimed 0-100km/h time of the 992 is 2.7 seconds. Independent testing has shown that number to be conservative.
As I dial up the launch control and release the brake it’s a near-instant mass of G-forces, noise, forward thrust and the most potent acceleration most are likely to have experienced in a car.
The initial hit and take off is ferocious. The Turbo S sends its 478kW and 800Nm to all four wheels, but even then the Pirelli P Zeros temporarily break traction, the 315mm-wide rear tyres seriously challenged as the broad rump squats and launches.
Producing all that grunt is a 3.7-litre twin-turbo horizontally-opposed six-cylinder hanging out behind the rear wheels. There are more powerful cars around, but arguably none utilise it as efficiently and effectively as the 911 Turbo S when taking off from a standstill.
The forces are so significant it temporarily affects your vision, some extra brain power required to focus on the task at hand.
In a little over two seconds I’m into triple figures. The dash to 200km/h is almost as remarkable, the Turbo S building pace with enough force to keep you welded to the seat. It takes 6.2 seconds for the pinnacle of the 911 lineup to get from 100km/h to 200km/h.
Above 250km/h acceleration is a lot less vicious but no less impressive, the numbers still heading up in big chunks. The rush of wind and roar of the tyres across the heavily grooved runway surface make for one heck of a din. The sheer amount of wind the car is having to shift to continue its journey is enormous.
From the start of my blast you couldn’t see the end of the runway, but travelling at 80 metres a second it’s rushing up fast.
I see the speedo tickle over 300km/h – still well shy of the claimed 330km/h top speed – and launch on the brakes. Giant carbon ceramic discs do their job beautifully and all those G forces are now heading in the other direction. The 911 Turbo S is remarkably at home at big speeds and remains impressively planted.
Yet the slow drive back along a taxiway is a reminder of how accomplished it is as an everyday cruiser. It’s relaxed and comfortable, the cabin impressively spacious for a car with supercar performance.
At $473,500 plus on-road costs the 992 911 Turbo S isn’t cheap. But nothing else on the road gives the same ballistic thrill of a take-off.
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