Who exactly drives a standard Porsche 911 Turbo S and thinks “it needs more power?”
Excellent question. Best fuel drag racers? Astronauts maybe? The spectacular Turbo S leaves the factory with 641 hp, 590 lb-ft and is capable of burning from 0 to 62 mph in under 2.7 seconds. You don’t drive it. You hang on for dear life.
It’s, by all accounts, an incredibly fast car – delivering true hypercar performance in a machine that’s comfortable on the highway, can accommodate a family of four, and doesn’t dislocate the owner’s hip like the cork of a bottle every time he lowers himself into that.
And yet… here we are with a tuned one.
Let’s try not to get too bogged down in “who exactly needs a faster 911″ because the fact is that all supercars defy logic if you look at them long enough, and a lot of human achievement can be attributed to a ” what if…” attitude. ‘How about we go to the moon?’ “What if diseases could be cured?
This car answers the question “what if a 911 Turbo had nearly eight hundred horsepower?”
How did he come to wield so many boooooooooooost?
Thanks to a visit to one of Britain’s top training camps: Litchfield Motors in Gloucestershire. Iain Litchfield’s eponymous company is most closely associated with bonkers Nissan GT-Rs, but these days it’s also doing a serious line in upgraded BMW M cars (thumping M2s litter the customer parking lot the day we visited) and Iain loves working on Porsches, because of the quality of the components and their over-engineering. A good omen to turn the wick.
He’d been scratching out in this 992 Turbo S for a few months, tweaking, fiddling and tweaking. It was purchased by the company specifically to investigate how they should go about making a Turbo even faster. Meanwhile, his wife drives a Carrera 992 daily, which was pushed with Litchfield’s stick until it developed over 500 horsepower. Obviously.
I assume there’s a mechanical mayhem menu?
Correct. Litchfield will give you smooth relief with a simple ECU reflash that instantly elevates the completely standard engine to a dizzying 730bhp.
It’s crackers, right? A different sequence of zeros and ones unlocks more poke than a McLaren 720S from Porsche’s twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat-six. And the transmission can handle it. Obviously, your Porsche dealer’s warranty is gone, but Litchfield’s packages are backed by three years of peace of mind.
I want more.
Then upgrade to the Stage 2 pack, with a smoother exhaust and performance air filters. Now you’re talking about 770 hp. Torque also climbs to 660 lb-ft.
This particular 992 Turbo has actually been detuned a bit from its original 820bhp, thanks to new F1-grade Inconel exhaust manifolds which also save 8kg. When Iain himself went to get the car to find out exactly how fast it would go, the 911 was running in first and second gear, and always ran a 9.7 second quarter mile with standard tires. No sticky drag spec rubber here.
So there are different tuning combinations to choose from?
That’s right. If you just want a throatier sound from your 911 and a mere 25bhp boost, you can just have the titanium exhaust for around £3,594. Add the Stage 2 kit according to this particular car and that’s around £4,800 worth of work. You now have a car that will demolish a McLaren 765LT for less than half the price.
And what does it do?
Docile. Normal. Standard. When you’re not going fast. And I promise you this is the most impressive part of this mod. How you just forget about the volcano stuck in its bottom when you walk around town, or park, or crawl through stop-start traffic.
Left in Normal mode, the exhaust isn’t loud, throttle response is perfectly manageable, and there’s no sense you’re in a car that could speed a fighter jet out of an aircraft carrier.
Lots of people can run cars really fast. But it’s an art to make very fast cars behave when they’re going slow, too. Litchfield has succeeded so professionally that you wonder if Porsche is actually a little wimpy. Why is not it the 992 gets 770 hp from the factory?
I guess because a 911 Turbo is meant to be the polished, laid-back face of supercars. Owners might find it a bit shocking to see wheelspin on their all-wheel-drive business jet. I certainly did.
Even though torque is (noticeably) controlled in first and second gear, the Litchfield Turbo S scrabbles and rips for grip on dry road. In third, he gives you plenty of berries and mercilessly devours the whole road. I’d love to tell you how the digital speedometer churns the numbers to bits and how the rev needle probably fast-forwards above 4000rpm, but I don’t think I dared look at the clocks one times. The tachometer could just as well be replaced by a display that simply says “BRAKE!”
You’ve got your eyes glued to the turns and bumps 800 meters away, wondering how much effort – or brakes – they’ll need. Because they happen very, very quickly, like one of those time-lapse montages of a dash cam. It’s sensational. You laugh out loud – but only after you’ve taken off and the blood is rushing to your head.
Is it a more fun way to go really fast than an electric vehicle?
I have no doubt that a Taycan Turbo S offers even more sickening urgency. But I love that the Litcho Turbo can still surprise you. Although they’ve worked hard on the handling, the 992 Turbo’s latent lag is still there, and something to appreciate – it quickens the anticipation of when the boost hits.
If you’re in the wrong gear or don’t flatten the throttle completely, you won’t get the full hit. So it still requires a bit of concentration – and bravery – on the part of the driver. Electric vehicles do not.
And you get some interesting noises. More screeching and fizzing from the swallowed twin turbos, and a more serious flat-six crackle from the titanium exhaust. It’s not a neck-stinging sound, but it celebrates turbocharging. You can hear what you pay for.
Does the package totally transform the car?
No – it leaves everything we love about the current Turbo S intact and just makes it stupidly fast. Fast hypercar. Carbon-ceramic brakes stay up to speed to slow the entire runaway train. Out of corners, it has more rear-end agility than the old 911 Turbos – it’s a little livelier under you.
To take these photos, we had to do a lot of three-point turns. Accelerate, pass the camera, brake, turn, reverse. Unfriendly mileage for a very tight transmission or a fragile transmission. But the 911 never growled or stuttered.
Settle into a cruise and that’s perfectly normal. I used coffee machines which were more intimidating and delicate. But the third gear will wake you up more than the blackest espresso you can imagine.
I also like that it looks totally standard. No tasteless aftermarket wheels, extra fins or raw cooling. He has absolutely nothing to prove.
One last thing: why is it red with brown leather and blue stitching?
Because under a very clever spray on-‘wrap’ that can be peeled off when you’re fed up, it’s actually a black 911 Turbo S. And if it’s not to your liking, don’t worry, it’s already sold. Someone heard about the Litchfield ultra-Turbo, called it up and bought it right away. I doubt he will be the last.
Photography: Rowan Horncastle