Right between the Jose Canseco poster and Samantha Fox calendar (look her up, kids) in my circa-1988 middle-school bedroom, there was a framed picture of a white Porsche 911 Turbo. (You know, the one with the gigantic whale tale?) Not as artfully streamlined as a Ferrari Testarossa or as outrageously angular as a Lamborghini Countach, the 911 was the geeky kid's dream car—kinda awkward looking, insanely efficient, and deadly fast. Even back then, the 6-cylinder German dominated the flashy Italians; a 1987 911 Turbo went 0-60 in a then unheard of 4.7 seconds to the Lambo's 5.1. (Remember, these were the days when an Accord took like 15 seconds to hit that mark, not 5.5 like today.) Fast forward to the present, and I've actually been able to drive many dream cars for work. But, through some cruel twist of fate, I had never been behind the wheel of a Porsche. Well, that’s not the case anymore. Here are five things I learned my first time driving the marquee German sports car—a brand-new 911 Turbo S. Achtung, baby!
1. Believe the hype.
Almost every auto journalist I've ever encountered will immediately say, "The 911, duh," when asked about their No. 1-favorite car to drive. They claim the combination of power, balance, engineering, road feel, and luxury are unparalleled, and after spending a weekend with one, I have to agree. While I wasn't able to get the 911 on a track, unfortunately, you can bet I squeezed as much joy out of the off- and on- ramps of the Garden State Parkway as possible. No matter how fast I was going (which was fast) or how sharply I was turning (which was sharp), the car felt as steady as a rock. (Not The Rock, mind you, though he seems like a pretty steady fellow.) The steering wheel feels like an extension of your arms, and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) prevents any unwanted roll, especially in sport-plus mode. At lower speeds, the 911 employs four-wheel steering, which keeps the 3588-lb car feeling much lighter than that. And the acceleration? Thanks to the 560 horsepower twin-turbocharged flat-6, 60mph arrives from a standstill in—hold on to your laptop or mobile device—a mere 2.6 seconds. Yeah, I think my picture is on the walls of several New Jersey toll booths.
2. People will treat you with respect.
As someone who has been lucky enough to get behind the wheel of ultra-high-end cars like the Rolls Royce Wraith and Bugatti Veyron, I can assure you that folks assume you are an asshole if you are in anything that costs over $100,000. They'll cut you off, not let you merge and, in general, treat you like a rich, sticking pile of garbage. Not so for those piloting an almost $200K 911 Turbo S. While the design is striking, it's also understated; the body has had the same teardrop look since the model debuted in 1963. Other motorists might not even notice you, but those who do will respect the choice you made. You're not driving an obnoxious, tangerine-orange Lamborghini; you're rational enough to have spent your hard-earned cash in a totally responsible irresponsible way!
3. Don't plan on showing off the engine.
4. It could totally be your daily driver.
Don't let the ludicrous performance numbers, hyper-sensitive road feel, or race-tuned suspension fool you. Based on my time with the 911 Turbo S, it would be almost as good of a daily driver as anything else on the road. OK, so you're not going to fit your groceries in the front trunk—in fact, you'd be lucky to squeeze in a weekend bag. But when it comes to trudging along in stop-and-go traffic (the only time you'll be happy the 911 is not offered with a stick shift), not spending all your time and money at the pump (fuel economy is a very respectful 17/24mpg city/highway), and simply being comfortable driving for long periods of time (the seats provide the perfect combination of comfort and support), the 911 Turbo S has got you covered. (Not to mention it's got all the amenities you'd expect from a car this price, including a super-intuitive infotainment system…and tiny back seats for the little ones!) The car is quite low, but the front spoiler retracts back into the bumper to avoid being scraped when the going gets steep. Oh, and while you're not going to be off-roading or waiting around for a snow storm, it's reassuring nevertheless that the Turbo S comes standard with 4-wheel drive.