Porsche 911 Turbo: The new supercar has the potential for more than just posing

  • @Jamie_Merrill

It's started already. Last week, cycling to work in west London, I spotted half a dozen Ferraris, Lamborghinis and brightly coloured Bentleys, all sporting Middle Eastern and European plates.

The yearly migration of supercar-owning princes, sheikh's sons and globe-trotting billionaires has begun, and the destination of their supercar-carrying cargo planes is London.

Normally, I take my test cars north to escape this (and the busy, polluted roads of the capital), but with the new Porsche 911 Turbo parked in my drive, it seemed sensible to take it west to compete with the sheikhs and show off a bit.

And honestly, I can't see the attraction. High Street Kensington isn't the best place to make use of 520 horse power. Neither, it turns out, are the busy streets of Knightsbridge suitable for testing Porsche's latest supercar's active aerodynamics system, where, as you accelerate, a middle section of the front spoiler lowers, creating a low-pressure zone. This is the kind automotive black magic you'd normally expect to find in a million-pound hypercar. Outside Harrods, though, I'm unable to reach the 186mph required to hit the optimum figure of 132kg of down force.

Thankfully a huge spoiler, alloys that shatter at the mere sight of one of the capital's granite kerbs and air intakes you could fit my head into, mean that I at least looked the part. Yet, oddly, I wasn't snapped by the army of YouTube posters who flock down at the height of summer to marvel at these fleets of exotic supercars. Instead, I sat in traffic, feeling stupid.

Later in the week, a run out to Cambridgeshire proves the 991 Turbo is as blisteringly fast and planted as Porsche says it is. This car is a buttoned-down cruise missile that will scream its way to license-losing speeds with terrifying ease.

I'd like to tell you what it's like to drive it at the limit and to throw it full tilt at an aggressive corner, but I can't. You see, I'm not a millionaire with a private track or a Saudi prince with a desert airstrip, so this car spent a week with me living calmly, far from its limit. Nobody even uploaded me to YouTube, which is a shame because it's probably the best engineered and styled car I've driven in years.

Porsche 911 Turbo

Price: From £120,598

Engine capacity: 3.8-litre flat-six twin-turbo

Power output: (BHP @ RPM) 520 @ 6,500

Top speed: 195

0-60 MPH (seconds): 3.4

Fuel economy (MPG): 29.1

CO2 emissions (g/KM): 227