2013 Porsche 911 Expert Review:Autoblog
If nothing else, the 2012 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder wins the contest for the Porsche with the longest and perhaps clumsiest name ever. But after a day of driving it on good roads all around Stuttgart's farm country and blasting along the no-limit Autobahn, however, we break down like always and decide it's pretty damned cool to possess any 911 Turbo S whatsoever.
What's ultimately best about this admittedly opportunistic offering from Porsche's marketing department is that it doesn't cost one red cent more than the standard 530-horsepower 911 Turbo S – $160,700 for the coupe or $172,100 for the convertible. You just know that they talked about charging more in a meeting. "Perhaps we should charge $10,000 more, c'mon. That's a cool $10 million!" You know they did.
Besides, even more than a normal 911, you probably can't afford one anyway, so there's no reason to start bellyaching. That's because only 918 units of this special Turbo S trim are being shifted out the door at Zuffenhausen, and they are offered only to those magnates who will have their "people" stand in line to fetch a $845,000 Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid. You do not have to buy the accompanying Turbo S 918 edition, but as a Porsche spokesperson tells us, "so far, all 918 Spyder customers have taken their matching-number Turbo S." Naturally, the numbers on the little badges inside match, which is totally cute. Our tester was numbered "000," which automatically made us cooler than anyone.
This acid green-speckled Turbo S is a nice gesture, too. If you ordered your hybrid super dream car for all that money, wouldn't you like to have something from the same company to tide you over while you waited for your late-2012 delivery? And it's all but guaranteed that this Turbo S will go up in value over time, just like the 918.
Our silver metallic tester with 19-inch black center-lock RS Spyder wheels matches up particularly well with the audacious acid green details and logos added to the outside and inside of the most powerful Turbo. The bright green brake calipers and the telltale green "S" on the rear engine lid really set the mood.
On Germany's Autobahn or on the nearly blemish-free B-roads around Stuttgart, this is a typically mind-bogglingly quick Turbo S with the aero downforce, discretely rumbling exhaust, and compound disc brakes to match. The main difference we noticed during the whole day actually came while sitting dog-still. When we showed up at the company's hallowed engineering skunkworks in Weissach, even the Porsche employees who see incredible things every day swarmed around the car. That was an absolute first, so clearly there's something special going on here.
Mainly it's that the Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder is a subtle neon sign telling the civilian population, "I'm waiting for my 918 Spyder Hybrid," and that alone is an impressive statement to be able to make. That's over $1 million invested in Porsche's future, so employees have a right to stare and get excited.
The special leather chosen for the interior is wrapped around not the most aggressive seats available from the Porsche Exclusive catalogue, but the support is just right for using the car's capabilities over public roads every day. We're nuts about the embrace and comfort of these chairs, as they have been studied practically to perfection. Notice the acid green piping on the seats, the green stitching everywhere, plus the "take aim" on-center mark at the top of the steering wheel and all of the colored instrument needles. "Edition 918 Spyder" also comes stitched in green behind the front passengers' heads. Yes, there are still rear seats – for wee Porschephiles only – and they get the green piping and special leather as well.
The 19-inch wheels and tires – Bridgestone Potenza RE050A 235/35 ZR19 (87Y) front and 305/30 ZR19 (102Y) rear – complement the aggressive driving style that the 911 unfailingly brings out in us. Acceleration with all 516 pound-feet of torque between 2,100 and 4,250 rpm is blistering, the Turbo S's quoted 3.1-second time to 60 mph telling no lies. With the almost mandatory inclusion of the Porsche Sport Chrono Turbo option, we've personally had a Turbo S to 60 mph in just less than 2.8 seconds with the Sport Plus button lit. We did the top-speed 'Bahn Run, too, and this special Turbo S with rear wing up will fly solidly for minutes on end at 196 mph, leaving nothing but an acid green streak in the eyes of others.
The seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission with proper Sport steering wheel and shift paddles is, as always, a pure pleasure, even the gearshift lever gets the carbon-look detailing that festoons the cabin at key touchpoints. A six-speed manual would be incredible, but this PDK deserves praise.
North America's fortunate few 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder buyers can expect to take delivery of their cars starting at some point mid-Summer, giving them just the tool to happily stave off their supercar cravings while they wait for their super-exotic 918 plug-in planet-hugger.
So, would you go for the Porsche 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder and accompanying 918, or a Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Blancpain Edition and a mint-condition Miura? If only we could afford to even dream this big.
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