Porsche traditionalists gripe that electronic aids-traction control, anti-skid stability platforms and suspension-management programs-increasingly make modern 911s â€too easy to drive.â€ But with revised software for the all-new 2007 Turbo´s Porsche Stability Management system (PSM), Porsche´s engineers have restored a little naughtiness to this, the classic rear-engine, overpowered bad boy of sports cars. At low speeds, where Porsche figures that all you´ll maim is your fenders, the Turbo throttle-steers like a sprint car: a little skittish, definitely overpowered, but still manageable.
Said one Porsche engineer, â€We want you to have some fun even if you´re just turning out of your driveway.â€ With 473 horsepower under your foot, be ready to countersteer, or you´ll rotate into the rhododendrons.
But as the speed increases, the new Turbo becomes increasingly stable and mannerly-a combination of increased PSM effectiveness, superb aerodynamics and a new all-wheel drive system that uses not the previous generation´s central torque-apportioning viscous clutch (which reacts to what the car´s wheels are already doing) but an electronically controlled multi-plate clutch that answers instantaneously to computer commands, making the all-wheel drive system active rather than reactive.
We saw 186 mph during Pop Sci´s road test, and until We did the math to convert the Euro-spec test car´s kph to mph, I´d have sworn it was 150. I can´t imagine any traditionalists complaining about a little help at those speeds.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.