Timeline of the Porsche 911 Turbo

Since the 70’s, the 911 Turbo has been one of Porsche’s most prestigious nameplates. The original 930 brought racing technology to the street, and each subsequent Turbo has upped the ante with technical advancements like all-wheel-drive and anti-lag. They’re also some of the most powerful and violently accelerating cars to bear the Porsche badge. Stick around and learn what makes each generation of this car special.

Porsche 930 (1975-1989)

The first street-driven Porsche Turbo was created using knowledge gained from the turbocharged 934 and 935 endurance race cars of the early 70’s. Both of those cars were already based on the 911 chassis, so stuffing their enhancements back into the production car was a relatively painless task. One complication is that the turbo engine required an intercooler, and the air-cooled flat six design left just about zero space for a cooling system. The solution was the distinctive “whale tail” spoiler, which housed the intercooler, gave the 930 a more aggressive look, and provided necessary downforce at high speed.

The first iteration of the Turbo featured a non-intercooled 3.0 engine and a more low-profile spoiler. This early engine put out about 256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft of torque. Rear-engine driving dynamics, along with the single turbo’s inherent lag gave the 930 a reputation for being twitchy and hard to handle. It was tamed somewhat by the inclusion of a tall-geared four speed gearbox, the only transmission available on the package. In 1978, the car received both enhanced cooling and a displacement bump up to 3.3 liters. Power and torque both grew to a more impressive 300 figure, and it chased 60 miles per hour in under five seconds.

964 Turbo (1990-1994)

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The 964 revision retained the outgoing 930’s 3.3-liter engine, this time mated to a new five-speed manual. Power increased slightly to 316, backed up by 332 lb-ft of torque. A revised turbocharger also reduced lag and smoothed throttle engagement. The car was more civilized compared to the G Body 911, thanks to additions of things like ABS, power steering, and electric windows. A new 3.6 turbo engine was also created in 1993, just before the 964’s retirement, with 355 horsepower 384 lb-ft of torque. Earth-shattering figures for the time.

993 Turbo (1995-1998)

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The last of the air-cooled Turbos came onto the scene, mating the 3.6 engine and a new six-speed gearbox with full-time all-wheel-drive and responsive twin turbochargers inherited from the 959 supercar. This new tech made the car more composed under acceleration, and quicker, too. The added grip, along with a 400-horsepower output, let it sprint to 60 in under four seconds. Every Turbo is all-wheel-drive from here on out, but for thrill-seekers, Porsche also created the GT2 marque, which shoves the Turbo engine into a lightweight rear-wheel=drive shell.

996 Turbo (2000-2006)

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The 996 was the first clean-slate 911 design in… ever, and brought the car into the 21st century. Where it counts, though, the Turbo is a classic. The “Mezger” flat-six mounted at the back was essentially a Frankenstein’s Monster of Porsche best motorsports components up to that point. The block was closely related to the original 911 design dating back to the 60’s, but mated to dual overhead cam water-cooled heads derived from the 959, along with a dry sump oiling system from the 911 GT1 prototype race car. Displacement remained about the same as its 993 predecessor. The Mezger engine is about as stout of a powerplant as Porsche has ever made, and the twin turbochargers can be boosted by aftermarket tuners to figures north of 1,000 horsepower.

Stock, the Turbo made a respectable 414 horses. A big turbo option package was also available boosting power up to 444. All-wheel-drive was once again standard, with the related GT2 continuing its lineage on the other side of the showroom. Other technical advancements include variable valve timing and electronic stability control, with a torque converter automatic transmission offered for the first time on the Turbo line. The 996’s extra weight, however, made it slightly slower than the 993 on a straightaway.

997 Turbo (2006-2013)

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As the 2000’s rolled on, the 996 was refreshed into the 997, carrying over it’s fabulous engine, and adding chassis refinements with computerized torque vectoring. The twin turbos were also replaced with variable turbine units, reducing boost lag even further. Aluminum components also helped it drop 90 pounds compared to 996. The engine was rated at 473 horsepower with 457 torque, and offered both six-speed manual and five-speed auto transmissions.

In 2008, the 997 line got a refresh, and the Turbo became even more powerful. The Mezger block was replaced with a new 3.8-liter direct injected powerplant, boasting 523 horsepower in Turbo S trim. The automatic gearbox option was dropped in favor of the vastly superior PDK dual-clutch, which also became the only transmission on the S package. These additions allowed the car to accelerate to 60 in a blistering 3.1 seconds, a number that’s impressive even by 2021 standards.

991 Turbo (2012-2019)

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The base 991 Turbo carried over the previous 997’s 3.8 engine, making 513 horsepower, with more impressive Turbo S putting 552 horsepower 516 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, an overboost function allowed the engine to generate up to 550 lb-ft in short bursts. Both came with seven-speed PDK. Active aerodynamics and four wheel steering also upped the Turbo’s handling prowess even further, with 0-60 times as low as 2.6 seconds at full power. The 2016 991 refresh also saw both versions of the Turbo getting marginal power bumps of about 20 horses each.

992 Turbo (2020- )

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The latest 911 Turbo shakes up the formula by actually decreasing displacement compared to prior versions. The boxer engine is now 3.7 liters, but paired with larger twin turbos. The relatively tiny engine lets out Hellcat-rivalling numbers, with 641 horsepower and 590 torque on the Turbo S. These stats are just astronomical compared the original 930, and that car was considered a handful in its day. For a driver, that knows how to handle all that power, however, the results are spectacular. Hitting 60 in just 2,5 seconds, and tearing up road courses in a flash. As of 2021, the 992 Turbo S is the third fastest production car on street tires to ever round the Nürburgring, posting 7:25 lap time in January. Knowing Porsche, they’ve left a little bit of room on the table for an even faster version a few years down line.