Intro: Porsche 911 Turbo, the Ultimate Winter Car

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onSeptember 19th, 2011

Porsche 911 Turbo, the Ultimate Winter Car

Porsche 911 Turbo, the Ultimate Winter Car

I’m a Mercedes-Benz guy, have been for the last decade. It comes as a surprise, even to myself, that I ended up back where I started, behind the wheel of a Porsche. My first real sports car was a Porsche 944 Turbo, which I owned since high school, and drove to it’s grave 5 years ago with a hole in the block of the heavily modified engine. I missed her while she was gone, for a few months anyways. Looking back, with all the money that I spent, and the toxic love/hate relationship that I had with the car, I vowed not to get back into a Porsche again.

And here I am today, with a 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo sitting in my garage, a month away from winter. You’ve all seen those Porsche Everyday commercials. This is supposed to be the ultimate winter car. I’ve read about it, heard about it from other owners that winter drive their 911’s in the winter, and see them on the road, which made me curious… is it really the Ultimate Winter Car?

With that being said, here’s the introduction to our 911 Turbo, Ultimate Winter Car series. Let’s take a look at the car that we’ve aquired:

It’s a bone stock 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo. When I say stock, I mean it’s literally stock. It hasn’t even been chipped. I tracked down the previous owner, and the car was driven by his trophy wife who took it grocery shopping, kind of like those Porsche Everyday commercials. The car is still on it’s original brake rotors and pads with over 50% life left. A great example for our blog series.

I’ve been driving my Mercedes-Benz C63 AMG over the last 2 winters, which is an awesome car. On dry cold roads, it hauls, and in the snow, ESP Sport mode allows me to get the perfect amount of rear slip to get the car pointed nicely in any situation. My only complaint? Off the line traction is atrocious. How bad? I’m getting beat by Ford Fiestas off the line when there’s any black ice. Brutal. With the Porsche’s AWD system, the problem goes away.

I know that this is a winter car post, but I have spent a few days behind the wheel in summer weather, so I feel it’s necessary to talk at least a little bit about the car’s summer performance. Straight line, the car is a rocket, easily outpacing the more powerful C63 in a drag race. To be fair, we’re at a pretty high elevation of 3700ft, so the Benz loses 60-70hp with the thinner air, while the Porsche’s turbos work a little harder to make up for it and puts out it’s factory rated 420hp. If we were at sea level, it’d be more fair of a fight.

Handling wise, what can I say, the 911’s got TONS of grip in the mid to high speed corners, comparable to my CLK Black Series. At the limit, it understeers quite a bit, so all you can really do is back off. Turn in is decent, about the same as the C63, but not even close to the Black Series. What’s troubling are slow tight corners. The only word I can think of that describes what it’s like hustling the car through a tight bend would be sloppy. Basically, the front starts to understeer, and the rear end starts to slip. The AWD transfers power to the front, and the car feels like it starts to “skip”. It reduces the front power, and understeers again, where the cycle repeats itself. It’s not very confidence inspiring, and certainly not smooth. It’s not as fun as the C63, but it’s definately faster, if that makes any sense at all.

In the rain, however, the 911 Turbo shines. Punch it off the line, and the car rockets off like it was dry. The AWD system seemlessly transmits power to the front wheels and keeps it there, unlike the low speed cornering behavior that I experienced. This should translate well when snow finally falls.

In the next few weeks, the car will be going through a winterization program. Here’s the initial plans that we’re starting with:

  • GPS Navigation/Bluetooth/iPhone. So we don’t get those distracted driving tickets
  • 3M Clear Bra Protection, Tinted Tailights
  • Carbon Fiber GT2 Spoiler (done)
  • Winter Tires
  • Follow our blogs for the next update!

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