Porsche has just launched the new 992 Turbo S in a livestream from Youtube. The presentation was hosted by Mark Webber, with appearances by Oliver Blume and Frank Walliser, who last year moved from the racing department to head Porsche’s 911 and 718 product lines. Comparatively little was said about the new model: much more was made of Porsche’s environmental goals.
On stage with Webber were two 992 Turbo S Coupes in Silver and Dark Metallic Blue and a Turbo S Cabriolet in white with red leather: a hand-stitched extended leather package. Walliser described the trim as catering for traditionalists, being reminiscent of the cabin in the original 1974 911 Turbo (the 930). It’s maybe a bit more along the lines of later Special Wishes models from the 1980s, including the Turbo SE.
“Passion, performance, pure emotion: that is what Porsche stands for,” said Webber. “The blueprint for all Porsche design is the 911: the world’s most recognisable sports car. Today, the flagship of that line takes centre stage.”
If you like a bit of Phil Collins, you were in luck, as “In the Air Tonight” provided the soundtrack for a montage of launch clips filmed on a dusty desert island showing an eagle, a wind tunnel and the Turbo S in motion.
“The Turbo S is elegant, efficient, powerful and, above all, it’s completely cool,” is how Porsche CEO, Oliver Blume, summed up the Turbo S essence. “The new car has 650ps, that is 70ps more than the previous generation. It sprints from 0-100 km/h in only 2.7 seconds and has a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).
“The first 911 Turbo was a real sensation in the 1970s and each new generation takes it one step further. We make it sharper in design, faster and more efficient. The Turbo is part of our DNA: it embodies the core brand values of Porsche: dynamics, power output and speed. And it is a real all-rounder, perfectly balancing speed and everyday usability.”
Porsche 911 Turbo: S for Sustainability
It was inevitable that at some stage the boss would bolt for the pass, to head off critics of the Turbo S’s profile as the historic embodiment of profligate excess versus Porsche’s environmental strategies with the all-electric Taycan, but it was still was a surprise to hear the CEO suggesting that the Turbo S was sustainable. Turbo S is the flagship of a highly priviled luxury product line, and sustainability is not very high on the list for most buyers. If buyers were serious about personal sustainability goals, they would hardly be spending £160,000 on a 700+ horsepower performance car.
“The Turbo S product strategy matches our brand profile and core competencies. It is sporty, flexible and sustainable. Therefore we focus on emotive combustion engines, dynamic plug-in hybrids and innovative electric sports cars.
“With electric cars and hybrids, we avoid local emissions. Their share of market will continue to grow. By 2025, half of all new Porsches will be electrified. At the same time, we are optimising our petrol engines. With each new generation, they are becoming more efficient. This also applies to sports cars, such as the Turbo S.
“Last year, we launched the Taycan: our first fully electric sports car. In doing so, we took a big step towards our sustainability goals. Sustainability today represents an important purchase reason: one that is just as important as a brand, the product and the design. That is what our customers see as value added.
“Sustainability is therefore an important pillar in our strategy. The Taycan is a successful example: driving with zero local emissions in an all-electric sports car. The production is zero-emissions at our new Taycan factory. But not only there: in the past five years, we have reduced CO2 emissions at all Porsche production facilities by an impressive 75% per car. We also set our clear sustainability guidelines for our suppliers.
“So ladies and gentlemen, Porsche is taking responsibility for society and the environment. At the same time, we are driving dreams from the racetrack to the road. This is what Porsche makes unique and also, a really cool brand.”
You have to take your hat off to anyone who can stand in front of half a million quid’s worth of wide-arched toys for the wealthy and give a speech about sustainability. That said, this was a much safer strategy than simply unveiling the trio without an accompanying corporate environmental presentation. Yes, the Turbo S is a usable everyday supercar – perhaps the perfect example of such – but how many buyers will take it over a zero-guilt, Taycan with similar oomph and bombproof residual values? Can the 911 Turbo S survive in the drive towards electric?
Porsche 911 Turbo S: survival in the age of electric
The Porsche 911 Turbo S is undeniably a bastion of excess, but excess is appealing to a shrinking number of western buyers. This is even more true as the stunning 0-60 performance, which has traditionally been the sole preserve and main attraction of turbocharged 911s, is laid waste by the instantaneous torque of electric motors. No doubt the Porsche 992 Turbo S is another great flagship, but how long more will this flagship exist?
Perhaps some will claim that we have just watched the launch of the last great Turbo, but I doubt it. The one thing that all Porsche Turbo S models have shared through the years is distinct self-effacement: an understated, restrained facade that is never brash or trying too hard, like a Lamborghini or modern-day Aston. It simply turns up with a minimum of fuss and does the job reliably, time after time. If a 911 Turbo S has one truly sustainable quality with enduring appeal, that is the one.
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