Turbo S generations contextualized by pop culture
The twentieth century may not seem like that long ago but in fact, the world has changed dramatically in the near two decades since the first generation Porsche 911 Turbo S was launched. That becomes all the more evident when analysing pop culture during each iteration’s respective eras.
As the German marque’s flagship model – sitting just below the GT3 in Porsche's line-up but serving an entirely different purpose – it’s hard to imagine a time before the Turbo S was considered one of, if not the benchmark for driver-focussed sports and supercars.
We’ve done our best to time stamp each version with the most topical films, music and events from the year they were released.
1998 993 Turbo S
1998 marked the conception of one of Porsche’s best-loved and most iconic models to date, but the genesis of the Turbo S was in fact, remarkably simple: create a limited run of 183 sport versions of the 993 Turbo and voila, the first Turbo S was born.
Its 3.6-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six enabled this particular example to go from 0-60mph in 3.6 seconds so even by today’s standards, this modern classic is no slouch. Side scoops just behind the doors and the whale tail rear spoiler vents ensure the original Turbo S screams sport from every angle.
Meanwhile, in mainstream media, Titanic dominated headlines as it became the first film to gross a billion dollars at the box office and the movie soundtrack was the biggest-selling album of the year. Mulan was released by Disney and Cher’s Believe was the first song to use Auto-Tune. Apple also released the first-ever iMac kicking off their revolution of the PC industry.
2004 996 Turbo S
As the life cycle of the 996 came to a close, the Turbo S title was revived, also marking the introduction of a cabriolet variant. This time, to match increasing demand, Porsche produced a total of 1,500 examples.
This derivative also had its fair share of horses under the bonnet. With 450bhp at its disposal, a proclaimed top speed of 189mph was well within reach, all whilst sitting amongst the updated, and more unique styling. That came in the form of 959-esque vents that were strewn across the front and rear bumpers, hinting at the performance this thing was really capable of.
It was a big year for animated films with the release of the Incredibles and Shrek 2 as well as the highly anticipated Spider-Man sequel. Yeah! by Usher, Maroon 5’s This Love and Hey Ya! by OutKast were among the most popular hits of the year. On television, Friends aired its 236th and final episode bringing to a close the reign of a sitcom behemoth.
2010 997.2 Turbo S
Production for the 997.2 Turbo S began in 2010. At the time, it went on sale as the most expensive 911 on the market with the coupe costing £123,263 and the cabriolet coming in at £130,791.
An all-new torque vectoring system, beefy ceramic breaks and a sports exhaust were all fitted as standard as well as a PDK gearbox with no manual option on offer. The turbochargers were also a topic of conversation, having received a redesign to put out an extra 30bhp making for a total of 516bhp.
In cinemas, 127 Hours, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Despicable Me and Inception were all enjoying huge success whilst a 15-year-old Justin Bieber released Baby and Eminem/Rihanna’s Love the Way You Lie really took off. The technology sector witnessed the release of the very first iPad along with accompanying game Angry Birds and Facebook reached 500 million users.
2013 991 Turbo S
Unsurprisingly, the 2013 iteration was faster than ever and to many, is where the Turbo S really hit its stride. A 0-62mph time of 3.1 seconds not only made it faster than its rivals of the day like the 458 Italia, but it also meant that it was the fastest accelerating open-ended production car Porsche had ever produced.
Innovative rear-wheel steering was also introduced across the Turbo range, steering in the same direction as the front wheels in high-speed situations or the opposite at low speeds, all to aid in the never-ending quest for optimum handling.
That summer, Daft Punk's Get Lucky hit the stratosphere becoming everyone’s guilty pleasure. TV, on the other hand, saw several landmark moments such as the US Office Finale, Game of Thrones’ infamous Red Wedding and Breaking Bad bid farewell to viewers, cementing itself as one of the all-time great series. On the silver screen, Martin Scorsese produced the latest in a long line of epic films, this time with The Wolf of Wall Street, based on a real-life investing success story. Frozen and Fast & Furious 6 were first and sixth highest-grossing movies respectively.
2016 991.2 Turbo S
The 991.2 brought the Turbo S designation firmly into the modern era, boasting all the bells and whistles befitting of its status as the pinnacle of practical supercars, despite competition from contemporary examples such as the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S.
As we know, acceleration had never been an issue for the Turbo S but now 572bhp propelled it from 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, although engineers in Stuttgart had touted that 2.6 had been recorded. A new Dynamic Boost enhanced the Turbo S further still, enabling the throttle and turbos to remain active after you’ve lifted off of the loud pedal for even quicker response times and turbo lag that barely registers.
Streaming platforms reached new heights in 2016 with the rise of Netflix and its poster child show Stranger Things, whilst Leondardo DiCaprio received his long-awaited Oscar for his performance in The Revenant. The Harry Potter franchise was revitalised with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and theatre production Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but most memorable of all was Donald Trump being elected as President.
2020 992 Turbo S
With 0-62mph now officially clocking in at 2.7 seconds, the 992 is mind-bendingly fast and the maximum speed of 205mph has been carried over from the previous generation. In essence, every aspect of the 991.2 has been honed to give Porsche customers the most refined Turbo S driving experience to date.
With active aerodynamics in abundance, a refined four-wheel steering system and Porsche’s ever-improving eight-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, the 992 truly is brimming with technology, designed to not only enable you to corner quicker but offer a more sophisticated drive in the low-speed moments.
It goes without saying that 2020 was a little unorthodox as far as years go. Obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic took hold sending the world into lockdown which, in turn, paved the way for the success of Netflix series such as Tiger King and The Last Dance. Tik Tok also benefited from a prolonged period of everyone staying indoors, as a social media app breached the two billion download mark for the first time.