The history of the Porsche Turbo

Posted 31st March 2022

10 minute read

Throughout history, the Turbo has always been seen as the flagship of many Porsche model line-ups, with a substantial history in both popular and automotive culture.

Take a short trip through time to learn more about an icon of the Porsche family.

The Classic Way

During the Paris Motor Show in 1974, Porsche unveiled the first 911 Turbo. Once the fastest production car around at the time of its launch, the 930 Turbo still raises eyebrows today with its impressive 0-62 mph time of 5.5 seconds. This 911 was 12 cm wider than its siblings and sported impressive flared rear wings with a black rubber border on the lid of the rear wing. In 1987, for the first time ever, the Turbo would be available as a Cabriolet and a Targa, a huge step for a car that had only ever been available as a Coupé. 

Porsche 930 Turbo

The next model to wear the ‘Turbo’ tag was the 924. Produced from 1979-1984, the 924 Turbo bridged the gap between the 924 and the 911 SC in terms of performance. With a turbocharged 2.0 – litre four-cylinder engine developing 170 hp, the 924 Turbo punched above its weight. The Turbo was derived from the standard 924’s shape, however, it had a few recognisable traits that distinguished it from the 924. The Turbo had a black spoiler on the rear lid, a feature also prominent on the 944 Turbo when it was launched in 1985. 

As the top-of-the-range model of the 944 family, the 944 Turbo had a 2.5-litre turbo engine which generated 220 hp. When Porsche went on to produce the 944 Turbo S, they gave it a larger turbocharger, allowing the engine to produce 250 hp.

Porsche 924 Turbo

Porsche 924 Turbo

Porsche 944 Turbo

Porsche 944 Turbo

The next Turbo model that Porsche produced was the 911 964 Turbo. This Turbo model was made recognisable from its flared wheel housings and wider body compared to that of the original 964. The 964 Turbo was produced between 1991 and 1993 and went through significant changes during this short lifespan.

During the model years 1991-1992, the 911 964 Turbo sported a 3.3-litre engine which produced 320 hp. This was increased to 360 hp in 1993 when the engine was upgraded to a 3.6-litre unit. This model featured in the 1995 movie ‘Bad Boys’ and the car that featured in the film recently sold for $1.3 million at auction in the USA.

911 964 Turbo

Spoiler Alert

The 911 993 Turbo was produced from 1995-1998 and was the first 911 to feature a twin-turbocharged engine. With a prominent rear spoiler, the 993 Turbo had a 3.6-litre bi-turbo engine which was powered by a smaller turbocharger in its cylinder bank. The Cabriolet version of this model was again extremely limited in production, with only 14 units ever produced. 

However, the introduction of the 911 996 Turbo saw a change in the Cabriolet turbo trend, with it becoming the first mass-produced Turbo Cabriolet for the brand. Even larger changes occurred under the skin, as Porsche moved away from the air-cooled engine to a water-cooled engine. The 3.6-litre flat-six had a power output of 420 hp and was available in a 5-speed Tiptronic or 6-speed manual transmission.

Porsche 993 Turbo

Porsche 993 Turbo

Porsche 996 Turbo

Porsche 996 Turbo 

The next 911 to wear the Turbo tag was the 997. Perhaps one of the most sought after 911 models, the 997 Turbo made its debut to the world of motoring in February 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show. The 997 underwent significant physical changes compared to the 996, including introducing more aluminium elements into the production, as well as a complete redesign of the body.

The result was a dynamic, muscular and sleeker looking 911, which weighed an impressive 41kg lighter than its predecessor. The 3.6-litre, twin-turbocharged flat-six engine produced 473 hp, allowing for a top speed of 196 mph through the 5-speed Tiptronic S transmission. The 911 997 Turbo S Cabriolet was equally impressive, as it largely achieved the same performance stats as the Coupé, a feat not often achieved due to the aerodynamic and additional weight issues that convertible cars face.

Porsche 997 Turbo

Adventurous Journeys

It's not just the 911 that has sported the iconic ‘Turbo’ nameplate In 2002, The Third Porsche was born. The Porsche Cayenne was the first Porsche you could take off road. And with the introduction of the Cayenne Turbo and Turbo S lines, the first family sized car Porsche ever produced got a lot more impressive.

The first Cayenne Turbo had 443 hp and acceleration of 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds from a 4.5-litre V8 engine. In 2008, Porsche announced the release of the Cayenne Turbo S, an incredible piece of engineering. As an SUV that produced 550 hp and could reach 0-62 mph in just 4.7 seconds, performance motoring in the SUV market was changed forever. Other four-door models to have had the Turbo name include the Macan, Panamera, and most recently, the all-electric Taycan.

Porsche Cayenne Turbo

Changes in gear

Change was due for the 911 range, as due to amendments to EU emissions regulations, Porsche had to adapt, meaning every new 911 would have a turbocharger - not just the ‘Turbo’ models. The Porsche 991 911 was the first model that Porsche produced to have this change. The Turbo still exists as a flagship model, just with physically larger turbochargers to create the difference in power to other 911 models that the Turbo warrants.

The Porsche 991 911 Turbo has a twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat-six engine which generated 512 hp, whereas the Turbo S variant increased these figures to 552 hp. The 991 sported impressive new features available as standard for the 911 range, including Adaptive Aerodynamics and Rear Wheel Steering. When the 991 received its facelift and became the 991.2, a limited edition Turbo S Exclusive Series was released. Complete with a unique power kit and carbon fibre body panels, this model was limited in production to just 500 units.

Porsche Turbo S Exclusive Series

New Beginnings

The most recent 911 Turbo S model is the 992. As recognisable as ever with the iconic 911 fly line, the 992 has a redesigned and squared off bonnet creating a truly beautiful exterior look. The 992 Turbo S has improved power to that of the 991, capable of producing 650 hp and can travel from 0-62 mph in just 2.7 seconds with the help of the Sport Chrono Package.

The 992 Turbo Cabriolet is only a tenth of a second slower to 62mph, showing the hard work done during the production of the 997 Cabriolet continues on to this day in the 992. Both the Coupé and the Cabriolet are capable of reaching 205 mph.

View approved pre-owned 911 Turbo S

911 992 Turbo

As the motoring world becomes electrified, performance has to be maintained with new innovative products. The Porsche Taycan Turbo and Turbo S do not disappoint as the latest Turbo line to be added to the Porsche family. When compared, both models offer supreme handling, ride comfort and technological upgrades. Despite the lack of internal combustion, these two Taycan model derivatives certainly live up to the Turbo name, with 625 hp and a 0-62mph time of just 2.8 seconds for the Taycan Turbo S, signifying the flagship of Porsche’s Taycan range.

View Approved Pre-Owned Porsche Turbo models

Porsche Taycan Turbo vs Turbo S


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