So what’s the verdict?

Porsche 911 Turbo S

Matthew DeBord/Insider

In the 911 hierarchy, the Turbo S is the top dog, sitting atop the Carrera and GTS ranges. The $200,000-plus price tag is daunting, but for the most serious drivers, the Turbo and Turbo S are the pinnacle of Porsche-ness.

You already know that the new 911 Carrera 4S is the best 911 I’ve ever driven. Obvious next question: Is the Turbo S better?

Hard one to answer. The 4S is about as much car as I want on civilian roadways. The Turbo S is, to be honest, is too much. This car wants a race track in the worst possible way.

As you make your way up the 911 ladder, you go from sublime motoring to something approaching a brutal subduing of the asphalt beneath your Pirellis. In the Turbo S, it’s a hell of a ride.

When you lay it down, it’s a mighty hammer — but with no muscle-car feeling about it. The whole fiery affair is just … so … balanced. This is and always has been 911’s thing: so much fury, yet controlled. I mean, I absolutely blasted into some tight corners, hit the brakes hard, then got right back on the throttle as I input some intense steering and the Turbo S simply absorbed it and stuck its nose back into the wall of air that it was slicing through. 

A pro driver could unsettle the 911 Turbo S. Probably. I couldn’t. Definitely.

The insanely stable 4S comes off as downright tossable by comparison with the Turbo S. You are, in a word, stuck to the pavement in the Turbo, despite the wail of the boxer six behind you and persistent sense that there must be somehow, some way to get the rear tires to surrender adhesion. But no, the grip is endless. 

The speed is staggering: o-60 mph in 2.6 seconds, according to Porsche, and possibly 2.5, according to me. The top speed is 205 mph, but passing the legal speed limit, however briefly, might make you think you’ve bent time. 

As with the 4s, the Turbo S has quite a workable punch. You have excellent torque command in all eight gears, although the action happens in three-through-five. The burbles and gurgles are present, sonically augmented, and at their nastiest in Sport-Plus. But a Lamborghini this isn’t; the power is visceral rather than auditory.

The 911 has become a platform for incredibly wide experimentation at Porsche. It’s remarkable that a “bad” design — Who puts and engine over the back wheels? — has been so compellingly evolved to the sort of objective magnificence that the Turbo S offers.

It’s much too much for daily life. But if you want to be impressed, impressed, impressed — stunned, even, into stupefied admiration — then the 2020 Porsche 911 Turbo S is your chariot.