One Heart-Pounding Ride in the 2012 Porsche 997 Turbo S Coupe


Few things can snarl traffic quite like the sight of a stranded exotic car. On the side of a highway, a basalt black 2012 Porsche 997 Turbo S Coupe lay seemingly helpless, hazard flashers blazing.

Except that this Porsche flagship is not stranded; it is waiting to pounce. And this may be the only place in which to do it safely.

Sport-plus mode engaged, DSC off, full brake, full throttle; the anticipated “Launch control” message appears in white.

My foot slides off the brake, when suddenly…

The 530 HP twin-turbocharged flat-six monster surges to life, distorting the reality of my very existence, and my vision.

First and second gear fly past, as does the 0-60 MPH blast in just a tick over three seconds. The symphony of rip-snorting induction and exhaust noise is accompanied by a “bra-bra-brap” from the twin tailpipes, which accompanies each full-throttle up-shift.

By third gear, my vision starts to clarify. The 1.2g of initial acceleration subsides, and I’m coming up on a decreasing-hairpin exit ramp. Perfect.

The Turbo S’ yellow brake calipers chomp down on standard PCCB (Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake) rotors, which measure 14.96”/13.78” front/rear, respectively.

Adrenaline pumping, I quickly realize the high rate of speed at which I entered the turn. I need to get off the brakes, turn in, and pray.

The seven-speed Porsche Doppel-Kupplung (PDK) transmission reads my mind, and rapidly bangs off a four-three-two downshift. The 235/35ZR19 front tires bite, and the rear-mounted engine laterally transfers the 997’s 3494 lbs. At this point, an older 911 would swing the rear end wide, likely ending up in an uncontrollable slide, or worse yet, a ditch.

Luckily, the 997 Turbo and Turbo S are equipped with magneto-rheological dynamic engine mounts, which firm up during hard cornering. I feel their technology working, as the ramp’s undulating pavement has no ill effect on the car’s cornering attitude.

After exiting the highway, the launch-control sequence is reversed. DSC on, sport-plus mode disengaged.

Cooling fans whir and the exhaust flap closes, bringing the engine’s battle-ready rasp to a whisper. Bathed in the instruments’ white glow, I ponder the day-to-day drivability of this machine.

All-wheel drive is standard, as is a remarkable 17/25 city/highway EPA MPG rating. The front seats are superbly comfortable, even for taller folk. The rear seats are livable for groceries, small children, and the occasional in-law. Heck, I even fit a three-tiered dessert tray, small duffel bag, and backpack in the 3.7 cubic-foot front trunk.

It seems, then, that Porsche has once again magnified the character and mission of the very first 911 as an every-day-drivable supercar.

Assuming I had the coin, $161,650 to be exact, I can think of no better car to reassure me, every day, of my artificially-superb driving ability. Be still, my beating heart.

On the scale of buy it/lease it/rent it/forget it, I give the 2012 Porsche 997 Turbo S Coupe a strong “Buy It,” assuming one has the means.

Otherwise, an equally strong “Rent It,” as every person in their lifetime must be exposed to a machine such as this, and there has to be a rental company in Vegas that will throw you the keys for a night.