There's power that pushes you firmly into the seat, as though you were being stamp-pressed into the backrest, and then there's the launch control on the Porsche 991Turbo S...
While the Type-991 Turbo S feels like almost any other supercar under hard acceleration, from a standstill it pins you to the headrest even before the tires start scraping the asphalt.
It's an uncanny sensation, one that doesn't jibe with what our senses expect, but nobody, certainly not TAG Motorsports owner, Alex Andonian, is complaining. Knocking out sub-3sec runs to 60mph isn't something he does regularly, generally keeping the car in Eco Mode while driving, but he'll indulge himself occasionally, just to remind him what kind of Porsche weapon he drives.
His Porsche 991 Turbo S is the first thoughtfully modified example we've encountered. Andonian claims he didn't look anywhere but TechArt when it came time to alter his delivery-mileage 991.
Not only was the car new, but the TechArt parts were pre-production prototypes from the German tuner's first show car.
The TechArt kit included a new front lip, which won't interfere with the Porsche speed-activated spoiler. There were also headlight surrounds, side skirts, a rear apron, roof spoiler and Type II rear wing.
According to TAG Motorsports, the Tech Art pieces fitted precisely, adding a dose more aggression without diluting the stock car's core design.
Inside, the stock steering wheel gets the TechArt Paddle Shift Upgrade kit, which alters the downshift action from a push to a pull motion, like most other paddle shifters.
Underneath are TechArt coil springs to support the stock electronic dampers. Tag Motorsports also opted for TechArt's front lift kit that raises the nose as much as 65mm at the touch of a button to gain valuable clearance.
When you enter a Porsche 991, you realize how far the current car has come from its older siblings; how it no longer looks or feels like a traditional 911. With its wide center console, you could be in a Cayman or Panamera. But familiarity returns after you fire the 3.8-liter flat-six and hear it settle into its trademark drumbeat idle.
The TAG Motorsports Porsche 991 Turbo S was equipped with an AWE Tuning exhaust system that flows better than stock, making all the right sounds and moving the needle on the visceral meter.
For software tuning, Andonian went with GIAC's code to extract the reserves left untouched by the factory. On an AWD dyno, the Turbo S registered 530awhp (or about 636hp corrected).
Andonian, who knows the difference between stock and tuned engines better than anybody said, "The engine behaves very similar to stock, but it now pulls a lot harder all the way to redline. It gives a harder kick in the pants, especially on a 60-130mph roll."
To lay down the extra power, TAG Motorsports replaced the stock 20" with a set of forged, 21" HRE P101 centerlock wheels (21x9" f, 21x11.5"r). They have a dark tinted brushed finish and were mounted with the latest Pirelli P Zeros (255/30 f, 325/25 r).
You know before selecting "D" with the PDK that the 991 is a noticeable improvement over the Porsche 997 chassis; not just because you've read the reviews but you trust the badge on the bonnet.
The longer wheelbase, wider track and better weight distribution should create a more stable chassis, and that's confirmed after a few clicks on the odometer.
There's still a Porsche 911 underneath the new clothes. The front-end still feels light but less so than before. And it doesn't succumb to lateral forces as easily, thanks to the wider front track, revised front suspension and, in this case, wider Pirellis.
The TechArt coil springs lowered the car 30mm for flatter cornering at little expense to the ride quality.
You can feel the engine in the back but it doesn't throw its weight around like the older cars. The purists will say it's less of a 911, but such is the price of progress.
And forward progress in a Turbo S can't be confused with the acceleration of any other car. With improvements to the VTG turbos and seven cogs in the PDK, the trademark swell of torque and its jet-engine swoosh of spooling turbines can be had at any time.
Compared to a 997 Turbo, thanks in part to GIAC's software, the new engine pulls hard to redline. But you won't need it on regular roads, where the lower two-thirds of the rev range work to devastating effect.
What you will need is all your attention. You have to think two steps ahead because warp drive arrives in a nanosecond.
Fortunately, the updates to the chassis and improvements from the minor modifications have made the Porsche more composed than ever. This means you need to push harder to find anything approaching the car's limits, by which point you're in lose-your-license territory.
With more driving aids than ever before (rear steering, e-diff, active sway bars, etc), there's a cyborg quality to the Porsche 991 Turbo S that makes you wonder if it's you or artificial intelligence running the show. Futurists call the point when machines start to think faster than humans as "The Singularity." And this Turbo S, the result of endless data crunching by Porsche's supercomputers and tweaking by German tuners, may signal the beginning.
2014 Porsche 991 Turbo S
San Diego, CA
Owner, TAG Motorsports
3.8-liter six-cylinder twin-turbo with GIAC software, AWE Tuning exhaust
stock seven-speed PDK automatic
TechArt lowering springs, stock adjustable dampers and active sway bars
Wheels & Tires
21x9" f, 21x11.5" r HRE P101 wheels, 255/30 R21 f, 325/25 R21 r Pirelli P Zero tires
TechArt front lip spiler, headlamp surrounds, side skirts, roof spoiler, Type II rear wing
TechArt paddle shift upgrade