Porsche 911 Turbo (2003)

Porsche 911 Turbo

The 2003 Porsche 911 Turbo is an exciting mixture of power and control. Power comes from its 3.6-liter, horizontally opposed, six-cylinder "boxer" engine, which uses the boost of twin turbochargers to provide 415 horsepower (SAE) and 415 pound-feet of torque. Control comes from all-wheel drive, the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM) and 18-inch wheels with Z-rated tires that make the latest Porsche Turbo the best-handling version in the model's history.

"Power is more meaningful when the driver is in complete control," says Frederick J. Schwab, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. "That's the beauty of the Porsche 911 Turbo. It provides awesome power and amazing dynamic control."

And for a driver who wants even more power, an optional factory installed X50 engine enhancement performance package ups the turbochargers' boost to produce 444 horsepower (SAE).

However, there's more to the Porsche 911 Turbo than brutal power. Porsche designed the 911 Turbo not only for high performance, but to provide long-distance comfort as well. The list of standard equipment includes a Bose high-end digital audio system and other additional luxury features.

Styled for form and function

While the new-generation Porsche 911 Turbo inspired the front-end redesign of the 911 Carrera for the 2002 model year, the Porsche 911 Turbo retains many exclusive body parts and design elements only available on the Porsche 911 Turbo. Three large intake grills dominate the lower front fascia and provide cooling air to the car's three radiators. Compared to the 911 Carrera models, the Porsche 911 Turbo has a wider stance, particularly at the rear, where the Porsche 911 Turbo is 2.6 inches (65 mm) wider to accommodate the standard 18-inch alloy wheels and massive 295/30 ZR18 tires.

Air scoops integrated into the leading edges of the rear fenders channel air to the turbocharger intercoolers, while louvers in the sides of the lower rear cover exit air from the intercoolers. The engine compartment lid carries a two-piece rear stabilizer wing, the upper part of which automatically rises at speeds above 75 mph (120 km/h) and lowers at 50 mph (80 km/h).

Porsche's turbocharged heritage

Porsche began using turbochargers in the 917 racecar in the early 1970s and introduced its first Porsche 911 Turbo model in 1974. The 911 Turbo arrived in the United States for model-year 1976, and with its 234-horsepower engine (U.S.-spec) could achieve 0-62 miles per hour (0-100 km/h) in 5.5 seconds. Porsche introduced innovations that increased the reliability of turbocharging, including the exhaust wastegate to regulate boost pressure and intercoolers to reduce the temperature of the compressed intake air. From the beginning, Porsche designed the 911 Turbo as a fully equipped grand touring car with a high level of standard luxury features.

Porsche pioneered the all-wheel drive supercar with the limited production 959 of the mid-1980s. Although not imported to North America, the turbocharged 959 became a Porsche legend and paved the way for the first standard-production all-wheel drive Porsche 911 Turbo, which arrived in the U.S. for 1996.

Racing-derived engine

A racecar-derived 3.6-liter, twin-turbo six-cylinder engine gives the Porsche 911 Turbo staggering performance capabilities. The engine produces 415 horsepower (SAE) @ 6,000 rpm and sustains 415 lb.-ft. of peak torque from 2,700-4,600 rpm. Power drives through a standard six-speed manual transmission, with the advanced Tiptronic S five-speed automatic transmission as an option.

With power characteristics of a far larger engine, the Porsche 911 Turbo can accelerate from zero-to-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in just 4.2 seconds. On the test track, the Porsche 911 Turbo will sprint from a standstill to 100 mph (160 km/h) in only 9.2 seconds and can achieve a top speed of 189 mph (305 km/h).

The Porsche 911 Turbo engine is based directly on the 3.6-liter engine from the GT1 racecar that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998. (The engine is not a turbocharged version of the new 3.6-liter unit used in the 2003 911 Carrera models.)

To accommodate the high boost pressure produced by its dual turbochargers, the engine features a 9.4-to-1-compression ratio, compared to 11.3-to-1 for the 911 Carrera models.

Intake air enters through louvers in the engine lid, flows into a joint air filter housing and then into the turbochargers. The turbos compress the air to a maximum of 11.76 psi (0.8 bar over atmosphere). From the turbos, the intake air flows through dual intercoolers (one mounted in each rear fender) and then into the induction system.

Like all current Porsche engines, the Porsche 911 Turbo features double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The new-generation Porsche 911 Turbo introduced a new version of the Porsche VarioCam valve timing system. Called VarioCam Plus, the new system provides continuously adjustable valve timing by using two camshaft profiles and two sets of tappets to vary both valve lift and duration. The system helps boost low-end and mid-range torque. Dual valve springs ensure reliable, high-performance operation.

Sequential multi-port fuel injection features separate fuel mixture control for each cylinder bank and a coil-on-plug ("distributorless") ignition system provides quick response and reliable operation. The ME 7.8 engine control module incorporates the E-Gas electronic throttle. In place of a conventional throttle cable setup, E-Gas electronically transmits pedal position to the engine control unit. The new system provides even sharper throttle response and ensures low emissions.

The Porsche 911 Turbo adds an optional X50 engine enhancement performance package that increases horsepower to 444 (SAE) @ 5,700 rpm and sustains 457 lb.-ft of peak torque from 3,500 - 4,500 rpm. The new package includes modifications to the turbo charger, air intake cooler, electronic control unit, exhaust system, as well as a strengthened transmission. The X50 package is only available as an option from factory.

Six-speed manual or advanced Tiptronic S transmission

The Porsche 911 Turbo offers a choice between a precise-shifting standard six-speed manual transmission or the optional Tiptronic S five-speed automatic transmission. The six-speed manual features a dual-mass flywheel for low vibration and a hydraulic clutch for consistent performance.

With the advanced Tiptronic S, the driver can place the shift lever into "D" and let the transmission do the shifting, or shift into "M" and control gearshifts with steering wheel-mounted thumb switches.

In automatic mode, Tiptronic S uses infinitely variable shift points to respond to the driving circumstances and the driving style. During leisurely driving, Tiptronic S will upshift early to provide a quiet ride and the best fuel efficiency. With quicker gas pedal action, the transmission responds by raising shift points to hold each gear longer for crisp response and power. The Tiptronic S transmission draws from among 250 different shift maps to provide optimal performance at all times.

Even while in automatic mode, the computer-controlled Tiptronic S responds like a driver working a manual transmission, downshifting or holding lower gears when cornering and driving on hills. Tiptronic S allows the driver to select manual mode by pressing an up- or downshift button, even with the shift lever in the "D" position.

All-wheel drive

The Porsche 911 Turbo uses an all-wheel drive system based on a viscous multi-plate clutch located directly behind the front differential. Weighing only 120 pounds (54 kg), the all-wheel drive system in the Porsche 911 Turbo qualifies as one of the lightest such systems in the industry.

The all-wheel drive system directs torque to the front wheels at a rate of five-to-40 percent, depending on available traction and power applied. The viscous unit compensates for differing wheel speeds during cornering. The Porsche 911 Turbo exhibits outstanding traction on all road surfaces. However, Porsche did not intend the all-wheel drive system as an all-weather traction assistant.

The four-wheel independent suspension features a Porsche-optimized MacPherson-strut design in front and a multilink setup in the rear, both with aluminum suspension components to reduce unsprung weight. Front and rear stabilizer bars and gas-charged shock absorbers provide flatter cornering. Standard power rack-and pinion steering yields a quick 2.98 turns lock-to-lock and a tight 34.8-ft. (10.6-meter) turning circle.

A "staggered" wheel/tire array (wider wheels and wider, lower-profile tires in the rear) contributes to neutral handling. The standard aluminum hollow-spoke alloy wheels measure 18 x 8 inches in front and mount 225/40 ZR18 tires; the 18 x 11-inch rear wheels mount 295/30 ZR18 tires.

Race-proven brakes

The 2003 911 Turbo employs the four-wheel vented disc brakes derived from the Porsche GT1 racecar. One-piece ("monoblock"), four-piston brake calipers reduce unsprung weight and improve heat dissipation. The front and rear discs measure 13.0 inches in diameter (330 mm), but differ in thickness - 1.34-inch (34 mm) in front and 1.1-inch (28 mm) in the rear. The cross-drilled discs dissipate heat to maintain braking performance and brake feel even under hard usage.

Porsche Stability Management

Porsche equips the 2003 911 Turbo with the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM), an innovation the automaker first introduced on the 1999 911 Carrera 4. Using data from several sensor inputs, PSM can detect a loss of grip at the front or rear and reduce instability by applying braking to individual wheels and, if necessary, altering engine power. PSM can help keep the Porsche 911 Turbo going in the direction the driver steers, especially on slippery roads.

The PSM system operates so quickly that most drivers likely will not feel it making corrections, and, if activated, the system operates whether or not the driver is using the brakes. The driver can disengage PSM with a dashboard switch, but, for safety, PSM will engage under braking and then disengage when the driver lifts off the brake. While the system provides dynamic handling assistance, Porsche cautions drivers that PSM cannot counteract the laws of physics.

Safe by design

With the high performance potential of the Porsche 911 Turbo comes a high level of occupant protection. A patented crumple zone body structure protects a reinforced passenger compartment. Supplementing the three-point inertia-reel seatbelts, the Porsche 911 Turbo has seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters. All Porsche 2003 models include dual front airbags plus the Porsche Side Impact Protection System that includes boron-steel door reinforcement beams, energy-absorbing door panels, and door-mounted side airbags. The 30-liter capacity sidebags provide additional protection for the chest, head, and pelvis.

Child safety seat can be used

At a customer's request, a U.S. Porsche dealer can install a system that deactivates the passenger airbags when a U.S. Porsche-approved child seat is used. The system features a cross brace with belt lock in front of the passenger seat. Buckling the special child seat into this brace deactivates the airbags. To install the system, the dealer also must reprogram the airbag control module.

Security and luxury features

The Porsche 911 Turbo comes equipped with a full slate of standard luxury and security features:

  • Anti-theft system with engine immobilizer and alarm
  • Automatic climate control with dust/pollen and activated charcoal odor filters
  • Bi-Xenon headlights (xenon high-intensity discharge lights for the low and high beams)
  • Bose digital audio system with six-channel amplifier and 12 speakers
  • Heated power sideview mirrors
  • Heated windshield washer nozzles
  • Leather-covered telescoping three-spoke steering wheel with Porsche Crest
  • Metallic paint
  • Power opening for the luggage and engine compartment lids
  • Power sunroof
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down
  • Power-adjustable full leather seats with driver's seat memory
  • Programmable remote locking system
  • Trip computer

The remote entry system allows the driver to open the luggage compartment lid and operate the seat memory function.

Communicating at the speed of light

Porsche's new Communication Management system (PCM) comprises tuners, CD player, navigation system, and trip computer, all linked through Media-Oriented Systems Transport (MOST) digital databus. The MOST system incorporates light-wave conductors that exchange data between the individual components without loss of quality and at ultra-high speeds.

PCM includes a 5.8-inch color screen with its 16:9 aspect ratio and 12-position keyboard for easily and efficiently entering radio frequencies. The system assures excellent audio quality.

The navigation module provides such features as road junction zoom-in, dynamic navigation to avoid congestion, map scrolling so you can see beyond your current position, tour planning with the ability to memorize as many as eight destinations in a row and a CD-ROM system that can be used for the navigation system or for music.

Bose audio

The Porsche 911 Turbo features the Bose system as standard equipment, while other Porsche models offer a Bose system as an option. Each Bose audio system has been custom-engineered for a particular Porsche model.

The Bose automotive music systems combine balanced stereo, a panoramic soundstage, deep bass and smooth frequency response to produce lifelike music reproduction even in the challenging environment of a car. Digital amplifiers provide clean, uncolored sound at any listening level. In the Porsche 911 Turbo, 12 advanced loudspeakers and a subwoofer blend seamlessly into cabin trim, raising and widening the sound stage and ensuring balanced stereo.