Cargraphic Porsche 911 Turbo  

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It’s everything we wanted from the base car
While most Porsche 911 Turbos we tend to test are brutal, beer-swilling, chest slapping beasts that have so much power they should really be tested for steroids, they’re not all like that. In fact while the headline grabbing display cars define a tuner’s reputation, most owners can’t turn their creations into these knuckle-dragging bodybuilders, because they don’t really own them.Most Turbos, especially in Germany thanks to its particular tax system, are leased, a nice little perk for a successful business. So they can’t go round butchering their car and have to settle for a variety of trimmings that include lip spoilers, wheels, exhausts and bolt-on goodies that can be removed without a trace. Cargraphic recognises the value of smaller, highvolume business, and has swallowed up a market ignored by many others.And that has led to a network of domestic and global distributors that can handle these simple upgrades in-house and as such they have become one of the bigger suppliers of exhausts and wheels in the tuning world.So the Stage 1 upgrade to the 997 Turbo is a big deal for the brothers as globally the kits could sell in the hundreds. They will. A dominant performance at the Tuner Grand Prix for the last three years has reinforced Cargraphic’s reputation as a franchise player and customers are flocking for their subtle handling tweaks that make the world of difference.After just a moment behind the wheel it was easy to see why. Most tuners decided the 997 Turbo was too soft, too well rounded and too boring, so they did the equivalent of sticking a screwdriver through the exhaust and dropping the suspension to give the whole experience a little more life, a little of that old passion. Cargraphic, though, has gone its own way.They have accepted the evolution of the 911 line-up more gracefully than the majority of the tuning fraternity. Besides they get their kicks from stripping more than 100kg from the GT3 RS for its Tuner Grand Prix entry, so it has embraced the Turbo’s role as the limousine of the line-up and is perhaps the most clear cut of the tuners when it comes to a full range.Having purchased his bright orange RS, the following Turbo had to be the same colour and it’s become such an integral part of the Porsche DNA we should all celebrate cars like this even if the owner doesn’t realise how much of a tribute this machine really is.The lip spoiler should be colour-coded, and they’ll do it on request, and for those that want to go further there’s a GT2-look rear wing, carbon-fibre wing-mirror housings and even lightweight carbon-fibre doors that will shave at least 7kg apiece off the car’s final weight. Now it would take an exceptional driver to feel such a difference, especially on the relatively porky Turbo, but they are out there.And on the road, they’d revel in a car that’s every bit as easy to drive as the car that emerged from Zuffenhausen. It’s a 911 Turbo, with no rose joints in the gearchange, although they do provide a short shift kit, no extravagant interior, it’s just a breathed on Turbo that will give the car the performance advantage at the traffic light Grands Prix.Simple engine management tweaks, a DME control unit exchange, a new air filter and their own exhaust system liberates a massive 544bhp from the base Turbo together with a sledgehammer number of 588lb/ft of torque. That’s more than enough for this chassis and though there are cars with hundreds of horsepower more they are probably not much quicker. Cargraphic’s car is balanced, relaxed and barnstorming fast.Those extra horses give the whole car the added kick it needs and figures of less than 3.5s to 60mph courtesy of the squat suspension and sticker tyres would be no surprise. With the gentle added push through the whole range this car feels like it would leave a confused and befuddle Turbo driver in its dust in a straight line and as a speck in the mirror on the twisting road. It’s just that bit keener, that bit tighter, and yet just as comfy. It’s everything we wanted from the base car.While the exhaust doesn’t rip into the cabin there’s a throatier note on start-up, a gentle thrum that gives it that added menace a Turbo needs. The current car is a feat of engineering, but its character was muted beyond reason in pursuit of mass appeal and as an enthusiast’s car a stock 997 Turbo would be hard to justify. Cargraphic has unlocked that hint of character, it just about sings at the higher revs now, but the Schnarr brothers have worked with the luxury aspirations to keep the car soothing at Autobahn speeds. This is every bit the commuter car.Despite sitting 35mm closer to the ground on the firm’s sports suspension kit that works alongside PASM to retain the duality of the car it carries a relaxed, assured gait down the main road and fingertip control was a formality. Of course the 8.5x20” and 11.5x20” front and rear wheels transmit more of the road’s subtleties through to the wheel but it’s not something that will ever make this car a chore to drive. Instead of the disconnected feel this car lets you know exactly how much speed a corner can take, before providing comfortable progress all the way through it.As with the original Porsche this car will pitch into understeer when pressed too hard, but that’s always the safest option and Cargraphic has cut enough of that inherent front end push to ensure it only slips wide under far more aggressive treatment. For the most part the car cuts in harder, faster, and will hold the corner far more keenly than the original, but then most customers will never truly feel that extra layer of ability.The 997 Turbo is such a technically brilliant car that nobody was left complaining its too slow, it was only the lack of feel that proved an issue, the lack of emotion, the sheer triumph of engineering over experience. Cargraphic gives the car back a touch of that hunger, without doing anything that can’t easily be reversed when it comes time to return the car to the leasing firm.

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