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Porsche 911 Turbo, Turbo S: An eye-watering pair

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Some Porsche “purists” will tell you the 911 Turbo isn’t a real 911. That the presence of a compressor somehow detracts from the mechanical rightness of the naturally aspirated 911s.

Confronted with such a purist, you may now allow them to vent their spleen and then reply: “Yes, but the new 911 Turbo S does 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds, 197mph flat-out and can lap the Nürburgring Nordschliefe in less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds.”

That’ll shut ‘em up (they’re normally the type of person who loves to talk numbers).

Yes, the most potent “991” 911 is here, and it’s insane. Five hundred and fifty-two horsepowers of insane, to be precise, courtesy of a twin-turbocharged version of Porsche’s 3.8-litre flat-six feeling all four wheels through a seven-speed PDK (with no manual option available at all, just like the new GT3 RS).

If 552bhp of insane is a little too insane for you, Porsche has also cooked up a 911 Turbo (no “S”) with 513bhp from a lower-boost version of the same engine. Equipped with the optional Sport Chrono package, that car will nail the 0-62mph sprint in 3.2 seconds, which is virtually the same as its bigger brother: hardly shabby.

Porsche is keen to stress the efficiency of its new engines, promising a return of 29mpg [Imperial] from both the Turbo and Turbo S. We suspect you shall struggle to reach that number if you’re aiming to match Porsche’s Nurburgring claims: a sub-7m30s time would put the Turbo S ahead of the Ferrari 458 and, potentially, both the Porsche Carrera GT and the Pagani Zonda F. Sheesh.

Barrelling round the Karussel, you may be thankful for the new rear-wheel steer fitted to all Turbo models. This active system sees the rear wheels turn in the opposite direction to the fronts at speeds up to 31mph – effectively shortening the wheelbase to improve agility – but in the same direction as the fronts above 50mph to aid stability.

The active tech doesn’t end there. A three-stage front spoiler and adjustable rear wing can be deployed to ‘maximum attack’ position for full downforce, a setting that Porsche says will improve the Turbo S’s ‘Ring time by up to two seconds. Every little helps.

911 spotters will also notice the Turbo and Turbo S’s 28mm wider rear body panels and new 20in forged alloys, as well as the new full-LED headlights – standard on the Turbo S, optional on the Turbo.

The rest of us will notice the ambitious pricing: the Turbo starts at £118,349 [$149,250 in the US], with the Turbo S costing from £140,852 [$182,050]. Plus your transport costs to and from the 'Ring, of course. 

A mad amount of money for a hopped-up Beetle with the engine in the wrong place, or a veritable bargain for one of the very fastest road cars on the planet?

This story originally appeared on TopGear.com.