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The Porsche 911 Turbo S Lightweight Package Review: Better For It?

The Porsche 911 Turbo S Lightweight Package Review: Better For It?

Will Sabel Courtney

Full disclosure, before we get started here: This isn’t going to be the kind of unbiased review you’d find in, say, Consumer reports. Both my personal enthusiasm and that of Gear Patrol in general for the Porsche 911 are well documented; we celebrate great produce here, and few other cars have managed to stand out from the pack time and time again with a Ben & Jerry’s scoop of flavors of excellence like the 911 has. Chances are, unless you’re one of those fervent anti-Porsche types, you like it too — or at least have a general respect for it.

And, for my money, the 911 Turbo S stands as one of the best of the breed. I’ve already announced that the regular 911 Turbo is the last sports car you could ever need; the Turbo S is just that with a little extra power, and who ever complained about that?

Even in today’s world of 911 GT3s and Sport Classics and probably entry-level GT2 RSs and whatever wild performance variants are in the works, the Turbo holds up. Before turbochargers made their way to every other car, truck, and SUV on the planet, there was the 911 Turbo of the 1970s and 80s: the first truly wild 911, a car whose tendency to oversteer quickly and afterburner gave it the nickname “the widowmaker.The Turbo S first hit the market in 1997, as the ultimate version of the 993-generation Turbo, with a little extra power, a few extra features, and a price tag worthy of its limited-edition status. It proved popular enough that Porsche returned it as a regular production model for the next 996-generation car, and has been the flagship model of the 911, non-GT ever since.

But at Porsche, just like in nature, evolution never stops. So for 2022, the folks at Zuffenhausen have found a way to make the Turbo S even more extreme: the lightweight package.

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Few changes to the 911 Turbo S Lightweight Package

With all due respect to Porsche engineers and brand managers alike, the Turbo S’s “Lightweight Package” broadens the definition of its first name. Check the box for the package — which adds $10,340 to the car’s $217,550 starting price — and you’ll see the following changes:

  • Lightweight, sound-absorbing glass
  • Reduced insulation and sound deadening
  • The PASM sport suspension
  • The sports exhaust system (with tailpipes in silver or black)
  • Removal of the rear seat
  • A choice of full-bucket carbon fiber seats with manual 2-way adjustment, or the Adaptive Sport Seats Plus with 18-way electric adjustment

All things considered, the adjustments will save you about £66, if you opt for the full-throated version with the carbon fiber bucket seats. Considering the 911 Turbo S weighs about 3,600 pounds and puts out 640 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of torque, that’s barely noticeable; if you can’t see the difference in performance between your car when there’s someone in the passenger seat and when you can’t, you will definitely never notice the weight difference. If you really want to squeeze in extra straight-line performance, you’re better off drag racing with half a tank of gas; you would save the same weight and all that money.

So the lightweight package is more about changing the Turbo S’s character than about the actual performance. With less sound insulation, thinner glass and the sports exhaust, more rawness of the flat-six shines through in the interior; all pretensions of the 992-generation 911’s high revs disappear as the rev counter sweeps past 12 o’clock and the car jumps for Warp 9. And the seats grip you with an intensity not found in most road cars…

…which can be both a blessing and a curse.

The lightweight package seats are the most aggressive part

Astute observers may note two things here: 1) yes, the Turbo S has a cup holder that can hold a Starbucks grande; 2) those carbon fiber frame aggro seats have no backrest adjustment. They are as firm as a spayed dog; you can only move them forward or backward.

However, you do get used to the upright angle of the chair over time. The same goes for the snug nature of their sides, which keep you snug like a bug in a rug as you hurtle around corners. What gets much more irritating is the sharp boundaries of the hip area, where the seats squeeze in — thus squeezing the sides of your glutes. It’s fine for the first 30 minutes, acceptable for the next 30, uncomfortable for the 30 after, and limps on exit after some time after that.

And when that time comes, it’s also a challenge to free yourself from the car over the high edge of the seat; without an easy handle to lift yourself over the high lip, it’s a tricky maneuver, especially with a numb butt. It’s even harder for anyone wearing a dress or skirt or kiltbecause they will face the added challenge of keeping their knees together like a Catholic schoolgirl, or else risk it pulling a Britney Spears

However, the practicality of the 911 Turbo S is largely unaffected

Learn to handle the seats, though – or rather, I suggest, specify their power-operated alternatives – and you’ll find that the lightweight package doesn’t diminish the basic use that helps set the 911 above other sports cars of comparable power. In a way it does add something to it.

Now that the rear nubbin seats have been removed, their former home becomes a carpeted, terraced luggage area—a space that turned out to be large enough to comfortably hold the plants of a studio apartment, as I discovered when I was helping a friend move. Between the scalloped seat holes and the parcel shelf above, there’s plenty of room in the back for at least two carry-ons and two personal items – and the frunk has room on top for another 4.5 cubic meters of storage.

Likewise, while the PASM Sport Suspension adds a little extra hardness to the party, they’re little potatoes, unless you’re the kind of sleeper who suffers from peas under piles of mattresses. Rough surfaces occasionally send a shockwave through the car’s solid bodywork, but it’s the price you pay for a car capable of such remarkable levels of performance. That suspension should keep all that mass taut and flat, even under the supercar-level g-forces this car can impose on itself.

In short: the 911 Turbo S might just be the perfect sports car…

Simply put, there is no car for sale today that combines the sheer amount of capabilities like the 911 Turbo S. Just look at the stats: 0-60 miles per hour in 2.12.2 seconds† a quarter mile time of about 10 seconds flat; a top speed well north of 200 miles per hour – but also room for tall people to stretch out in comfort, a high-quality Burmester stereo, more cargo space than a BMW 33oe and even the ability to get 27 mpg on the highway† (Okay, fine, that’s the regular 911 Turbo, but chances are the Turbo S would be damn close.)

But as with all the best drivers’ cars, the spec sheet doesn’t tell the whole story. It can’t tell you how engaging and tactile the handling is for a car made in the modern era, with a feel and immediacy that makes you feel really connected to this Porsche. It can’t explain what it really feels like to be launched forward at a peak acceleration nearly twice the force of gravity, or the euphoria that comes with pushing harder and harder into corner after corner to realize you can keep going faster and faster. It can’t explain the rock solid feeling that permeates every inch of the car… , I’m just waiting for you to come back for another dance. Many cars are fastand many of them make fast pleasure† the 911 Turbo S redefines both.

…but the lightweight package is a matter of personal taste

Fortunately, you can choose almost all kibble from the lightweight package à la carte from Porsche’s extensive option list. For my money, I’d definitely say yes to the sports exhaust and sports suspension, maybe to the lightweight glass, and probably not for the rear seat removal. (It can free up a few inches more cargo space, but it would be nice to have room for dogs or smaller people for short trips.) As for those manual seats that make up most of the already small lightweight? To quote Randy Jackson, that’s going to be a no from me, dawg.

The lightweight package modifies the character of the Turbo S, bringing out a little more of the aggression and power that once defined the 911 Turbo, but has since been smoothed out to some extent with layer after layer of refinement, luxury and technology. It may not be more likely to bite you, but it definitely sounds and feels more like it.

If you’re looking for a 911 to tear down racetracks, the Turbo S Lightweight will definitely do it, but the 911 GT3 will do better. It weighs more than 300 pounds less, after all, offers an even more aggressive aero and doesn’t foul its front wheels with thrust. (It also lets you specify a six-speed manual if you value engagement over lap times.)

Personally, I’d take my Turbo S a little more understated and comfortable, making it ideal for both the long rides to the best back roads and those back roads in equal measure. But if you want to make your Porsches sound loud and proud, the Lightweight Package is for you. You know, make sure you try those manual bucket seats before you buy them.

2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S with lightweight package

Price as tested: $226,550

Drivetrain: 3.7-litre flat-six with turbocharger; eight-speed automatic; four wheel drive

Horsepower: 640

Couple: 590 lb-ft

EPA fuel economy: 15 mpg city / 20 mpg highway

chairs: 2

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