Porsche unveils new Turbo model at Detroit auto show

Kevin A. Wilson
Special to The Detroit News

There’s something old-school about the Porsche Turbo, enough so that even as the company unveiled an all-new model at the Detroit auto show Monday, it reiterated the promise it made at last fall’s Frankfurt show that it will produce a high-performance, all-electric flagship model by the end of the decade.

The cover on a Porsche Turbo S roadster is removed at the North American International Auto Show Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 in Detroit.

Turbocharging has become commonplace industry-wide, but Porsche has been turbocharging the top edition of its 911 sports car for 40 years and in sports car enthusiast circles saying one owns “a Turbo” means just one thing: The speaker has the baddest, meanest 911 available.

For 2017, even the base 911 Carrera uses turbocharging to maximize both power and fuel-efficiency from its 3.0-liter flat-six engine, but doesn’t tout that hardware in its name. The venerable Turbo badge is reserved for the new Turbo and Turbo S using a larger displacement 3.8-liter engine to generate 540 and 580 horsepower respectively. The S, Porsche claims, can get to 60 mph in under 3.0-seconds, making it the first 911 to manage that feat.

After floating that number out there, Porsche spent the rest of its press conference touting its existing plug-in hybrids (Cayenne and Panamera) and the future 600-hp electric sports car as previewed by its Frankfurt show concept the Mission E. Until it arrives, Porsche remains confident that every third 911 will be sold in North America and that a third of those will wear a Turbo badge. Even if all 911s have turbos now.

Dr. Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG, introduces the Porsche Turbo, left, and the Porsche Turbo S vehicles at the North American International Auto Show Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 in Detroit.