“Whenever you are ready!”
With that command from my instructor Paul Robinson in the passenger seat, I floored the right pedal of the latest Porsche 911 Turbo S. The g-force thrusted me deep into the bucket seat of the fastest 911 ever.
Seventy-five metres later, with the speedo showing 125km/h, I stomped on the brake pedal and the 3.8-litre 6-cylinder, biturbo 580bhp Porsche performance flagship came to a stop in an impressive 35 metres.
The official zero-to-hundred timing of the car is 2.9 seconds, but Porsche is being conservative. It is faster than that.
This rip-it-and-brake exercise at Sepang International Circuit was one of the five experiences Porsche designed for participants at their Porsche World Roadshow (PWRS) recently. It has been held in over 45 countries for more than 42,000 potential customers and Porsche enthusiasts to sample the complete model range.
Other aspects of the day-long programme included a slalom in the latest 718 Boxster; piloting all variants of the Macan, Cayenne, Panamera and 911 on the F1 circuit led by an instructor’s lead car, and getting Cayennes dirty in an off-road circuit.
The highlight of the day was the chance to find out how the newly minted mid-engine 718 Boxster and 718 Boxster S handled amongst the 20 other Porsches.
The latest two-seater has lost two cylinders and gained a turbocharger. In the entry-level Boxster, the now flat-4 engine is a road-tax-friendly 2-litre producing 300bhp. This is 35bhp more than the 2.7-litre flat-6 found in the last entry-level Boxster. It is enough to speed up to 100km/h from standstill in 4.7 seconds with the 7-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox and Sport Chrono Package. That is one second faster than the outgoing model.
The new engine has, however, lost its melodious singing voice after the surgery to remove a pair of cylinders. But Porsche has debrided and sutured it such that there is still some operatic power to its vocals.
An evolutionary redesign of the Mark III Boxster, the Mk IV looks more purposeful with its cleaner lines. Neutral and agile are two adjectives to describe the handling, which was best showcased in the slalom.
The 718 Boxster S is 500cc bigger in capacity than its smaller sibling and has 50bhp more. It completes the century sprint in 4.2 seconds with the same gearbox package. On the track, it could nibble at the heels of the 911 Turbo around the turns, though it loses out to the more powerful 911 on the straights.
The off-road segment showed what the Cayenne could do (and with standard low-profile road tyres). Since almost all of Cayenne owners do not go off-road, it was a chance to demonstrate that the big SUV is not just for school runs and grocery shopping, but is also highly capable in the dirt with Off-road Mode and Porsche Hill Control activated.
The instructors rounded up the day by giving participants a taxi ride in the top-of-the-range Cayenne, Panamera and 911.
Paul Robinson, the lead instructor quipped, “Earlier today, we were frightened by you. Now it is our turn to frighten you!”