- Mind-bendingly quick
- Loves back roads
- Porsche engineering
- Expensive option
- Tires make a difference
- Perhaps too easy to drive fast
For the first time ever, Porsche offers a dedicated Lightweight package for its 911 Turbo S that the company says lowers its curb weight by just more than 65 pounds. We borrowed this Racing Yellow example to see if this new “added lightness” makes a difference in the 911 Turbo S’ performance results that were already mind-boggling.
For $10,340, Porsche includes lightweight and sound-insulated glass, one-piece carbon-fiber bucket seats, a sport exhaust system, and a PASM adaptive sport suspension that lowers the car by 10mm. Additionally, Porsche removes the quilted seat centers and door panels, the rear seats, some of the insulation/sound deadening materials, and the option for heated seats and a memory package. If we’re counting nickels, this all boils down to $156.66 per pound of weight reduction. This 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S also featured the $3,890 optional carbon-fiber roof that’s good for saving about 2 additional pounds (900 grams) compared to the standard steel roof. So we’re looking at about a 68-pound difference altogether compared to a non-lightweight 911 Turbo S. Indeed, our scales determined the lightened 911 Turbo S weighs a relatively svelte 3,550 pounds with a full tank of gas.
Compared to What?
Luckily, we previously tested a 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S without the package. Interestingly, that car had some of the Lightweight’s options: lightweight glass, PASM, sport exhaust, and the same optional center-locking Turbo S-exclusive wheels. Standard equipment on both includes a lightweight LiFePO4 battery (itself a 32-pound savings over a lead-acid battery) and rear-steering axles. The standard 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S’ measured weight was 3,628 pounds (with the same 38/62 front/rear distribution), or 78 pounds more than the Lightweight we tested. We blame its optionally ventilated seats for bumping the weight difference up from 68 pounds.
At the Dragstrip
With its 3.7-liter, 640-hp, 590-lb-ft twin-turbo flat-six, highly effective and repeatable launch control, all-wheel drive, plus an eight-speed twin-clutch transmission, launching the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S off the line and to 30 mph is as easy as falling off a two-legged stool. Both cars made that initial burst in precisely 0.9 second. This ties the record also held by the 1,020-hp Tesla Model S Plaid. Keeping the throttle pinned to the floormat, 60 mph arrived in 2.2 seconds for the 911 Turbo S Lightweight and 2.3 for the standard car.
By the time 100 mph whizzed by, the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Lightweight was 0.4-second ahead at 5.2 seconds. Crossing the finish line of the quarter mile, the standard car made the trip in 10.3 seconds at 132.3 mph to the Lightweight’s 10.0-second, 137.8-mph best. Close, indeed, but we’re a bit perplexed by the 5.5-mph speed differential. Just for fun, in a 0-100-0 contest, the Lightweight won by a tenth at 9.3 seconds.
Braking from 60 mph to a full stop, the standard 911 Turbo S stopped a foot shorter at 97 feet. Since they both had standard 16.5-inch front/15.4-inch rear vented, drilled, carbon-ceramic brake discs, we’re going to put that foot down to different spec tires; more on that below.
Grip and Handling
While both tire options are offered as original equipment and both were the same size (front: 255/35R20, rear: 315/30R21) with near the same (220 vs. 240) treadwear, the same AA traction, and A temperature ratings, the standard 911 Turbo S wore Pirelli P Zero (PZ4) NA1 tires, and the Lightweight version had Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport NA0 tires.
These tires provided nearly identical maximum average lateral acceleration figures (standard 911 Turbo S 1.10 g; 911 Turbo S Lightweight 1.09g). They also produced MotorTrend‘s figure-eight best laps within a tenth of a second of each other (standard 22.5 seconds; Lightweight 22.6 seconds). However, finding these tires’ limits proved a very different experience.
Probing the threshold was far more difficult with the Goodyears compared to the Pirellis. The Pirelli rubber provided gobs of useful information to the driver approaching the limits of grip, and they delivered a gradual breakaway when exceeding those limits. This frees up the driver’s mental workload to find the best techniques to make a best lap without spinning off course.
The Goodyear tires were conversely edgy, hard to predict, and snapped abruptly. Putting together one completely slide-free lap was very challenging considering the pace of the 2021 911 Turbo S Lightweight. These tires made this new 911 feel like 911s of yore, prone to oversteer under braking, and at turn-in, mid-corner, and exit. If you have a choice, pick the Pirellis.
Lightweight Package: Worth It?
From MotorTrend‘s performance results, no, not really. And we’re not surprised: With just a 78-pound difference between the two 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S models we tested, we didn’t think it would make a massive difference. The one-piece carbon-fiber buckets and rear-seat delete notwithstanding, the standard car proved you could à la carte the rest of the package’s items for l
ess money ($6,250) and see similar performance results. Still, there might be some future, higher regard for the exclusivity of a Porsche 911 Turbo S Lightweight. It’s easy to imagine a future auctioneer spotting the lack of rear seats and announcing, “This 992-generation Porsche 911 Turbo S has the extremely rare Lightweight package that had a 2-percent take rate, making it one of a handful in existence. The bidding starts at … ” So, think of it as an investment.
|2021 Porsche 911 Turbo S Lightweight Specifications|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$226,550|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Rear-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe|
|ENGINE||3.7L twin-turbo direct-injected DOHC 24-valve flat-6|
|POWER (SAE NET)||640 hp @ 6,750 rpm|
|TORQUE (SAE NET)||590 lb-ft @ 2,500 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed twin-clutch auto|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3,550 lb (38/62%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||178.6 x 74.9 x 50.9 in|
|0-60 MPH||2.2 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||10.0 sec @ 137.8 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||98 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||1.09 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||22.6 sec @ 0.93 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||15/20/17 mpg|
|EPA RANGE, COMB||299 miles|
Looks good! More details?