Jessica Lynn WalkerCar and Driver
- The new 2021 Turbo S features the 911’s most complex active aerodynamics yet.
- Three moveable elements—a front spoiler, rear wing, and flaps ahead of the front radiators—combine for a host of possible combinations based on speed and mode.
- There’s also a new air-brake function that puts the front and rear elements to max-downforce at the front and rear during emergency braking to shorten stopping distances.
Porsche has been tinkering with active aerodynamics on the 911 since it launched the now-familiar pop-up rear spoiler on its core sports car line more than thirty years ago, a feature that’s continued on in every generation of the 911 since.
But the new 911 Turbo S features considerably more adjustability, with now three moving elements. The electrically controlled rear wing can extend by as much as 3.9 inches and also tilt forward in multiple steps to as steep as a 10.5-degree angle, flaps in front of the radiators on each side of the front end can open and close, and the front lip spoiler, which consists of three separate sections, is extended into multiple combinations by the force of compressed air from a small onboard compressor.
This makes for a host of possibilities based on speed and the mode selected. For example, in normal mode, the front flaps are open at low speeds, are regulated based on cooling needs between 43 and 93 mph, and then reopen above 93 mph. The rear wing stays put until 112 mph, when it extends. In sport mode, the front spoiler comes into play, extending at 75 mph, the same time as the rear wing. Sport plus gets more aggressive with the rear wing, extending higher and tilting forward to its maximum angle at 9 mph, while dialing back the angle slightly above 160 mph. The claimed top speed of 205 mph is achieved in sport mode, while sport plus provides maximum downforce (up to 375 pounds) but a slightly reduced top speed of 198 mph. In wet mode, the front spoiler stays put, while the rear wing extends, in an attempt to put slightly more force onto the rear tires for the sake of stability.
There’s also a new air-brake function, triggered by maximum braking, which extends both the front spoiler and rear wing to their maximum-downforce positions to improve stopping distances.
The system also adjusts based on minute criteria, such as if a coupe’s sunroof is open, or a convertible’s top is retracted, by tweaking the wing slightly among seven distinct positions. For example, the first level of wing extension is 2.0 inches on coupes and 2.7 inches on cabriolets. Porsche claims it also adjusts the control strategy slightly based on optional equipment present on a particular car.