This is a brutal car that just kills road. The standard machine was stupid quick, but with a set of bigger turbos, a new air filter, stainless steel exhaust system and a reprogrammed ECU has resulted in a 580bhp lightning bolt.
We have long since insisted that the 997 Turbo is too good at its job, that it has raised the bar too high and removed the romance from the 911 driving experience. Now that is really not Porsche's fault, they built a crushingly competent car that a shaved monkey could drive at outrageous speed, and will. The GT3 and homicidal GT2 are the ones to choose for keen drivers, that's the mission statement, yet plenty have bought the range-topper expecting fireworks and been disappointed by the perfectly controlled pressure cooker on their drive. The tuners are waiting with open arms to add a shot of adrenaline to the cocktail of almighty performance, clockwork reliability and Continent-killing comfort. And as TechArt's machine slid violently out of line with three figures on the clock, a few choice words sprang to mind. Boring wasn't one of them. This is a brutal car that just kills road. The standard machine was stupid quick, but with a set of bigger turbos, a new air filter, stainless steel exhaust system and a reprogrammed ECU has resulted in a 580bhp lightning bolt. With more than 510lb/ft of torque available at less than 5000rpm it always has the capacity to shove the rear out of line on an uneven, bumpy track, and it's hellafast. It hammers past 60mph in just 3.46s with each corner twitching and pushing as the computers transferred the power nervously between the wheels. Porsche's system might be the fastest out there and this is just a few hundredths faster than the standard Tiptronic, but the conversion pushes the car into a whole new territory. Perfectly linear, even tedious acceleration, has gained a muscle car feel with the injection of a few more horses - it feels as intimidating as rocketship speed truly should. Noise is part of the equation and those interlinked exit pipes have been tuned to produce a more soulful, urgent note that sends every rev bouncing back through the cans. It's just a louder, slightly deeper note, but that's all it takes to turn a turgid, quiet engine into the fear of God. Of course the power transferred and the car straightened up without any kind of real input on my part, despite a little sawing at the wheel to make myself feel better, and the speedo raced past the 200kph mark while my heart skipped three fairly important beats. That's the beauty of the TechArt 911, it's got all the passion of a real car and a shaved chimp could still drive the thing. Only a bone fide driver can drift one, though. A slide, that's easy, but perfect drifts in leaving a gigantic O on the former airfield - that's an entirely different matter. That's where Ralph Niese comes in. He handles the press and marketing for the firm and is more than handy behind the wheel, too. After watching my attempts to keep the four-wheel drive machine in a constant slide he stepped in to help. See four-wheel drive might be the safest means of keeping the general public alive on the roads, but it makes a car hellishly difficult to slide safely thanks to the front wheels gripping, the whole car suddenly snapping the opposite direction and spinning out. This 911 was even harder, too, as the TechArt VarioPlus coil-over system has dropped it 25mm . It's a mighty clever bit of kit, that can be raised or lifted as normal with the button on the dash, but automatically stiffens up in response to hard driving. Combined with 8.5x20 front wheels and 12x20" rears dressed in ContiSportContact3 rubber, that means it takes more provocation than NATO to break its stance in the first place, which puts it close to a spin as soon as it loses traction. So a constant slide in this car requires a busy wheelman, ditching the opposite lock and steering into the slide as soon as the wheels start to grip, booting the throttle and starting the whole process all over again. It takes supreme skill, and Ralph is better at it than me so he can largely be thanked for the stunning pictures, along with snapper Lyndon of course. We went drift crazy because without the logo emblazoned down the side of the black beauty only true Porsche aficionados would spot the subtle differences from a standard 911. The changes are subtle, but they all add to a sledgehammer punch of a car that will make you search out the nearest airfield to leave stupid black lines and a cloud of dirty tyre smoke. Just nail it in a straight line and the car will go all the way to 210mph, which is insane, but it's more fun doing illicit stuff like this. The new front splitter, side skirts and reprofiled rear wing add 15 per cent more downforce at the front and 20 per cent at the rear, so the high-speed stability has probably improved and there are customers that will feel the difference. But the 997 Turbo offers more mechanical grip than the average torture device and if you're pushing the envelope of the unseen forces pressing down on the car then the chances are you were trying to kill yourself in any case. Most aero kits offer a statement of intent rather than any kind of real technical advantage. This one works while butching up and seemingly stretching the whole car, squaring up the jaw and permanently erecting the rear. And it's just the first instalment. TechArt will have stages two and three on offer before long, but I like this quiet riot of a kit and while more power would be more than welcome - they can keep the acid flashback aesthetics. Buying the most subtle supercar that money can buy and then blinging it up relentlessly is just a little nuts, this machine treads the right balance between flash and dash and I might be tempted to leave the outside alone altogether. But the beauty of TechArt is that they appeal across the board, from company directors, Paul Tracy and Keke Rosberg through to Sylvester Stallone and the King of Jordan. They all have money, but it's a pretty broad taste demographic, from refined and subtle to regal, to plastic surgery and steroids. There's no pigeon-holing these customers, the Leonberg concern caters for everyone. Thomas Behringer started the firm at the age of just 27, just two years after graduating from university and joining local tuner Gemballa. He wasn't happy with the approach down the road and proceeded to turn a small and nondescript German town into a civil war ground with two of the world's biggest tuners separated by just a few miles. Which in this car, could disappear pretty damned fast.