Active aerodynamics continue to be a critical component of high performance Porsches, and the new 2021 911 Turbo S is no exception. It adds a number of new features to the suite of Porsche Active Aerodynamics (PAA) systems we’ve seen in past models. Conveniently, Porsche decided to detail everything in a massive information dump. Let’s dig in.
The ultimate goal of Porsche’s active aero remains the same: Maximum downforce for sporty driving and minimum drag for max speed and fuel economy. Saving a few drops of fuel may not seem like the most important aspect of a car with 640 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, but Porsche has always tried to push the edges of what may seem possible in its sports cars. There are three main systems that move on the 2021 911 Turbo S that affect the car’s aerodynamics, and we’ll dive into all three of them here.
Top: Fully retracted, Eco position; Bottom left: Extended but not tilted, Wet mode position; Bottom right: Extended and tilted, airbrake position
The new rear wing weighs about a pound less than the previous active wing through the use of lightweight materials, but it also has an 8% larger effective area. Its coolest new feature is its ability to act as an airbrake. If you hit the brakes hard at speed, the wing quickly moves into the “Performance position.” Porsche says this results in shorter braking distances and greater stability under heavy braking.
It’ll also deploy the wing into a high stability position (extended but not tilted) when the driver activates Porsche’s new Wet mode we saw debut on the standard 992. The rear wing and all other active aero are set to their maximum stability positions to keep the rear end glued to the wet surface as best as it can. Driving at high speeds is done in the “Performance II” position, which reduces the angle of attack when speeds exceed 162 mph. This reduces drag and also reduces the load on the rear tires, allowing Porsche to optimize tire pressures for high-speed maneuvers and everyday comfort to a greater extent than before. An “Eco” position with minimal wing is also available over a greater range of speeds, Porsche says.
An active front spoiler is less common in sports cars these days, but it’s an extremely useful feature. Porsche has enhanced the front spoiler from the previous 911 Turbo, because of course it has. Extension and retraction is quicker than before — the three segments are inflated via an air compressor. The module that runs the system is smaller than before, allowing for the tiniest bit more room in the front trunk (0.1 cu-ft).
When the extra downforce isn’t needed, the spoiler disappears and gives you greater clearance for parking and steep driveways. Ask for more downforce by swapping it into sportier modes, and the spoiler extends for maximum front downforce. High speed driving will only extend the outer areas of the lip so as to direct air around the car and reduce front lift.
Cooling air flaps
This feature is entirely new for the 911 Turbo S. The flaps in the front bumper pictured above are continuously adjustable, allowing the car to decide how much air it wants through the radiators. A computer decides what the best balance is between cooling, aero and the power it takes to run the radiator fan. Porsche says that results in the flaps being closed at speeds below 44 mph, while the flaps are 100 percent open above 93 mph. The flaps are also open when the driver manually puts the car in Sport, Sport Plus and Wet modes. It’ll also open up when stability control is turned off or the spoiler button is depressed.
Downforce has improved by 15% over the previous 911 Turbo S. The new best drag coefficient is 0.33 with all the various components in their most aerodynamic position. Expect to see the new 911 Turbo S in showrooms late in the year. The coupe starts at a hair-raising $204,850, and the convertible goes up from $217,650.