Life used to be easy for the 911 Turbo. It would show up for a supercar shootout, win the acceleration and braking tests and be commended for its challenging handling only the experienced could exploit. Sometimes it would win simply on respect alone.
Then the horsepower wars escalated and the playing field leveled. The Turbo came under assault from all directions: Ferrari and Lamborghini improved their game, while Audi and Mercedes joined the party. But it was the Nissan GT-R that would be the really painful wake-up call – it out-gadget’ed, out-tech’ed and simply out-ran the Turbo for a lot less coin.
Add to that cars like the 662hp Shelby Mustang or 580hp ZL1 Camaro making the 500hp Turbo look inadequate and you’ve got the recipe for a meltdown.
Luckily, Turbo owners don’t have to back down from a challenge because their car is also a tuner favorite. Horsepower figures from tuned engines have risen to stratospheric heights in the past few years. Big numbers can take a lot of work and deep pockets, of course. But owners who wish to stay ahead of the pack need to investigate their options.
One of the latest is AWE Tuning’s Project 750R. Focusing primarily on the ECU, turbos and exhaust system, AWE was able to integrate everything to create a steroidal bump in power while still retaining daily drivability.
Starting with a six-speed manual 2010 997.2 Turbo, AWE replaced the stock exhaust system with parts of their own design. Their headers were made of 321-grade stainless steel, while the 3" stainless-steel exhaust houses 200-cell cats before the gas is ejected through bullet-style mufflers.
The factory Variable Turbine Geometry turbos spin larger forged aluminum compressor wheels developed by AWE and BorgWarner in a joint venture. The housings were also machined to accept the compressors.
The vanes retain their ability to change angle to create optimum airflow. However, maximum boost rose from 14psi in Sport mode to 20psi, which is sustained throughout most of the powerband, only tapering off close to redline.
The bigger turbos required high-flow intercoolers to move enough air, which in turn contributed to faster spool times.
Although the injectors and fuel pump remain stock, AWE worked with longtime partner GIAC to optimize the engine management. Logging extensive hours on the dyno and on the road, the combined modifications are good for 700hp at 6590rpm and 617 lb-ft at 4710rpm on 93-octane, according to AWE. Switching to 100-octane race gas will give peak output of 750hp, hence the “750R” title.
The engine fired instantly and settled into a steady, insulated metronome of controlled explosions. The AWE exhaust is loud enough to let you know it’s not stock, but didn’t overwhelm with reverb or low frequency droning.
Without it, you couldn’t tell the engine was modified when you pull away because even the stage 2.5 Sachs clutch felt stock.
Once underway, there’s practically no lag because the turbos get in on the act early, providing good motivation. And like a stock Turbo, it doesn’t take much throttle to get that unmistakable turbo-torque surge – the tacho needle barely moves but you can feel your backside being pressed into the seat.
During our test drive we played tag with AWE’s modified Audi TT RS on the highways around Philly. The RS would open a sizeable gap after a slow corner, only to be reeled in easily by the Turbo. This highlighted the divide between 400hp and 700hp, or a middleweight’s reactions versus a heavyweight’s power punch.
Traffic wasn’t kind to us, but we were able to feel the full effect of the torque curve: it’s more like a plateau than bell-shaped, except this plateaus much higher than stock.
Step on the throttle and you feel the weight transfer press on the rear-end. Then, like a jet leaving an aircraft carrier, it seared the asphalt and catapulted toward the horizon. There’s no let up, just a relentless pull towards redline. Try to block out the sounds of wind and inhaling intercoolers and you might be able to hear a ripping sound – that’s the fabric of space/time being torn to shreds.
Power reaches the ground via 235/35 front and 305/30 rear Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires. They were fitted to AWE’s custom forged five-spoke wheels that measure 19x8.5 and 19x11.5", respectively.
Keeping them in contact with the tarmac, AWE chose Bilstein DampTronic coilovers for their adjustability and ride comfort, even on rough East Coast roads. They were firm and controlled without being abusive to your spine.
To slow things down, the tuner installed a Brembo Gran Turismo brake kit consisting of six-piston calipers front, four-piston rear with 15" two-piece drilled discs all around. As you’d expect, pedal feel was exceptional: firm and easy to modulate.
The exterior remained stock save for a carbon Vorsteiner rear wing and AWE’s signature graphic treatment.
The company prides itself on building daily-driven supercars that perform better than stock, yet are no more difficult to slog through rush hour traffic. In our opinion, they nailed it with Project 750R, which gave up nothing in terms of comfort or drivability but certainly delivered where you want it most!
2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
3.8L six-cylinder with AWE/BorgWarner VTG turbos, AWE stainless steel headers, exhaust and intercoolers, AWE/GIAC software
six-speed manual transmission, stage 2.5 Sachs clutch
Bilstein DampTronic adjustable coilovers
Brembo Gran Turismo six-piston calipers f, four-piston r, 15" cross-drilled rotors all round
Wheels & Tires
19x8.5" f, 19x11.5 r AWE Tuning forged wheels, 235/35 R19 f, 305/30 R19 r Bridgestone Potenza RE050A tires
Vorsteiner carbon rear wing, awe graphics