Sports cars and snow are mortal enemies, pitted against one another in an eternal-long battle for wintertime supremacy. Yes, Mother Nature can assault the land with mounds of snow higher than the hood, but engineers are a crafty bunch. All-wheel drive and the right set of snow tires can give any fishtailing sports car, such as the Porsche 911 Turbo S, a fighting chance to battle the frosty, frigid elements.
All-wheel drive is a staple in the 911 lineup, introduced 30 years ago on the 911 Carrera 4 (964) in 1988. To mark the technology's milestone, Porsche decided to put its all-wheel-drive system to quite the rigorous test – a slick and slippery ski slope in Scotland. If Porsche is going to display the greatness of its technology, no normal road will do.
The video, shot at the Glenshee Ski Center, opens with a group of leisurely skiers making their way down the slope. There are wide, panning shots of the slope before we see the tail end of a Miami Blue Porsche 911 Turbo S crouches. The tires spin, spitting back snow, as they claw for traction, quickly finding purchase before propelling the sports car up the ski slope. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
All-wheel drive has come a long way in 30 years. This 911 Turbo S employs the Porsche Traction Management system (PTM), which uses an electromagnetic clutch to shift engine torque between the two axles. Shifts happen in just 100 milliseconds. The PTM system works with the Porsche Stability Management system (PSM), which reads gas pedal and steering inputs, intervening when necessary to maintain traction.
Will most owners of a new Porsche 911 Turbo S put their sports car through such an arduous test? It's doubtful. However, for those few you don't mind driving their car all year through rain, snow, and ice, the added performance of all-wheel drive helps. However, the 580-horsepower biturbo 3.8-liter flat-six engine feels better suited for the race track and not the local ski slope.