2023 Brabus 900 Rocket R | PH Review

The last thing the 911 Turbo S really needed was more power. Brabus thought otherwise…

By Cam Tait / Sunday, 15 October 2023 / Loading comments

Anyone who’s ever thought the 992 generation Porsche 911 Turbo S was in need of more power has either never driven one, never been in one – or is downright mad. It’s a car that accelerates so violently that it’ll inflict pain on those who casually use launch control at a set of traffic lights. But some people like pain; the sort of folk who charge headfirst into a mosh pit or chow down a Carolina Reaper with a single bite. These aren’t 911 Turbo S people: they’re Brabus 900 Rocket R people.

We all know Brabus as the power-mad German tuner that likes to make fast Mercs go even faster, but in recent years it’s dabbled in boats, bikes, fashion (yes, really) and now Porsches. This first resulted in a ballistic 820hp upgrade for the 911 Turbo S, slashing the 0-62mph time to 2.5 seconds and upping the top speed to an electronically limited 211mph – and that actually counts in a country with limitless stretches of autobahn. But the firm wasn’t done, announcing a run of 25 ‘900 Rocket R’ models a few months ago that’d see nearly every nut and bolt of the Turbo S get ‘Brabusised’ (their word, not ours, promise).

The standout difference visually is the outlandish Widestar body kit. Granted, it looks a touch brash in the press shots, but in person it’s utterly jaw-dropping – and brimming with detail. The leaf-hungry exposed radiators up front, the sculpted intakes behind the doors and the gold finish of the carbon Kevlar lining poking through the many flics of the extended wheel arches. The kit stretches the width of the car to nearly two metres, with forged Monoblock P wheels dressed in 255 front and 335-section rear tyres filling the wheel arches. The new look isn’t just for posing, either. The body kit generates more downforce than the standard Turbo S, and there’s fully adjustable, in-house developed coilovers behind that ultra-low ride height.

At its heart is the same twin-turbo 3.7-litre flat-six as the standard Turbo S, though it’s been overhauled by Brabus’s crack engine experts. Out go the Porsche turbos, in go a pair of larger VTGs that pump up the boost to 1.9 bar. An Inconel exhaust and remap dial the power all the way up 900hp and 738lb ft of torque, which is transferred to allfour wheels through the standard Porsche eight-speed PDK. But perhaps the best upgrade is the new BoostXtra diverter valves that ‘produce a clearly audible blow-off noise’ off throttle.

Do they ever. Pottering around the sleepy German town of Bottrop is a riot when the cabin is filled with whooshes and whistles every time you come away from the gas. The genius of the regular Turbo S is that it can be docile and unassuming when needed, whereas the Rocket R reminds you at all times that it’s completely wild. Twisting the dial on the wheel from Comfort to Sport unlocks the full 900hp, while Sport+ sharpens up the throttle and gearbox response to the point where the Rocket R is furiously tugging at the leash.

On a derestricted stretch of autobahn, the Rocket R is finally let loose. The difference in acceleration over the Turbo S is admittedly small at first, given how devastatingly fast the base car is; it’s only when you approach 5,000rpm that the Rocket R comes into its own. At this point, another level of performance is unlocked and the part of your brain in charge of adrenaline hits goes into complete meltdown. At first, I had to lift off because I simply wasn’t prepared for how much more ferocious the power delivery would be over the standard car.

Another squeeze of the throttle and the cabin comes alive with the sound of turbos spooling once again. At this point, the speedo readout becomes utterly useless, not that I cared to look down because this was a two-lane autobahn with a line of lorries on the right-hand side. What was also quite alarming is that, occasionally, the Rocket R would find a groove in the road and gently tug at the wheel – and that’s quite terrifying at Brabus-grade speeds. Obviously, it doesn’t help that the surface quality of the autobahn network varies wildly, and it is remarkably settled on Germany’s local roads (which are far better than our own), but it does feel as though a degree of ride refinement has been sacrificed to attain that sinister look.

For the most part, however, the Rocket R feels like it’s been put together by a proper OEM. On the one hand, it’s not surprising given the scale of the firm’s facility in Bottrop, but on the other it only has a team of around 50 to 60 technical staff, which is small fry by manufacturer standards. The Turbo S is a highly complex base to work with, so the fact that PASM and the adjustable exhaust system work at the flick of a switch, as they would in a standard car, reflects the high standard the Rocket R adheres to. It knows when to back off when you select Comfort, too. Sure, it doesn’t play the GT as well as the standard Turbo S does, but it’s surprisingly docile at speeds non-Brabus people drive at.

Let’s be honest, the big draw of the Rocket R is that it looks cool, is stupidly fast, is incredibly rare and comes from one of the biggest tuning firms on the planet. Oh, and it’s kitted out with a herd’s worth of textured leather, which certainly makes it feel a lot snazzier (if a little over the top by Porsche standards). And that suits the Rocket R down to a tee. It’s not here to be sensible or understated. That’s what the Turbo S is for. Instead, it’s about excess. More speed, more carbon, more money. For that, and a fee of €549,130 (£475,126), Brabus has you well and truly covered.


Engine: 3,745cc flat-six, twin-turbo
Transmission: eight-speed dual-clutch auto, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 900@N/A
Torque (lb ft): 738@N/A
0-62mph: 2.5secs
Top speed: 211mph (limited)
Weight: 1,640kg (stock Turbo S)
CO2: N/A
Price: Starting €549,130

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