When it comes to tuning cars, few companies do it better than Ruf Automobile. Matt Farah of The Smoking Tire recently had the chance to test drive a Ruf RTurbo, which is a unique sports car that’s based on the 996 generation of the Porsche 911. Here’s a little background on why the RTurbo is so unique and what Farah had to say about it.
Although Ruf is known for tuning cars, it’s actually considered a regular automaker by the German government. That’s because Ruf doesn’t technically tune cars. Instead, Ruf takes the chassis of a Porsche, in this case, that of a 996, and then builds its cars from there. Thus, despite the fact that a Ruf car has the chassis of a Porsche, practically everything else is different.
It’s worth talking about the 996 generation a little bit because of how different those cars were compared to other Porsches. The 996 generation of Porsches were built between 1997 and 2006 and they had a brand new lightweight chassis that redefined the line of sports cars.
However, there were flaws with the rest of the car and that’s why Porsche eventually replaced the 996 with the 997. These flaws were also a reason why Farah, as he said in the video, considered the 996 as his least favorite Porsche to drive. He clarified that he doesn’t hate the 996, but that it’s simply the worst Porsche out there, for him at least.
The test drive
That disliking of the 996 was a big reason why Farah enjoyed driving the RTurbo so much. The RTurbo had the chassis of the 996 but Ruf upgraded everything else, including its engine. Rather than sporting a respectable, especially in the 90s, 415 hp engine, Ruf fitted a 515 hp engine onto the RTurbo.
That’s just the base variant, the one that Farah drove, though. Ruf also had a 590 hp option for the RTurbo. That massive jump in power was easily felt by Farah, who described the RTurbo as “a missile.”
Farah first took the RTurbo around some winding roads to test its braking and handling capabilities. Farah was especially impressed by the brakes of the RTurbo. He also complimented the handling, although he did mention that he had a harder time steering because of how cramped the RTurbo was.
The RTurbo is a small car to begin with, but Farah mentions the fact that the owner of the car had installed a roll cage in the back, and thus, the seats couldn’t go back very far. This meant that the RTurbo was very cramped for Farah and so, he couldn’t steer as well as usual.
After testing the corners, Farah set out to try to see if the RTurbo can become the missile of a car that Ruf is known for making. Along a long, straight road, Farah went as fast as he could and he felt all 515 horses that the RTurbo had to offer. After slowing down, he remarked that it was definitely as fast as he thought it would be.
However, he also mentioned that despite having a top speed of 210 mph, he felt that the RTurbo has a very manageable top speed, especially when compared to modern supercars which can go even faster. That said, Farah did have one critique of the RTurbo.
Farah felt that if you drive in the lower RPM range, the RTurbo feels sluggish and stressed out. It feels great if you’re at the higher RPMs, but, according to Farah, if you’re driving below 3,700 rpm, you can really feel that sluggishness. Farah recommends driving in the right gear to avoid that feeling of the car being stressed out.
Overall though, Farah returned the RTurbo to its owners and left impressed by the German sports car.