Porsche Dynamic Cornering Lights: JZM 997 Turbo S

Spending some time with my friends at JZM Porsche in Hertfordshire at the minute, as their free ‘Saturday Surgery’ enthusiast campaign gets started, and a Junior Sports Stars sponsorship plan we are cooking up together takes shape.

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A recent arrival to the JZM used Porsche stock list is this beautiful 2010 997 Turbo S Cabriolet, in Basalt Black with just six thousand miles. Utterly perfect, the car arrived off the back of a chance conversation on a train down to London – JZM’s Jonas inspires that sort of confidence.

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Turbo S Cabs are rather special Porsches. Cream of the luxury 911 range, they’re just about the dearest non-track* Porsche available. As you’d expect with a Porsche of this price, the Turbo S has everything. I was most interested in the Porsche Dynamic Lighting System (PDLS), part of the Bi-Xenon package on this PDK Turbo S Cabriolet, including the amazing cornering lights. Porsche describes PDLS like this:

To explore your own direction, you need to be alert, especially at night. The optional Porsche Dynamic Light System (PDLS), which comprises Bi-Xenon (TM)  headlights with halogen auxiliary low beam headlights, a headlight cleaning system and automatic dynamic range control, helps you by providing uniform illumination of the road with both low or high beam.

Porsche Cayenne Cornering Lights

The dynamic cornering light function swivels the main headlights towards the inside of a bend based on the steering angle and road speed. In addition, PDLS adapts light distribution to suit your current driving speed. The adverse weather function is activated when the rear fog light is switched on. This provides increased visibility – not least in corners and not only at night.

Swivelling headlights are nothing new. Motorbikes have had them forever, and the Citroen DS enjoyed directional lighting back in the 1960s. As a lifelong anorak of hydraulic Citroens, I’ve driven the DS with cornering lights and they are certainly interesting, but the Porsche tech takes it to another level.

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My driving day at Silverstone last December with the current Porsche range ended with time in a PDK 991 Carrera S Coupe, on the kick plate and handling circuit. As the last of the light disappeared and darkness descended, driving consultant and fellow 911 owner Gary had me ripping around faster and faster, holding the throttle down in places I would never consider with normal road lighting, all thanks to PDLS.

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The sharpness of the 991’s headlights with Bi-Xenon and cornering lights was truly astonishing. It’s not that you can see around the bends, but you can see the edges of direction and grip much clearer, and having that extra 10 or 15 metres of bright white light gives a confidence you won’t find with normal fixed Xenons.

I’m often asked what options I would choose on a new Porsche to drive every day. I normally say heated sports seats, iphone hook up, paint to order and that’s it. Add PDLS to my list for the future: it’s just too good not to have every drive.

*non-track: you know what I mean