When people think of Porsche, the first thing that comes to mind is often the silhouette of the 911 – and the flat engine. These engines are very close to every Porsche devotee’s heart. But what is so special about this particular design principle for an internal combustion engine?
The air-cooled flat engine has a special place in the hearts of its fans. But emotions only tell half the story. As well as revving its way into the affections of many, the flat engine has many interesting features that give it the edge from a design point of view. Its history dates back 122 years to 1896, when Carl Benz invented the flat engine. He called it the contra engine because its two cylinders worked in opposition to one another. This first boxer engine was intended to have a displacement of over 1.7 litres and deliver 5 hp. Its underlying design principle – both then and now – is that the cylinders should lie flat and slightly offset to each other, on opposite sides of the crankshaft.
The Porsche family tree of flat engines can be traced back to the VW Beetle. Its 1.1-litre, four-cylinder engine delivering 26 kW (35 hp) was installed by Ferry Porsche in his 356-001. Further engines followed, all of which were air-cooled until the 911 Type 993. In the top-of-the-range 911 Carrera RS, the 3.8-litre air-cooled flat engine achieved 221 kW (300 hp) without turbocharging. Two turbochargers boosted performance to 331 kW (450 hp).
The ideal choice for sports cars
The air-cooled flat engine is lightweight and flat, making it the ideal choice for sports cars, and particularly low designs are possible as the cylinders are lying flat. This lowers the centre of gravity, allowing for a sportier and more dynamic style of driving – and not just when cornering. If the flat engine is installed at the rear as in Porsche vehicles, traction is improved because the weight of the engine rests on the drive axle. Until all-wheel drive vehicles conquered the roads, Beetle and Porsche drivers agreed that a car with a rear-mounted engine was by far the best choice for winter conditions. The opposite is also true: When braking, the weight of a rear-mounted engine allows more braking force to be transferred to the rear wheels.
The flat engine – and especially its six-cylinder variant – is particularly smooth-running, with no free moments or free forces. The crank mechanism is ideally balanced, allowing short-stroke sports engines to cruise along at high speeds without excessive strain.
The 3.8-litre six-cylinder twin-turbo boxer engine of the 911 GT2 RS
One of the most characteristic features of the Porsche six-cylinder flat engines is the drop in fuel consumption as engine power increases. The concept underlying the flat engine involves a consistent lightweight construction, a low centre of gravity, outstanding revving ability and a high specific output thanks to advantageous charge cycles. All 911 engines need to be sporty as well as suitable for everyday use.
As a basic rule, it takes more effort to manufacture a flat engine than an in-line engine because a greater number of parts are needed. The flat engine needs two banks of cylinders with a valve train, plus cooling or injection. The flat engine is a particularly good candidate for air cooling because the individual cylinders are located far apart from each other and can therefore benefit from a direct flow of cooling air. The fact that the 911 flat engines have been water-cooled since the 996 model series is primarily a result of the four-valve technology. Four valves are a prerequisite for cutting fuel consumption and exhaust emissions while also boosting performance.
But this is only a point of interest for fans of water-cooled flat engines. No club with this name exists yet, but it surely will one day, when these engines stop being the latest technology and become part of history.
Porsche will be giving itself an excellent present for the 70th anniversary of its sports cars: the 911 Speedster Concept is a road-ready study of an open-top and particularly exciting sports car.
The anniversary model forges a link between the very first Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster, which received its operating permit on June 8, 1948, and the Porsche cars of today. With its pure concept and historically accurate execution, the 911 Speedster concept reflects the brand essence of the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer with precise clarity. A pure driving experience is the main emphasis of the car. The drive technology under the two-tone shell of the concept study is derived from the current GT models. It was developed at the Porsche Motorsport Centre, which is the birth place of the 911 GT2 RS and, most recently, the GT3 RS. The 911 Speedster Concept celebrated its world premiere as part of the official ‘70 years Porsche sportscar’ anniversary celebrations in Zuffenhausen. The concept study offers a glimpse of a potential series-production version, although this model may not be presented until 2019. A decision on whether to move ahead will be made in the coming months.
The characteristics of the 911 Speedster Concept include the shorter window frame with a more inclined windscreen and correspondingly shortened side windows. These features give the sports car study an even stockier profile with a very low fly line, which is reminiscent of its predecessors such as the Porsche 356 1500 Speedster. A special rear cover made of carbon fibre connects behind the front seats, covering a roll-over protection structure and featuring a ‘double bubble’, a traditional element of this sports car design since the 911 Speedster from 1988. Two contrasting black slats between the ‘humps’ add an aerodynamic touch, and a transparent Plexiglas wind deflector features an engraved ‘70 years of Porsche’ logo.
Lightweight principles of the Speedster philosophy
As dictated by the historic original, the 911 Speedster Concept also features a lightweight tonneau cover instead of a convertible top. This cover protects the car interior from rain when parked, and is attached using eight Tenax fasteners. The lightweight principles of the Speedster philosophy continue through into the interior, where the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems have all been eliminated. The full bucket seats are made of carbon, and the light brown Aniline leather covers in Cognac 356 pick up on features from the car’s classic predecessors.
The broad body of the concept car has been borrowed from the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, although the wings, front bonnet and rear cover of the concept are made of lightweight carbon-fibre composite material. The paintwork in the traditional colours of GT Silver and White harks back to Porsche’s early racing cars – as do many of the other carefully crafted details, such as the 50s-style central fuel tank cap positioned in the middle of the front bonnet, the classic Talbot shape of the exterior mirrors or the unique design of the main headlights. Transparent and opaque surfaces on the headlight covers produce a cross-like effect and are nod to a practice prevalent in Porsche’s early years in motorsport. At the time, the original headlights were taped before races to protect them against stone chipping and to prevent the glass from shattering. The wide B-pillars and the rear are decorated with milled, gold-plated Speedster lettering.
Below the bodywork, the 911 Speedster Concept relies on state-of-the-art components. The chassis essentially comes from the 911 GT3, with contrasting high gloss polished clover-leaf details on the imposing 21-inch rims in Fuchs design. It is the first time that these wheels are presented with centre locks. The GT developers also contributed the exhaust system with titanium tailpipes and the powertrain, which includes a six-speed manual transmission. The six-cylinder flat engine in this minimalist concept study delivers over 500 hp and reaches speeds of up to 9,000 rpm.
The history of Porsche Speedster models begins in the USA
Speedster variants of sports car models, which combine open-top driving pleasure with incredibly distinctive driving dynamics, have been part of the Porsche company history since 1952. The forefather of Porsche Speedster models, the 356 1500 America Roadster, had an aluminium body manufactured entirely by hand. It weighed 60 kilograms less than the 356 Coupé and its top speed of 175 km/h with its 70-hp four-cylinder flat engine was an impressive feat at the time. Featuring slot-in windows for the doors, a folding rain-cover top and lightweight bucket seats, this car developed exclusively for the US market was built just 16 times and already embodied several key elements of the Speedster design.
The rear are decorated with milled, gold-plated Speedster lettering
By 2010, eight different series and special models had been created with the ‘Speedster’ byname. The 356 A 1500 GS Carrera GT Speedster represented a highlight in 1957, and the first 911 Speedster followed in 1988. The 356 units of the 911 Speedster produced for the 997 series in 2010 saw a temporary end to the production of Speedster variants.
Atlanta, Georgia. Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) introduced a new 3-D augmented reality app - Porsche AR-Imagine - that literally places the brand into the hands of consumers and enthusiasts. The app allows users to design their Porsche vehicle and place it digitally into their personal environments - for example, their garages or driveways. Users can also customize their virtual Porsche by choosing exterior paint colors, wheel designs, and interior options. Once built, you can drive your sports car in 3-D augmented reality. The free app, available for the iPhone and iPad from the App Store in the United States, currently showcases three Porsche vehicles: the 911 Turbo S, 718 Boxster S, and Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo.
"Innovation is at the heart of Porsche," said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO at PCNA. "We're excited to offer consumers and enthusiasts a completely new way of experiencing our sports cars. For us to be wherever our fans are - with the Porsche of their dreams - is the road ahead."
The Porsche AR-Imagine app was built with the power of ARKit, which brings real-time 3-D graphics into the user's physical world.
Porsche and Apple have previously collaborated on supporting Apple CarPlay in select Porsche models. The Porsche AR-Imagine app is compatible with iPhone 6s or later, iPad Pro and iPad (2017) running iOS 11.
It was designed and developed for Porsche by YOU ARE HERE, an emerging technology lab in Atlanta, that helps brands and agencies take advantage of augmented and virtual reality (http://www.youareherecorp.com/).
Real-time remote assistance improves efficiency and can reduce service resolution time by up to 40 percent. Use of augmented reality in technical services for an even better service quality and customer experience
Atlanta, Georgia. Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA) today announced the introduction of "Tech Live Look," an Augmented Reality (AR) technology designed to improve technical services at Porsche dealerships in the United States.
"Tech Live Look" uses the AiR Enterprise™ software platform from Atheer, Inc., a leading provider of AR solutions, in conjunction with lightweight smart glasses. These high-tech spectacles feature the latest in projection technology and come equipped with a high-resolution, auto focus camera that shows even fine details such as threading on screws. The glasses include a powerful LED to illuminate dark spaces in the engine compartment or under the car.
How does this technology work? When a service technician at a dealership in Los Angeles dons this specialized eyewear and connects through the software with the Atlanta-based Porsche technical support team 2,200 miles away, it allows the support team to see exactly what he is seeing, in real time. This "see what I see" video-conferencing capability with instant access to remote experts allows both parties to quickly identify and resolve technical issues. It can also help decrease service resolution time by up to 40 percent, based on the findings of a pilot program undertaken in July 2017 at eight Porsche dealerships in California, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, and Washington, along with one in Canada.
"Tech Live Look" can do much more than just provide real-time video capability. It allows the technical support team to take screen shots or send technical bulletins and instructions onto the projection surface of the glasses while the service technician is working on the vehicle. This type of information exchange is far more efficient than sending emails and photos or explaining complex technical issues over the phone.
"Our main goal is to provide a better overall experience for our customers. Tech Live Look allows us to be more efficient and helps get vehicles back in the hands of our customers faster, all while still delivering exceptional service quality" explained Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of PCNA.
"Tech Live Look" will officially launch in dealerships in North America in 2018.
Enjoy a close-up experience of the history of Porsche at the Porsche Museum! Encounter legendary racing and sports cars, fascinating production models as well as unusual prototypes. More than 80 vehicles will take you from the early years all the way to the present days of Porsche’s history. Learn more: https://www.porsche.com/museum/en/
The continuity of the 911 design is unique in automotive history – from the first to the latest generation. Watch all of them including the one-millionth 911 in this video.
Zuffenhausen celebrates the original sports car and design icon
Atlanta, Georgia. It is the quintessential sports car for everyday driving, and a style icon that is unmistakable as both the face and heart of the Porsche brand: the 911. In Zuffenhausen today, the one-millionth model rolled off the production line - a Carrera S in the special color "Irish Green," with numerous exclusive features following the original 911 from 1963. The two-door car remains the most important model in the product range and is key in helping Porsche maintain its position as one of the most prestigious car manufacturers in the world.
Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Porsche AG, has been a part of the development of the 911 since day one: "54 years ago, I was able to take my first trips over the Grossglockner High Alpine Road with my father. The feeling of being in a 911 is just as enjoyable now as it was then. That's because the 911 has ensured that the core values of our brand are as visionary today as they were in the first Porsche 356/1 from 1948."
The Porsche 911 established a new category and remains at the pinnacle of the premium sports car segment. In 2016 alone, 32,365 vehicles were delivered worldwide - more than ever before. Nevertheless, it has maintained its exclusivity over the decades and has become a coveted collector's item. The quality of the 911 and Porsche vehicles in general, is legendary. Over 70 percent of all Porsche cars ever built are still ready to drive today. In addition, the Porsche 911 can consistently be found at the top of quality rankings such as the "Initial Quality Study" from the U.S. market research institute J.D. Power.
The mythology of the Porsche 911 has been cultivated by countless motorsport successes. No other sports car embodies this recipe for success quite like the 911. More than half of Porsche's over 30,000 race wins can be credited to the iconic car, and it still thrills private motorsport enthusiasts around the world in numerous racing series.
Porsche has never strayed from the founding concept of the original 911. "But we have continued to enhance the technology of the 911, refining and perfecting the sports car," says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, "that's why it remains a state-of-the-art and technically innovative vehicle. We have also been able to expand the model line very successfully through derivatives."
One significant factor in this success is the production site at the headquarters in Zuffenhausen, where all 911s ever built have been manufactured. Today, all two-door cars - 911, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman - and their various derivatives are handled on one assembly line thanks to a sophisticated production approach. The assembly workers are experts in up to 200 different tasks and, with their passion and knowledge, they ensure that each Porsche is delivered with the quality typical of the brand. Uwe Hück, Chair of the Group Works Council of Porsche, says: "I cannot imagine the success story of the 911 without our unique Porsche employees. Today, we have the one-millionth 911. The good thing about it is that our colleagues still make them with the same devotion as the first car. The construction of the Mission E at the Zuffenhausen site is ringing in a new era at Porsche. And it is clear that if we are to make it a success, we will need our highly qualified and motivated employees. They will make sure that the Mission E is an emotional experience just like our 911 has always been - and always will be."
The one-millionth 911 will not be sold. Before it moves on to enrich the collection at the Porsche Museum, it will embark on a world tour and will take road trips in the Scottish Highlands, around the Nürburgring, and in the USA, China, and beyond.
Highest performing 911 Carrera and Targa variants announced
Atlanta, Georgia.Porsche is expanding the 911 model line with five new GTS models: the 911 Carrera GTS with rear-wheel drive, the 911 Carrera 4 GTS with all-wheel drive - both available as a Coupé and Cabriolet - and the 911 Targa 4 GTS with all-wheel drive. The 3.0-liter flat-six cylinder with larger turbochargers delivers 450 horsepower, which is 30 horsepower more than the current 911 Carrera S and 20 horsepower above the previous, naturally-aspirated GTS model. All GTS variants are equipped as standard with a seven-speed manual transmission. The seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch transmission is available as an option.
More power, even greater performance
405 lb.-ft. of torque (37 lb-ft. more than the Carrera S) further improves acceleration and responsiveness. Maximum torque is available between 2150 and 5000 rpm. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) is included as standard on all GTS models. The GTS Coupés feature the PASM Sport Suspension, which drops the ride height by 0.39 inches (10 millimeters) compared to the PASM suspension, which is standard on all 911 models including the Cabriolet and Targa variants of the GTS. The 911 GTS Coupé models accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour 0.2 seconds faster than the respective Carrera S and 4S Coupés. When equipped with the optional PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) transmission, the Carrera 4 GTS Coupé takes just 3.4 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. The GTS Cabriolet and Targa models reach 60 mph 0.3 seconds faster than the comparable Carrera S/4S Cabriolet or Targa 4S models. Top track speed of the GTS models is up to 3 mph higher, depending on the variant. The 911 GTS Coupé with manual transmission and rear-wheel drive is capable of 193 mph.
Typically GTS: Black elements accentuate the high-performance character
The GTS models distinguish themselves within the 911 model line not only in terms of technology, but also in their design: All GTS variants are based on the Carrera 4/4S body, which measures 72.9 inches (1852 mm), even on the rear-wheel-drive models. The new Sport Design front end with a spoiler lip painted in black emphasizes the high-performance character. Combined with an increased rear spoiler extension height, it reduces lift on the front and rear axle compared to the Carrera S models. Tinted tail lights, rear lid grill strips with a satin black finish and tailpipes in high-gloss black, which are part of the standard Sport Exhaust system, give the GTS a particularly striking appearance. A new black trim strip between the tail lights is featured on the rear-wheel-drive variants. A light strip between the tail lights is reserved for the all-wheel-drive models. Sport Design exterior mirrors, 20-inch center lock wheels painted in satin black, and black GTS logos on the doors represent further visual enhancements. The characteristic Targa bar, which is black with a satin finish for the first time, also gives the 911 Targa 4 GTS a very distinctive look.
New Porsche Track Precision app included with extensive standard equipment
The GTS offers a unique interior. The stopwatch of the standard Sport Chrono Package is integrated as a central component of the dashboard. The included Porsche Track Precision App has been further enhanced for the market launch of the GTS models. Its features include automatic recording as well as a detailed display and analysis of driving data for smartphones. Standard Sport Seats Plus with GTS logos on the headrests provide increased lateral support and comfort. They are fitted with a combination of leather and Alcantara® that is highlighted with a new seat stitching. Alcantara® can also be found on the standard GT Sport steering wheel, the gear lever and the armrest. The brushed aluminum interior trim is anodized with a black finish.
The 2017 911 GTS models are available to order now and are scheduled to arrive at dealerships in the United States in April 2017. The MSRP for each model is as follows:
911 Carrera GTS: $119,000
911 Carrera 4 GTS: $125,900
911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: $131,300
911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet: $138,200
911 Targa 4 GTS: $138,200
2016 – it was a year of impressive models, beautiful moments and unique stories. We’ve made an attempt to collect all of these special moments in one video. Check it out.
Brand outranks other luxury manufacturers for second year in a row
Atlanta, Georgia. The Porsche brand has ranked highest among all nameplates, according to the latest J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study released November 11, 2016. The brand also placed higher than all other luxury manufacturers for the second consecutive year. Porsche improved upon its 2015 standing by 72 points to capture the overall ranking for the second time in the 30-year history of the SSI Study.
The SSI Study measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new-vehicle buyers and rejecters - those who shop a dealership and purchase elsewhere. Buyer satisfaction is based on four measures: working out the deal (25%); salesperson (19%); delivery process (16%); and facility (15%). Porsche ranked highest among all automotive brands across all four categories. Rejecter satisfaction is based on five measures: salesperson (10%); fairness of price (4%); experience negotiating (4%); facility (3%); and variety of inventory (3%). Porsche improved this year in the areas of price, facility and inventory.
"Customer satisfaction is our highest priority in our endeavor to deliver a unique and rewarding Porsche experience," said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America, Inc. "We pride ourselves on building exciting and innovative sports cars, but our success is ultimately measured by the approval and appreciation of our customers. I would particularly like to thank our dealer partners who have made it their mission to provide a benchmark experience for their clients who are purchasing a Porsche."
The 2016 SSI Study is based on responses from 28,979 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in April or May 2016. The study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle shopping and purchasing experience and measures customer satisfaction at U.S. dealerships.
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Images and photos copyright Porsche Cars North America, Inc., or Porsche Roslyn
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