Customers score sales experience with Porsche higher than any other brand
Atlanta, Georgia. New car customers rated Porsche as the top brand in J.D. Power’s annual Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study released today.
Porsche improved its overall ranking by three spots in 2018 compared to last year’s SSI Study. With an increase of 10 points to a total of 828, Porsche ranked higher than any other brand.
“This achievement is the result of a customer-focused strategy that has been superbly executed by our 190 U.S. dealer partners,” said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America, Inc. “First and foremost, this award is for our dedicated dealers, who have invested significant time in training for their employees and committed $500 million to improving facilities in just the last five years.”
The SSI Study provides an analysis of the purchase experience from a customer perspective. It is based on responses from 25,748 people who purchased or leased new vehicles this year.
Particular high points for customers who bought or leased a Porsche between April and May 2018 included the delivery process, dealership facilities, and working out the details of the transaction. Porsche shoppers also expressed satisfaction with salespeople and inventory.
Zellmer noted that in the first 10 months of this year, Porsche sales in the U.S. were up 3.2 percent compared to the same period in 2017. “We are glad to see growth going hand-in-hand with continually improving the customer experience,” he said.
Los Angeles. Faster, Porsche presented the 8th generation of the 911 in Petree Hall at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “California is the ideal place to introduce the new 911. California has been like a second home to Porsche for decades,” comments Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG. “The 8th generation of the 911 is even more powerful, even more emotional, and even more efficient than its predecessor – and also offers extensive digital features. And in spite of all the innovations, the 911 is still just what it has always been: a pure sports car and the pulsing heart of Porsche: our icon.”
Unmistakably committed to the Porsche design DNA, sporting a much more muscular look and an interior featuring a 10.9-inch touchscreen monitor, the new 911 is timeless – and also modern. Intelligent control and chassis elements as well as innovative assistance systems combine the masterfully uncompromising driving dynamics for which the classic rear-engine sports car is famous, with the demands of the digital world.
The next generation of twin-turbocharged flat-six engines has been further developed and is more powerful than ever before, offering 443 hp in the S models. The efficiency of the powertrain has been optimized by an improved injection process as well as a new layout for the turbochargers and charge air cooling system. The engine is mated to a new eight-speed PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) dual-clutch transmission. A manual transmission will be available at a later date. The top track speeds are now 191 mph (Carrera S) and 190 mph for the Carrera 4S all-wheel-drive version. Additional highlights include the standard Porsche Wet Mode, an innovative world first designed to make driving on wet roads even safer, optional Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera, as well as comprehensive connectivity that uses swarm data when Porsche Connect Plus is activated.
Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board for Sales and Marketing at Porsche AG, emphasized the importance of the North American market for the sports car manufacturer: “U.S. customers purchased more than 55,000 Porsches in 2017, and the American importer and distributor Porsche Cars North America is on track to achieve a new record figure in 2018. Ultimately, no model better symbolizes the American love affair with Porsche than the 911. One in three Porsche 911s built in Zuffenhausen goes to the USA.”
An exterior design that draws on earlier generations of the 911
The exterior design is familiar and yet unmistakably new. The eighth-generation 911 is wider, more assertive, and more advanced. Wider fenders arch over the large 20-inch wheels at the front and 21-inch wheels at the rear. All models now feature the wider body previously reserved for 911 Carrera 4, GTS and GT3 models, which is 1.7 inches (44 mm) wider at the rear fenders. The front end of all models – now 1.8 inches (45 mm) wider – revives a traditional feature of earlier 911 generations: a front luggage compartment lid with a distinctive recess in front of the windshield. Both elements visually lengthen the front of the vehicle and give it a particularly dynamic appearance. At the same time, the newly developed LED headlights illustrate how technology has advanced in the 911. These headlights are integrated into the fenders almost seamlessly, and feature the round and upright shape characteristic of classic 911 models. Flush integration of the door handles that extend when needed emphasize the tapered and smooth side contour. The exterior mirrors have also been redesigned and are optimized to reduce wind noise.
The rear of the new 911 is dominated by the significantly wider, variable-position spoiler and the seamless, elegant light bar. The vertically arranged louvers of the rear decklid grille above the air intake echo the contours of the rear window. As a distinguishing feature, the rear-wheel-drive Carrera S models have black louvers, while the all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S models have silver elements. The centrally located third brake light has also been integrated into the rear decklid grille. Since this is obscured when the rear spoiler is extended, there is a second brake light mounted in the spoiler itself. With the exception of the front and rear fasciae, the entire outer skin of the car is now made of aluminum.
Redesigned interior with clear lines
The interior is distinctive, with clear, straight lines and recessed instruments defining the dashboard. The 911 models from the 1970s provided the inspiration here as well. As in the original 911, the new dashboard covers the entire width between two horizontal levels. Alongside the centrally positioned tachometer, two thin, frameless freeform displays provide information to the driver. Below the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system, a control panel of five buttons with the look of classic toggle switches creates the transition to the center console controls. The seats have also been fundamentally modified. The adapted geometry offers significantly better lateral support in the shoulder areas. Although the seat is now positioned five millimeters lower than in the previous model and has a minimally thinner seat cushion, seating comfort has been improved overall.
In the area of digitalization, the 911 takes the next step into the future with further improved connectivity, as well as new functions and services. The standard PCM system features Porsche Connect Plus including online traffic information based on swarm data. (A subscription is required after an initial 12 month trial period.)
New assistance systems increase safety and comfort
As a world first, Porsche has developed the Wet Mode, which is included as standard equipment on the 2020 Porsche 911. This function detects water on the road, preconditions the stability control and anti-lock brake systems accordingly, and warns the driver. The driver can then call up vehicle settings particularly suited for wet roads at push of a button, or by means of the mode switch on the steering wheel (when fitted with the optional Sport Chrono Package). The camera-based warning and brake assist system, also fitted as standard, detects the risk of collision with other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. It initiates emergency braking when necessary. Night Vision Assist with a thermal imaging camera is optionally available for the 911 for the first time. The Adaptive Cruise Control option includes automatic distance control, stop-and-go functionality, and an innovative Emergency Assist function.
The next generation of flat-six engines
The turbocharged flat-six engines also enter a new generation with the new 911. The primary focus of advanced development here was on further enhancing performance. New, larger turbochargers with a symmetrical layout and electrically controlled wastegate valves, a completely redesigned charge air cooling system, and use for the first time of piezo fuel injectors all improve the engine in key areas: responsiveness, power, torque characteristic, endurance and its free-revving nature. The enhanced engines make 443 horsepower at 6,500 rpm, 23 hp more than the previous model. The maximum torque of 390 lb-ft (22 lb-ft up from the previous model) is available within a wide powerband from 2,300 to 5,000 rpm.
The 2020 911 Carrera S has a base MSRP of $113,200, while the 2020 911 Carrera 4S will start at $120,600, each not including the delivery, processing and handling fee of $1,050. The new models can be ordered now and are expected to reach U.S. dealers in Summer 2019.
The Porsche 911 mythology, right on the wrist
Porsche Design is honoring the new generation of the 911 with a special-edition watch limited to 911 pieces: the “911 Chronograph Timeless Machine Limited Edition.” The unmistakable design of the automotive icon is reflected in the puristic design of this timepiece and the contours of the titanium housing. Even the generously dimensioned black dial is derived from its motorized forerunner. The white pointers and indicators guarantee maximum readability both in the cockpit and on the wrist. The totalizator at 6 o’clock references the sports car icon with the markings at 3/6/9 and 11. The same is true for the silhouette of the 911 on the dial, and the strap that is produced using genuine Porsche interior leather. The special edition watch will be available from April 2019 in an exclusively boxed edition which also includes a special limitation badge.
The masterpiece from Zuffenhausen – seven past generations of an icon
A legend was born at the International Motor Show Germany (IAA) in Frankfurt. September 12, 1963: Porsche presented the highly anticipated successor to the 356 – a sports car had started the car manufacturer’s brand history in Gmünd, Austria some 15 years prior. 111,995 examples of the original 911 – initially called the 901 – were built before the model was discontinued.
Ten years later, in 1973, the G series 911 launched with fundamental changes. Many of these became necessary because of stricter safety requirements around the world. Porsche relied on powerful turbo engines and a galvanized body in its top model, additionally launching a Cabriolet version of the 911 and the Speedster, alongside the Targa. 198,496 Porsche 911 G Series cars were built up to 1989.
Its successor, referred to internally as type 964, was first shown in 1988. The first model variants of the 964 generation show just how advanced the new 911 was: all-wheel drive was introduced to the series for the first time on the Carrera 4, with Porsche having originally designed it for the 959 high-performance sports car. The 911 Carrera 2 with rear-wheel drive followed in 1989. Along with the Coupé, the Cabriolet and Targa versions also celebrated their debut at the same time. 85% of the 964 was made from newly designed parts. 63,762 third-generation Porsche 911s were produced within six years.
The fourth generation of the 911 – the type 993 – is today considered one of the most desirable editions. Initially, Porsche offered it only as a Coupé and Cabriolet. The Targa made its debut in 1995, incorporating a new concept: instead of a removable folding roof panel, it had a glass roof with a large surface area, which could be retracted under the rear window. The era of air-cooled engines also ended in 1998 after the production of 68,881 vehicles.
With the fifth generation of the 911, Porsche switched to water-cooled engines. The type 996 represents the biggest departure in this classic’s family tree. The company was in a state of financial upheaval. After 34 years, the sports car manufacturer comprehensively realigned its icon with the 996 generation. The focus was on reducing production costs by ensuring the greatest possible compatibility of parts with other models such as the new Boxster (986), and updated safety and emissions features. Production ended in 2005. With 175,262 units sold, the 996 is the long-underestimated success model up to that point in the history of the 911.
From 2004, the type 997 Porsche 911 became more multifaceted than ever: customers could choose from a Coupé or Targa, Cabriolet or Speedster, rear- or all-wheel-drive, narrow or wider body, with water-cooled naturally aspirated and turbo engines, a GTS or the GT2, GT2 RS or GT3 derivatives, or either of two GT3 RS models. Including special models, the range had a total of 24 model variants – supplemented by a wide range of personalization options. With 213,004 vehicles built, the sixth generation of the 911 again hit a new production record.
From 2011, the 991 embodies the highest development stage of the Porsche 911 to date. It is an extraordinary reflection of this sports car manufacturer’s leitmotif: striving for the best possible efficiency. This can be seen in all aspects, starting with its evolved design. A more compact silhouette, tension-charged surfaces, and precisely defined details mean the 991 looks more powerful than any other previous 911 – an effect heightened by the wider track and the wheelbase that was extended by ten centimeters. It also features adaptive aerodynamics: the 911 is the first series sports car from Porsche to adopt these from the 918 Spyder hybrid supercar. The 991 generation of the 911 is the absolute best seller in the history of this icon. 217,930 of them were built by October 31, 2018. In total, Porsche has produced 1,049,330 series 911s since its debut in 1963.
The concept study, presented during the 70th birthday of the sports car manufacturer, will be produced as a limited special edition: Porsche has decided to start producing the purist Porsche 911 Speedster in the first half of 2019.
Exactly 1,948 units of the open-top two-seater will be built. The number reminisces the Porsche 356 “Number 1” that received its operating license on June, 8 back in 1948. In Paris, Porsche presented this year’s second Speedster Concept study. Its Guards Red paintwork is a reference to the 1988 911 Speedster of the G-Model generation. The new cross-spoke 21-inch wheels in cross spoke and the black leather interior create a tasteful and sporty appearance.
Dream becomes reality: The driveable 911 Speedster Concept, initially presented on June 8 in 2018 in Zuffenhausen as a “Heritage” version, will go into production in 2019. The car was developed at Porsche Motorsport in Weissach in cooperation with Style Porsche and Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur.
The future 911 Speedster, based on the 991 range, will be the first car to be offered with the new Heritage Design Packages. This exclusive accessory line by Porsche Exclusive allows for an even higher degree of personalization for the 911.
Exclusive accessory line by Porsche Exclusive
In addition to the eye-catching paintwork, 21-inch center lock wheels are another visual highlight of this latest concept study presented in Paris. Their cross-spoke wheel design is similar to that of Porsche racing cars such as the 911 RSR and the GT3 R. The tinted day-time running lights were also inspired by racing. Matching the study’s paintwork, they are kept in red. The two “Talbot”-shaped exterior mirrors as well as the fuel tank cap – centrally positioned on the bonnet – shine in black-chrome and platinum. In contrast to the previously shown “Heritage” version, the interior is using partly perforated black leather upgraded with red highlights.
All body components as well as the entire technology of both the 911 Speedster Concept cars are identical. This includes the shortened window frames with their lowered cowl top panels and the smaller side windows as well as the carbon-fibre rear bonnet with the double-bubble cover behind the seats. Both cars come with a lightweight Tonneau cover, fitted by Tenax buttons, instead of a convertible soft top.
The centrepiece of the limited special edition
The concept cars’ body is based on the 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet. The fenders, as well as the front and rear bonnet are made from lightweight carbon fibre composite while the chassis was taken from the 911 GT3. Furthermore, the GT development department provided the exhaust system with its titanium tailpipes and the drivetrain including the manually operated six-speed gearbox. The same goes for the centrepiece of the limited special edition: The Speedster Concept is powered by a naturally-aspirated flat-six engine developing more than 500 hp and capable of engine speeds up to 9,000 rpm.
Porsche has always matched its product range to its customers’ requirements and the pursuit of technological excellence. That is why the sports car manufacturer is intensifying its activities in the areas of hybrid technology and electromobility and will, in future, no longer offer vehicles with diesel propulsion.
By 2022, Porsche will have invested more than six billion euros in e-mobility, creating the basis for sustainable growth into the future. Interest in hybrid models is already taking off. 63 percent of the Panameras sold in Europe, for example, are hybrid models. Demand for diesel models, on the other hand, is dropping. In 2017, the diesel share of worldwide Porsches was 12 percent. Porsche has not had a diesel in its portfolio since February of this year. Due to this change in conditions, the company has decided to no longer offer diesel propulsion in future.
“Porsche is not demonising diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology. We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free. Naturally we will continue to look after our existing diesel customers with the professionalism they expect,” says Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG.
With the Taycan, Porsche will bring its first purely electric sports car to the market in 2019 – its manufacture is CO2 neutral and it is supplied with green electricity via an ultra-fast charging infrastructure spread over Europe. By 2025, every second new Porsche vehicle could have an electric drive – either hybrid or purely electric. The sports car manufacturer is also concentrating on optimised internal combustion engines. Purist, emotional and powerful sports cars will thus continue to play an important role in the Porsche product portfolio.
Blume stresses: “Our aim is to occupy the technological vanguard – we are intensifying our focus on the core of our brand while consistently aligning our company with the mobility of the future.”
Based on an original bodyshell and original spare parts, Porsche Classic has built the last 911 Turbo with an air-cooled engine – 20 years after the end of series production of the type 993. Inspired by the design of the type-991 911 Turbo S Exclusive series, the vehicle is painted in the extraordinary Golden Yellow Metallic colour. This spectacular one-off car will be presented at the Rennsport Reunion 2018 for the first time and auctioned at the Porsche Experience Center Atlanta on October 27th 2018.
Porsche Classic demonstrates full range of capability
Atlanta, Georgia. In an ultimate demonstration of restoration expertise, Porsche Classic created something unique: a 911 Turbo with an air-cooled engine, 20 years after the end of production of the 993 generation. The show car is based on an original body shell, and has an appearance as unique as its history. Painted in Golden Yellow Metallic, it is the same color as the 2018 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. The black wheels are highlighted by Golden Yellow design accents, while the seats and interior trim also are finished in black with Golden Yellow details. The body shell features the characteristic side air intakes of the 993 Turbo S that were also available as an option for the regular 911 Turbo in 1998.
Developing 450 horsepower, this project celebrates its world premiere at Porsche Rennsport Reunion VI at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on September 27, 2018. Project Gold, which is not lawful for registration or street usage and is limited to driving on private tracks, will then be auctioned in a global event to be held by RM Sotheby’s at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta on October 27, 2018.
The RM Sotheby’s “Porsche 70th Anniversary Sale” is an exclusive, single-marque auction that will feature upwards of 70 Porsche sports cars – each of them showing a part of Porsche history, from the open road to rally and race tracks. Proceeds from the sale of “Project Gold” will be donated in Germany to the Ferry Porsche Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to education, social issues, and youth development established earlier this year to mark the “70 years of Porsche sports cars” celebrations.
“Project Gold” showcases the comprehensive skill of Porsche Classic in fascinating fashion,” says Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board of Porsche AG responsible for Sales and Marketing. “This project clearly demonstrates our strategic approach. Although we are starting a new chapter in our sports car history with the Porsche Taycan, the story of how the company evolved is no less significant. On the contrary, this Golden Yellow show car based on the 993 shows how incredibly passionate we are about the tradition of our brand.”
“Project Gold” represents Porsche Classic’s spectacular contribution to the “70 years of Porsche sports cars” celebrations. With this anniversary in mind, as well as the forthcoming market launch of the Taycan as the first purely electric Porsche sports car, the experts at Porsche Classic came up with the concept of building a show car based on an existing genuine type 993 body shell to showcase both tradition and innovation. The experts were able to rely on a selection of over 6,500 genuine parts that Porsche Classic offers exclusively for 993-generation Porsche 911 models. Overall, the Classic division currently stocks some 52,000 parts, which customers can source via Porsche Classic Partners and Porsche Centers around the globe to repair and restore classic Porsche cars.
Construction of the unique vehicle took approximately one and a half years. The body shell first went through the corrosion protection and painting process applied to today’s series-production vehicles. It then was assembled and tuned by Porsche Classic specialists at the Porsche Classic restoration workshop near Stuttgart. A brand new 3.6-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine developing 450 hp was installed, delivering performance similar to that which a 993-generation Turbo S vehicle would have had when it was in production. The manual transmission and all-wheel drive components were also sourced from the Porsche Classic range of genuine parts. The hand-stamped chassis number follows that of the last series-production street-legal 993 Turbo, which rolled off the production line in 1998.
The exterior and interior elements were coordinated with the workshop’s dedicated Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur experts who were responsible for creating the 2018 911 Turbo S Exclusive series. To complement these elements, the designers at Style Porsche worked on the color gradients and positioning of badges as well as other interior details.
The 993 remains a sought-after collector’s item to this day, and is considered a particularly sophisticated vehicle. It was the first 911 to feature an aluminum multilink rear suspension, giving it exceptional agility for its time. The 911 Turbo version of the 993 was also the first to have a twin-turbo engine. The front section is lower-slung than on the earlier 911 models, thanks to a switch from round to poly ellipsoidal headlights. Hollow-spoke aluminum wheels, a first for any car with aluminum wheels, were another innovation of the all-wheel drive 911 Turbo version. Only 345 units of the 911 Turbo S with its 450-hp performance-enhanced engine were built.
Porsche has unveiled the new Macan in Shanghai. The compact SUV has been a great success since its launch in 2014, and has now been significantly enhanced in terms of its design, comfort, connectivity and driving dynamics, allowing the Macan to remain the sporty flagship in its segment.
The new Macan stays true to the Porsche design DNA with a three-dimensional LED tail light strip. LED technology also features in the headlights as standard. The most striking innovations inside the vehicle include the 10.9-inch touchscreen of the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM), re-designed and re-positioned air vents and the GT sports steering wheel familiar from the 911. The PCM enables access to new digital functions, such as intelligent voice control and the online navigation system provided as standard. The vehicle’s range of comfort equipment has also been expanded to include a traffic jam assist, an ioniser and a heatable windscreen.
LED headlights and new tail light strip as standard
Thanks to a number of conscious changes to the exterior, the new Macan now has an even sportier and more modern look. Numerous details reflect the DNA of the iconic 911 sports car and the 918 Spyder. In particular, the topic of lighting plays a key role: The new Macan is equipped with headlights featuring LED technology as standard.
This high-quality lighting system featuring modules with a three-dimensional design can be further optimised if desired: The Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus (PDLS) can be used to adaptively control the light distribution. The front end of the Macan has been meticulously re-worked so that it now appears even wider, while the comprehensive overhaul at the rear builds on the sleek design of the predecessor model. The three-part, three-dimensional LED light strip represents another typical Porsche design element at the rear. The four-point design of the brake lights also reflects the brand’s identity.
New options: GT sports steering wheel, ioniser and Traffic Jam Assist
The link to the 911 is consolidated in the interior of the new Macan with the optional GT sports steering wheel. The mode switch plus Sport Response Button integrated into the steering wheel is also showcased in the Macan as part of the optional Sports Chrono Package. Porsche has extended the list of comfort options to include a heated windscreen and an ioniser to improve the air quality in the interior. New exterior colours such as “Miami Blue”, “Mamba Green Metallic” “Dolomite Silver Metallic” and “Crayon” combined with new interior packages ensure that the Macan is now more customisable than ever before.
Porsche has also used the facelift as an opportunity to expand the range of assistance systems in the Macan. The new Traffic Jam Assist including adaptive cruise control enables more comfortable and relaxed driving behaviour at speeds up to 60 km/h. Not only does the system feature partially automated acceleration and braking – it also assists with steering in a traffic jam or in slow-moving traffic.
10.9-inch touchscreen display and full connectivity
Through the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM), the Macan offers total connectivity and numerous digital functions. Above the typical Porsche rising centre console, a full-HD touchscreen enlarged from 7.2 to 10.9 inches has been incorporated seamlessly into the newly designed instrument panel. Just like in the Panamera and Cayenne, the user interface on the infotainment system can be customised using predefined tiles. The air vents have also been re-designed and are now positioned below the central screen.
Each Macan is equipped with a Connect Plus module, making every vehicle fully networked as standard. This module underpins various digital functions and services such as intelligent voice control and the real-time traffic information that forms part of the standard online navigation system. One of the key elements of this system is the “Here Cloud” connection, which offers cutting-edge, swarm-based traffic data. Using the new Offroad Precision App, it is also possible to record and analyse off-road driving experiences in the Macan.
Optimised chassis with new tyres and wheels
Thanks to its optimised chassis, the new Macan is able to consolidate its exceptional status as a sports car in the compact SUV segment. Fine-tuning of the chassis delivers enhanced neutrality while maintaining stability and improving comfort. Although unusual for the SUV segment, the Macan still features mixed tyres with different widths on the front and rear axles. As with Porsche sports cars, this arrangement enables the driver to take full advantage of the intelligent, all-wheel drive Porsche Traction Management (PTM) when it comes to driving dynamics. Newly developed tyres with improved performance characteristics enable even better lateral dynamics for enhanced driving pleasure, while the new 20- and 21-inch wheels also offer greater scope to customise the design.
A model of success: more than 350,000 Macan deliveries since 2014
The Macan is a genuine success story. The combination of typical Porsche performance on any terrain coupled with a high degree of everyday practicality impressed customers right from the start: Since 2014, Porsche has delivered more than 350,000 units. With over 100,000 deliveries to date, the model is especially popular in the Chinese market where Porsche unveiled the redesigned compact SUV. The model presented in Shanghai will be offered exclusively in the Chinese market. Other models and markets will follow during the course of the year.
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.
The future of mobility is another step closer: Series production of the first purely electric Porsche is set to begin next year. In preparation, the vehicle has now been given its official name: The “Mission E” concept study, the name currently used to describe Porsche’s complete electric offering, will be known as the Taycan.
The name can be roughly translated as “lively young horse”, referencing the imagery at the heart of the Porsche crest, which has featured a leaping steed since 1952. “Our new electric sports car is strong and dependable; it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomises freedom”, explains Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. The oriental name also signifies the launch of the first electric sports car with the soul of a Porsche. Porsche announced the name for its first purely electric series as part of the “70 years of sports cars” ceremony.
Two permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) with a system output of over 600 hp (440 kW) accelerate the electric sports car to 100 km/h in well under 3.5 seconds and to 200 km/h in under twelve seconds. This performance is in addition to a continuous power level that is unprecedented among electric vehicles: Multiple jump starts are possible in succession without loss of performance, and the vehicle’s maximum range is over 500 km in accordance with the NEDC.
Names with real meaning
At Porsche, the vehicle names generally have a concrete connection with the corresponding model and its characteristics: The name Boxster describes the combination of the boxer engine and roadster design; Cayenne denotes fieriness, the Cayman is incisive and agile, and the Panamera offers more than a standard Gran Turismo, which is what allowed it to win the Carrera Panamericana long-distance race. The name Macan is derived from the Indonesian word for tiger, with connotations of suppleness, power, fascination and dynamics.
Future investment doubled
Porsche plans to invest more than six billion euro in electromobility by 2022, doubling the expenditure that the company had originally planned. Of the additional three billion euro, some 500 million euro will be used for the development of Taycan variants and derivatives, around one billion euro for electrification and hybridisation of the existing product range, several hundred million for the expansion of production sites, plus around 700 million euro for new technologies, charging infrastructure and smart mobility.
Extensive modifications and expansion at the Zuffenhausen headquarters
At the Porsche headquarters in Zuffenhausen, a new paint shop, dedicated assembly area for the Taycan and a conveyor bridge for transporting the painted bodies and drive units to the final assembly area are currently being constructed. The existing engine plant is being expanded to manufacture electric drives and the body shop will also be developed. Investment is also planned for the Weissach Development Centre. Production of the Taycan is creating around 1,200 new jobs in Zuffenhausen alone.
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Images and photos copyright Porsche Cars North America, Inc., or Porsche Gold Coast
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