Porsche torques up gains
Watch the German’s advance, writes GORDONLOMASin Europe
SOME of the biggest advances in the history of the classic Porsche 911 are reflected in the latest Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S. The gains in fuel economy, performance, reduced weight and emissions are palpable.
Yet, as far as exterior giveaways go, the updated 997 Series coupes and cabriolets remain discreet. Just like the Carrera 2 cars which led into the latest update of the 911, the new 4 and 4S pick up direct-injection, flat-six engines and Porsche’s seven-speed, doubleclutch gearbox.
The big difference is an electronic fourwheel-drive system that replaces the viscous coupling arrangement used on the 911 for almost 20 years.
The Carrera 4’s new all-wheel-drive system can shuffle torque by up to 100 per cent to either the front or the rear axles if needed, whereas the previous system had a limited maximum torque split of 10 to 40 per cent.
Prices and final specifications are yet to be finalised because of the ongoing confusion about the increase in the luxury car tax, but the new coupes will cost $220,000-$230,000 for the C4 and $250,000-$260,000 for the C4S. The ragtop versions are $240,000-$250,000 for the C4 cabriolet and $270,000-$280,000 for the C4S.
All will be on sale from October 25, little more than a month after the two-wheel-drive versions reach the showrooms.
On the outside, Porsche has daytime running lights at the front, the neat LED rear tail-light treatment and a reflector strip on the leading edge of the engine bay lid. Inside, the C4 and C4S offer generational gains with 8.5 per cent more power and use up to 12.9 per cent less fuel. Carbon emissions drop 15.4 per cent.
The C4 coupe lifts from 239kW to 254kW yet reduces fuel use from 11.6 litres/100km to 10.1 litres/100km. Torque rises 20Nm to 390Nm. Gains for the 3.8-litre C4S are 283kW (up from 261kW) and a reduction in fuel use from 11.9 litres/100km to 10.5 litres/100km. Torque jumps 20Nm to 420Nm.
On the PDK gearbox, Porsche is already hinting it may review what it does for the new 998 (unofficial code) model, which could be out by late 2010 and have proper paddle shifters.
The argument against all-wheel-drive layouts continuing to have relevance because of their weight impost hurting fuel economy and performance doesn’t ring true in the case of the Carrera 4. Despite weighing 55kg more than a C2, a C4 has lapped Nurburgring’s Nordschleife circuit two seconds faster than its twowheel-drive equivalent, in 7min 56sec.
Racing ahead: the Porsche S4 cabriolet picks up direct-injection, flat-six engines and Porsche’s seven-speed, double-clutch gearbox.
Hot wheels: (left to right) a cabriolet wheel, the common coupe and cabriolet interior, and the S4 coupe with an all-wheel-drive system that shuffles torque by up to 100 per cent to front or rear axles.