Porsche push to turbo boost

Diesel is dust in the quest for a greener car, writes PAUL GOVER in Italy

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

ANEW-AGE fam­ily of tur­boonly Porsches could be com­ing as the sports car spe­cial­ist looks for more speed with im­proved ef­fi­ciency.

The Ger­man brand be­lieves down­siz­ing its en­gines, then boost­ing them with tur­bos, could be the an­swer as it re­jects any chance for a diesel drive into the 911.

Work has al­ready be­gun on the next new 911 for 2011 and de­vel­op­ment chief Au­gust Ach­leit­ner says Porsche is mak­ing a big drive on a car cru­cial to its fu­ture.

‘‘It will be quicker and faster, but us­ing less fuel,’’ he says.

‘‘Th­ese are the goals for the fu­ture — to make the car even greener. To still be the spe­cial sports car, but to look for so­cial ac­cep­tance.’’

Ach­leit­ner is clear in re­ject­ing a diesel 911, while open­ing the door for a smaller-ca­pac­ity en­gine fam­ily with tur­bos. Porsche al­ready uses high-per­for­mance tur­bocharg­ers for its GT2 and all-wheel-drive Turbo, but this would be dif­fer­ent and po­ten­tially more ef­fi­cient than any of to­day’s flat-six Porsche motors.

‘‘I have noth­ing against diesels, but it will in­flu­ence the char­ac­ter of the car. This would be too dam­ag­ing for the suc­cess of the car,’’ he says.

‘‘The next step with gaso­line en­gines is to add a tur­bocharger to re­duce the ca­pac­ity of the en­gine.’’

Ach­leit­ner is also against a hy­brid 911, even though the com­pany is bring­ing out a petrol-elec­tric ver­sion of the Cayenne SUV.

‘‘Of course we could do a hy­brid 911. From a tech­ni­cal point of view it is pos­si­ble,’’ he says.

‘‘But it doesn’t help to pro­duce this car just for show, if a cus­tomer does not want to buy it.’’

Ach­leit­ner is al­ready test­ing the suc­ces­sor to to­day’s just-up­dated 997-se­ries 911, which is com­pleted by the glass-topped Targa model, and is open on many fronts in­clud­ing en­gine choices and the use of more alu­minium, to cut weight.

‘‘Ask me in five years. The world is chang­ing so fast at the mo­ment,’’ he says. ‘‘Our pro­gram is fixed up to 2013, but then it starts to be­come a lit­tle more grey. With all the po­lit­i­cal changes . . .’’

But he is very def­i­nite on the chance for a diesel-pow­ered 911.

‘‘It doesn’t make sense in our opin­ion,’’ Ach­leit­ner says.

‘‘You lose the sound. You hear al­most noth­ing.

‘‘On the other hand, diesel en­gines are so heavy. When we are work­ing to save ev­ery gram of weight in the rear end . . .’’

But he can see ad­van­tages in diesel tech­nol­ogy, such as the di­rect fuel in­jec­tion that has al­ready been ap­plied to the lat­est 911s.

‘‘I think diesel and gaso­line en­gines will come to­gether to com­bine the ad­van­tages of both. In our opin­ion there is no need to change to diesel. They haven’t solved the prob­lem of the par­tic­u­lates (emis­sions),’’ he says.

No way: de­vel­op­ment chief Au­gust Ach­leit­ner says adding diesel power to the 911 range doesn’t make sense.

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