Porsche push to turbo boost
Diesel is dust in the quest for a greener car, writes PAUL GOVER in Italy
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.