Porsche eyes the num­bers

The talk is re­cov­ery will be slow but sure, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IT TAKES only three lit­tle num­bers — 911 — to make the hearts of motoring en­thu­si­asts beat faster. But the global fi­nan­cial cri­sis has caused heartache of a dif­fer­ent kind for Ger­man car­maker Porsche.

In the past year the brand has taken a big sales hit in­ter­na­tion­ally as cash-strapped buy­ers have with­drawn. Even lo­cal sales have plunged 23 per cent this year.

How­ever, Porsche Cars Aus­tralia manag­ing di­rec­tor Michael Win­kler is con­fi­dent of a slow re­cov­ery with the new­est Turbo and GT3 re­sus­ci­tat­ing buy­ers. The just-un­veiled 997-se­ries Turbo ar­rives in Jan­uary, the GT3 beat­ing it by a cou­ple of months.

‘‘The bot­tom line here in Aus­tralia is that we’re a top-end mar­ket with the 911,’’ Win­kler says.

‘‘We al­ways do very well with GT3, GT2s, and very well with Tur­bos. So I would ex­pect that be­tween the new GT3 and new Turbo we will end up with about 40 per cent of all 911 mod­els next year. It al­ways goes in those cy­cles.’’

The lat­est Turbo is lighter and faster, yet more fuel ef­fi­cient.

The com­pany says the Turbo’s boxer-six is the first en­tirely new en­gine in its 35-year his­tory. Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dou­ble­clutch gear­box is also avail­able, join­ing the six-speed man­ual.

En­gine ca­pac­ity has grown from 3.6-litres to 3.8-litres. The Turbo gets twin tur­bocharg­ing with vari­able tur­bine ge­om­e­try, di­rect fuel in­jec­tion and a new ex­pan­sion in­take man­i­fold first seen on the GT2.

The su­per­car de­vel­ops 368kW at 6000 revs and 650Nm from 1950 revs to 5000 revs with an over­boost func­tion that lifts torque to 700Nm. Fuel use has been cut to 11.4 litres/ 100km for the seven-speed, PDK-equipped model, based on Euro­pean fig­ures.

With a top speed of 312km/h, the Turbo matches the GT3 and is the sec­ond quick­est Porsche af­ter the GT2. With the stan­dard six- speed gear­box, the Turbo is faster to 100km/h than the GT3, hit­ting 100 km/h in 3.7 sec­onds ver­sus 4.1 sec­onds for the GT3.

With the op­tional PDK and Sport Chrono Pack­age, which in­cludes dy­namic en­gine mounts and over­boost func­tion, the 100km/h sprint drops to 3.4 sec­onds.

Both the man­ual and PDK reach 200km/h in less than 12 sec­onds.

The car’s all-wheel drive sys­tem has been im­proved and is sup­ported by what Porsche calls ‘‘torque vec­tor­ing’’, es­sen­tially a me­chan­i­cal slip rear dif­fer­en­tial to switch drive vari­ably on the rear axle.

As a nod to the planet, the lat­est Turbo pro­duces up to 275g/km less harm­ful CO2, 18 per cent less than its pre­de­ces­sor.

new­est Turbo ar­rives early next year, its price ex­pected to be slightly more than the cur­rent car’s $361,100.

Win­kler is cau­tious about sales ex­pec­ta­tions and does not ex­pect the car to peak at 100-odd sales in its first year. ‘‘Times are dif­fer­ent now,’’ he says.

About 250 911 Tur­bos are on Aus­tralian roads. ‘‘We sold about 100 the first year, about 75 the sec­ond year and 50 the third year,’’ Win­kler says. ‘‘I wouldn’t be so bold to say that we’re go­ing to im­me­di­ately have a record year again.’’

The Turbo de­buts at the Frankfurt Mo­tor Show, which starts on Septem­ber 17.

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