Porsche eyes the numbers
The talk is recovery will be slow but sure, writes NEIL McDONALD
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In the past year the brand has taken a big sales hit internationally as cash-strapped buyers have withdrawn.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.