Turbo is a cap­i­tal idea

The least costly of Porsche’s 911 stable gets its mo­ti­va­tion from “right-siz­ing”

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - JOHN CAREY

FOR four decades a Porsche 911 with a tur­bocharged en­gine was spe­cial enough to de­serve a cap­i­tal “T”.

To the many fans of the rearengined Ger­man sports car with its trade­mark flat-six en­gine, Turbo came to mean high­est power and high­est price. But this is about to change. From March there will be turbo power in the least costly 911 mod­els of all, the Car­rera and Car­rera S.

Th­ese lower-case Porsche tur­bos are $200,000-plus cars but they’re at least $100,000 less than their range-top­ping Turbo equiv­a­lents.

The mostly new twin-turbo 3.0-litre en­gine de­vel­oped by Porsche for the Car­rera and Car­rera S isn’t de­signed to ri­val the thump­ing 3.8-litre of the Turbo. In­stead, it’s in­tended to bet­ter both the ef­fi­ciency and power of the 3.4 and 3.8-litre non-turbo en­gines in the cur­rent Car­rera and Car­rera S.

Max­i­mum power of the 3.0-litre is 272kW in Car­rera spec­i­fi­ca­tion and 309kW in Car­rera S form, in each case a 15kW in­crease over the non­turbo en­gines they will re­place.

The only phys­i­cal dif­fer­ence be­tween the ver­sions is a tiny in­crease — just 2mm — in the di­am­e­ter of the S’s turbo com­pres­sors. Oth­er­wise they’re iden­ti­cal, says Porsche’s flat-six en­gine de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Thomas Wasser­bach.

Test­ing by Porsche in re­al­world con­di­tions shows that the new en­gines use from 0.5 to 1.0 litre less fuel to drive 100km, he adds.

When main­stream car makers choose a smaller turbo en­gine to im­prove fuel ef­fi­ciency the word they use is “down­siz­ing”. Wasser­bach says Porsche prefers to call what it has done “right-siz­ing”.

The com­pany didn’t want to lose the in­stant re­sponse when the ac­cel­er­a­tor pedal is pressed, he says — it’s a key in­gre­di­ent of the 911’s sporty ap­peal — and for this rea­son, en­gine ca­pac­ity wasn’t dras­ti­cally re­duced.

Even be­fore the tur­bocharg­ers can be­gin to pump up the power, the new 3.0-litre de­liv­ers a hefty shove in the back and the first drive dis­pels any doubt about the 3.0litre be­ing a 911-wor­thy en­gine.

It revs al­most as high as the cur­rent non-turbo en­gines — 7500rpm against 7800rpm — and has no­tice­ably greater punch low down. It is quiet when driv­ing slowly and go­ing easy on the ac­cel­er­a­tor but still has a proper Porsche wail when wound out.

Best of all, the new en­gine de­liv­ers stronger per­for­mance. The Car­rera S with Porsche’s op­tional PDK dou­ble-clutch seven-speed auto and $4790 Sport Chrono Pack­age (which adds launch con­trol tech­nol­ogy) is the first of its kind that can ac­cel­er­ate from rest to 100km/h in less than four sec­onds. Most Aus­tralian 911 buy­ers choose the Car­rera S with PDK, by the way.

This is the version Cars­Guide spent most time in at the in­ter­na­tional launch of the up­dated 911 line-up in Tener­ife. The new en­gine is just 17kg heav­ier, not enough change the way the Porsche han­dles.

There are more stan­dard good­ies, among them Porsche’s PASM adap­tive shock ab­sorbers. Ride height is re­duced by 10mm.

The Porsche’s road­hold­ing is truly awesome. And it needs to be; the new twin-turbo six sling­shots the car to silly speeds on any straight, the en­gine howl­ing like some kind of me­chan­i­cal an­i­mal as it nears the red­line.

The brakes feel strong enough to stop a small war, and the steer­ing is as pre­cise as a laser-guided bomb. Most im­pres­sive, though, is the way the Car­rera S prac­ti­cally ex­plodes out of a cor­ner.

Go­ing to turbo power has af­fected the way the 911 looks more than the way it drives. Porsche ex­te­rior de­sign chief Matthias Kulla says his team ex­am­ined a dozen ways to get air flow­ing to all the right places in the rear end, ul­ti­mately se­lect­ing one of the sim­plest so­lu­tions.

From the rear, the new air­in­take grille with its prom­i­nent ribs is the easy way to iden­tify the Car­rera. Be­hind it, a new ac­tive spoiler does dou­ble duty, di­rect­ing air to the turbo in­ter­cool­ers as well as gen­er­at­ing road-grip­ping down­force.

Just be­hind the rear wheels are exit ducts for the air that’s passed through the in­ter­cool­ers. They’re ex­actly where Porsche’s aero­dy­nam­i­cists told Kulla to put them, says the de­signer.

At the front, elec­tri­cally op­er­ated lou­vres con­trol the flow of air through the en­gine’s ra­di­a­tors. Th­ese flip closed above 15km/h when cool­ing isn’t re­quired, re­duc­ing aero drag and lift. They open in stages at higher speeds.

The 3.0-litre adds about $8000 to $10,000 to the Car­reras. With Porsche’s up­dated seven-speed man­ual, the Car­rera is $217,800 and the S $252,800, the Car­rera Cabri­o­let $239,300 and the S Cabri­o­let $274,300. The PDK au­to­matic adds $5950.

There’s a beaut new sports steer­ing wheel and in­fo­tain­ment with Ap­ple CarPlay com­pat­i­bil­ity.

The new mod­els adopt the au­to­matic post-col­li­sion brak­ing al­ready in many cheaper cars built by the Volk­swa­gen Group, Porsche’s owner.

But some items that should be stan­dard in some­thing cost­ing as much as th­ese Porsches are op­tional, such as adap­tive cruise con­trol.

Not that ex­pense ever seems to dent the 911’s ap­peal. This long-lived sports car is justly famed for never chang­ing the ba­sics; en­gine at the back and all­round engi­neer­ing ex­cel­lence, and the switch to small “t” turbo en­gines won’t al­ter this.

All about air­flow: The rear in­take grille with its prom­i­nent ribs iden­ti­fies the Car­rera S; ac­tive spoiler, right, does dou­ble duty

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.