Motor (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Re­flect­ing on 70 years of Porsche and imag­in­ing the next 70

THE YEAR IS 2088. You and I are prob­a­bly long dead, or just heads float­ing in a jar of life-sus­tain­ing liq­uid, mum­bling some­thing about nat­u­ral as­pi­ra­tion. Sea lev­els have risen such that Dubbo now has quite a nice beach. It’s the fu­ture, and un­less tele­por­ta­tion has been mirac­u­lously in­vented, there’s now a mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion that was once known as the car. And if cap­i­tal­ism is still a thing, there will be a mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion with a Porsche badge on it. As we cel­e­brate the past 70 years of Porsche this is­sue, it’s been fun to imag­ine how the per­for­mance car might change again over the next 70 years. As you start read­ing and look­ing at trends – in­clud­ing Porsche spend­ing six bil­lion eu­ros (AUD$9.4b) on ‘elec­tro­mo­bil­ity’ over the next four years, and that’s just Porsche – you can’t help but won­der if we’ll still be ad­mir­ing and cel­e­brat­ing the bril­liant petrol-pow­ered per­for­mance cars of to­day in 2088. (Cer­tainly many in­vestors in to­day’s age would agree.) That in­cludes cel­e­brat­ing the tur­bocharged ones; with emis­sions reg­u­la­tions be­ing ag­gres­sively tight­ened, for­get nat­u­ral as­pi­ra­tion – grab hold of any petrol en­gine and hold it close, as it seems we can’t take their ex­is­tence for granted. With this in mind, I’m start­ing to em­brace down­sized tur­bocharged en­gines, rather than just griev­ing for the de­cline of atmo power. This is partly from hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced a nextlevel tur­bocharged en­gine in the Porsche 911 GT2 RS (which you’ll read about this is­sue), one that com­bines re­sponse and throt­tle pre­ci­sion with prodi­gious torque in a new and spe­cial way for a turbo en­gine. Hope­fully this kind of turbo mas­tery trick­les down to, say, hot hatches. Of course, be­yond this blos­som­ing turbo age a short hy­bridised one likely awaits us, and it’s this one I feel more scep­ti­cal about. Is a Porsche 918 bet­ter off for its 314kg of bat­ter­ies and elec­tric mo­tors? That said, I will keep an open mind when I drive the ru­moured hy­brid hot hatches like the next Ford Fo­cus RS and Mercedes-AMG A45, which prom­ise su­per­car ac­cel­er­a­tion on the smell of an oily rag. It’ll be at the end of the hy­brid pe­riod when we be­gin farewelling the in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine as the elec­tric car takes a stab at world dom­i­na­tion. Yes, one day your Re­nault Me­gane RS will prob­a­bly be fully elec­tric. It might also have a but­ton that says “auto” and folds the steer­ing wheel into the dash. Don’t act like you wouldn’t use it in the worst of traf­fic. At this Jet­sons-es­que point of mo­bil­ity so­lu­tion evo­lu­tion, a hand­ful of in­ter­nal com­bus­tion per­for­mance mod­els may still be on sale – per­haps even nat­u­rally as­pi­rated – but only in supercars priced not into the strato­sphere, but low earth or­bit. It’s not all doom and gloom. I’m stay­ing open to the idea of the elec­tric per­for­mance car. It has a lot of po­ten­tial, and not just by way of ac­cel­er­a­tion in­san­ity, but also very tricky torque vec­tor­ing smarts and low cen­tres of grav­ity, which could pro­vide han­dling like you’ve never ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore. The new Porsche Tay­can (for­merly Mis­sion E) even has a sound gen­er­a­tor that im­i­tates a switch­able ex­haust. Of course, it’s im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine how the world might look next year, let alone in 70. But so long as peo­ple still want to buy a sports car, emo­tion will be a ma­jor selling point, which will guide the cre­ators of fu­ture elec­tric per­for­mance mod­els. No­body will want an ap­pli­ance, and in that, there’s an op­ti­mistic vi­sion for the next 70 years, no mat­ter the brand.

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