ELECTRIFYING NIGHT WITH PORSCHE
SIME Darby Auto Performance Sdn Bhd, the importer of Porsche vehicles in Malaysia, recently organised its E-Performance Night event for 36 media personnel from all over the world to experience a range of Porsche hybrid models.
We gathered at Four Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, for dinner, before being chauffeured to Sepang International Circuit after a downpour.
The night started with us getting into a Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo and Malaysian Le Mans driver Weiron Tan taking us to the circuit. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo is quiet and comfortable, Tan drove around town in “pure electric” mode, and switched to “sports” mode while we were on the Maju Expressway, heading to Putrajaya. In “pure electric” mode, the car can travel up to 50km, with a maximum speed of 135kph. It is like travelling in a quiet and powerful golf cart, with the luxury of the fully covered cabin with air-conditioning, full leather upholstery, infotainment system and many more.
When the combustion engine kicks in, it unleashes Porsche’s iconic engine sound and it gets noticeable when the sports exhaust is activated.
After we arrived at Sepang International Circuit’s South Paddock, we were given a sneak peak into the upcoming Porsche Taycan, followed by a short briefing.
The Taycan is a fully electric car that is scheduled to be launched in 2020. The electric sedan will produce more than 600hp and come with 800-volts charging capability. Range is expected to be up to 400km, although Porsche claims an electric range of 500km and a 0 to 100kph time of 3.5 seconds.
Our first session was a hot lap with Porsche’s chief instructor Matthias Hoffsummer in the Porsche 918 Spyder. The 918 is powered by a naturally aspirated 4.6-litre V8 engine, producing 600hp at 8,500rpm. It is hooked to two electric motors, which deliver an additional 282hp for a combined output of 875hp and 1,280Nm of torque. The motor and engine deliver power to the rear axle via a 7-speed doubleclutch transmission.
Porsche claims that the 918 Spyder can complete the century sprint in 2.5 seconds, zero to 200kph in 7.2 seconds and zero to 300kph in 19.9 seconds. It has a top speed of 350kph.
Hoffsummer drove the 918 Spyder to perfection despite the damp track. It is one of the fastest and most exciting sports car we ever experienced. The moment Hoffsummer stormed on the throttle, the 918 Spyder takes off with the g-force pushed us hard into the seat.
The 918 Spyder gripped tightly during high-speed cornering, even with the wet track condition. It felt like the sports car was glued to the track surface, there were only two occasions where Hoffsummer needed to correct the car during corners, without breaking a sweat.
We had three laps in the 918 Spyder, the first was the warm up lap, then the hot lap, followed by the cool down lap. During the cool down lap, Hoffsummer switched into “Sport+” mode, for a quicker charge of the batteries for the next passenger. By maintaining the engine at 5,000rpm, the batteries managed to get up to 80 over per cent from around 50 per cent, driving just a lap on the circuit.
The second session was a high speed guided convoy in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid around the circuit. Running on a 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 engine and an electric motor, it is mated to the 8-speed dual clutch transmission.
It is equipped with Porsche’s traction management, rear-axle steering, active suspension management, dynamic chassis control sport with torque vectoring plus and other features.
The German sports carmaker claims that it can sprint from standstill to 100kph in 3.4 seconds and the top speed is rated at 310kph.
We were separated into two groups where each were given a car and eight laps (four as a driver) around the circuit.
It felt like we were cruising when we drove the Panamera Turbo S EHybrid around the circuit at high speed. It delivers outstanding comfort and ample headroom, shoulder room and leg room for the front occupants. On the other hand, we felt it is slightly short of headroom for the rear occupants if the person is taller than 183cm.
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid can easily reached above 240kph on the straight of the circuit. It sits firmly and tightly on corners at high speeds. The rear-axle steering helped to keep the car in place during corners.
After eight exciting laps, we ended the night with a quiet slalom session, in a Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid. Some might wonder, why say quiet? It’s because we did the slalom in “pure electric” mode.
In “pure electric” mode, there is no engine sound. We could hear only the tyres rolling off the ground when we pulled off from the starting line. Once again, the rear-axle steering helped the Cayenne E-Hybrid tackle the slalom with ease and reducing bodyroll.
The Porsche E-Performance Night had given us a taste of Le Mans-style driving and it showed the full potential of the marque’s EHybrid models. Gut gemacht (well done) to Porsche and the team from Sime Darby Auto Performance.
A hot lap session with Porsche’s chief instructor Matthias Hoffsummer in the 918 Spyder.
High-speed guided convoy in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.
The Porsche line-up for the Porsche E-Performance Night.
Media were given a hot lap session in the 918 Spyder.
On ‘full electric’ mode, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo glides quietly through traffic.
The track was damp when we arrived.