No other automotive brand matches Porsche in quality, reliability and respect, and the German automaker has gone far beyond its original sports car roots. Traditional models such as the 911, Cayman and Boxster thrive, but they have also been joined by the Panamera sedan and a pair of SUVs: Cayenne and Macan.
The iconic 911 series sets the styling direction for Porsche and whatever changes are adopted are always more evolutionary, rather than revolutionary. Minor changes, particularly for the sports cars, are fine with enthusiasts who typically are just as interested in maintaining the brand’s heritage through its timeless countenance as they are in enjoying the drive.
More Power: Porsche 911 Carrera
Powertrain changes are usually not all that dramatic, as a family of horizontally opposed six-cylinder engines has long served the brand. But this year Porsche has made changes that will impact several models, including the updated 911 Carrera, which is slated for its global debut next week at the Frankfurt International Auto Show in Germany.
Porsche says that it is introducing a completely new engine generation, featuring twin-turbo technology for the 911 Carrera. The new 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine delivers a 20 horsepower boost over the previous engine. Thus, the standard Carrera will make 370 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque.
Choose the Carrera S and that very same engine makes 420 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of torque as it benefits from turbochargers outfitted with modified compressor wheels along with a model-specific exhaust system and a proprietary engine management system.
Drivers should take note of the long torque power band curve for both engines, ranging from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm. The new engine family peaks at 7,500 rpm and continues to deliver a robust Porsche sound.
More Efficient and Faster Too
Importantly, the new engines are nearly 12 percent more efficient on the European cycle. EPA numbers are pending and will be released before this model arrives in the U.S. early next spring.
The 911 Carrera model comes standard with a seven-speed manual transmission. And if you have track aspirations the top speed of the standard 911 Carrera is now 183 mph, or 191 mph for the 911 Carrera S.
Speed times are also improved with the 911 Carrera, which rockets from 0 to 60 mph in an even 4 seconds when equipped with the Sport Chrono package and Porsche’s PDK (automated manual) transmission. Similarly, the 911 Carrera S with the Sport Chrono Package reaches that milestone in just 3.7 seconds. In both examples, two-tenths of a second have been shaved.
Sport Chrono Package and PASM
Selecting the Sport Chrono package has always provided the ultimate Porsche driving experience. For 2016, it brings in another benefit in the form of a mode switch located on the steering wheel. That switch is based on the hybrid map switch in the Porsche 918 Spyder. Specifically, it is a rotary dial featuring four positions for the driving mode: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual.
The Individual setting works in tandem with the equipment installed in the car, including the automatic start-stop system, the sport exhaust system and the PDK shifting strategy. That means PDK-equipped models have a “sport response” button included with the mode switch to enhance acceleration.
Another important change comes to the much-heralded Porsche Active System Management (PASM) chassis, which is standard and lowers the ride height by 10 millimeters. Noted for helping drivers maintain control during fast cornering, PASM gains new shocks for improved body roll while romping. Slightly wider rear wheels will also aid drivers as they navigate the turns.
A feature common to the 911 Turbo and the 911 GT3 is rear-axle steering, which now becomes available with the 911 Carrera S. Enthusiasts are drawn to rear-axle steering as it enhances driving precision when switching lanes at high speeds. Around town, it provides another benefit as it trims the steering radius by 1.6 feet. And for tackling speed bumps, the optional electro-hydraulic lift system is integrated in the front axle struts and will lift the front of the car by 40 millimeters within five seconds.
Auto Show Highlights and Future Products
Besides showcasing the 911, Porsche may shed some light on its future plans. The new model follows the Cayman GT4 that went on sale in July as well as the 375-horsepower Boxster that arrives in October. An updated Boxster is expected next year and it will offer its first-ever four-cylinder engine. Little is known about the new motor other than it will come turbocharged.
Looking a little further out, the next-generation Panamera should arrive by 2017, with a new plug-in hybrid variant offered. The new model will be underpinned by the Volkswagen Group’s lightweight and modular MSB platform, which should also find its way into other high-end brands such as Bentley and Bugatti. Likewise, improved fuel mileage and faster lap times should propel this sport sedan.
Other models also being weighed include a smaller sedan to slot below the Panamera, dubbed the Pajun. Some analysts believe that an electric-only model will be offered, designed to compete specifically with the Tesla Model S. Automotive News reports that other model possibilities include a successor to the 918 Hybrid and a mid-engine super car making at least 600 horsepower.