Archive for the ‘porsche’ Category

After 3 straight wins, Porsche kills its Le Mans hybrid in favor of Formula E

July 28th, 2017

Porsche

As was sadly expected, on Friday Porsche confirmed its plans to end the all-conquering 919 Hybrid LMP1 racing program at the end of 2017. Like Audi before it, the German brand is going to refocus its energy on Formula E, entering the fray in season six, which starts in 2019. That’s a boost for the all-electric racing series, which is also adding Mercedes-Benz to the grid for season six, but it’s a huge blow for the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Just two years ago, the uppermost echelon of endurance racing was at a zenith with the 1,000-hp hybrids from Audi, Toyota, and Porsche duking it out in thrilling races around the world. But Audi ended its Le Mans participation at the end of 2016, no thanks to dieselgate. With Porsche gone from the end of this year, one has to question whether Toyota will stand by an earlier commitment to keep its own hybrid prototype program running until 2019. (Porsche will still keep racing the 911 RSR in WEC’s GTE-Pro and IMSA’s GTLM classes.)

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The best of the 2017 New York International Auto Show

April 14th, 2017

Jonathan Gitlin

NEW YORK—It seems like barely any time has passed since our last major auto show, but the world’s auto makers are back in Manhattan this week for the 2017 New York International Auto Show. You’ll be able to read (and watch) our take on many of the new vehicles on display in the coming days, but what follows are our picks for the best new models you’ll be able to see at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, starting today when the auto show opens to the public.

Outstanding in the Automotive Technology field: Cadillac Supercruise

Since this is a technology site, we’ll kick things off with the best new automotive technology of this year’s NYIAS. That honor belongs to Cadillac, which is joining the semi-autonomous driving fray with its new “level 2” system, called Supercruise. We have driven some pretty good semi-autonomous systems recently: Audi, Volvo, and Tesla all spring immediately to mind. These use a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assists to keep your car on track on the highway, backing up the human driver to counteract fatigue and provide a little digital helping hand on long drives. Supercruise combines those two driver assists with a few extra neat features that mark the next step on the road to fully self-driving vehicles.

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Posted in alfa romeo, Ars Approved, BMW, cadillac, Cars Technica, Features, Ford, NYIAS, porsche, RAM, volvo | Comments (0)

The Porsche 718 Boxster S and Cayman S—racing technology meets the road

October 27th, 2016

Enlarge

Porsche’s new 718 Boxster and Cayman sports cars mark the dawn of a new era for the German automaker. Along with the recently refreshed 911 Carerra, they represent the future for the company, a future that has a lot of purists down in the dumps. This new duo represents the death of the naturally aspirated flat-six engine in mainstream models. In its place is a future of downsized, turbocharged, direct-injection engines, and, having driven the new cars recently, we can report that the purists should have little to worry about. Those new engines are rather clever pieces of engineering with a direct link to Porsche’s latest-and-greatest, all-conquering race car, the 919 Hybrid.

That engine

Over the years, Porsche has rightly won quite a reputation for the flat-six engines it builds, and as such the new family of turbocharged engines has a lot to live up to. According to Markus Baumann, who was in charge of engine development, the keys to the new motor were ensuring it kept Porsche’s traditional free-revving nature and characteristic sound. On top of that, engine capacities have been “right-sized” for the 21st century. For the 718, that means losing a pair of cylinders—space constraints in the new chassis (and presumably a desire to differentiate the cars from the more expensive 911) mean there’s a choice of two four-cylinder horizontally opposed “boxer” engines.

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Pics of Porsches and Aston Martins leaked ahead of Geneva Auto Show

February 29th, 2016

The Geneva Auto Show has just gotten underway in Europe, and we should have a full report on all the stars of the show later this week. But ahead of the show, images have leaked of two of its expected stars, Porsche’s new 911R, and Aston Martin’s DB11.

First up is the “new” Porsche, which is actually new version of an existing model. When the latest 911 GT3 debuted in 2014, it drew a bit of criticism from purists because it meant the loss of a manual gearbox. Even though racing Porsches have been semi-automatic for years, many driving enthusiasts want nothing to do with flappy paddles. The 911R should satisfy them—or at least it will if it becomes a regular model in the lineup. If recent history is anything to go by, though, it will more likely be a limited edition that sells out instantly and then commands a hefty premium on the used car market.

Underneath that sloping rear deck—bereft of wings or spoilers other than the retractable one fitted to the regular 911—is a 4L naturally aspirated flat-six engine from the GT3 RS, giving the 911R almost 500hp. Compared to the bewigged GT3 and GT3 RS, the 911R—named for an old Porsche road-legal racer—is meant to be focused on driver enjoyment rather than all-out lap times.

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Paul Walker’s daughter sues Porsche over alleged fatal Carrera GT design flaws

September 29th, 2015

(credit: Porsche)

The daughter of Paul Walker—one of the stars of the Fast and Furious franchise—is suing Porsche for wrongful death, reports CNN. Meadow Rain Walker is alleging that the car Walker and his friend were driving at the time of his fatal crash—a 2005 Carrera GT—had multiple design flaws.

The Carrera GT is Porsche’s mid-2000s hypercar. It emerged from Porsche’s stillborn Le Mans Prototype program, complete with a carbon fiber chassis and naturally aspirated V10 engine. Compared to its rival, the Ferrari Enzo, the Carrera GT is viewed as the last analog hypercar, with a proper manual gearbox and a minimum of driver aids. The car does have traction control, but according to CNN, Walker’s daughter’s lawyer says it should have been fitted with electronic stability control, stiffer reinforcement bars in the doors, and better fuel lines.

It’s not the first time Porsche has faced wrongful death lawsuits following Carrera GT crashes. In 2005, Carrera GT-owner Ben Keaton and his passenger Corey Rudl were killed in a crash at California Speedway. Rudy’s widow sued a number of parties including Porsche, which paid $360,000—or eight percent of the $4.5 million total award—as a result of comments made by Porsche engineers about the lack of stability control on the car.

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Porsche takes aim at Tesla with new 300-mile range Mission E

September 16th, 2015

You knew it couldn’t last. Tesla’s Model S came along a couple of years ago and shook up the way we think of electric vehicles (EVs), offering 200 miles of range and an experience that was more Wall Street than Main Street. But the startup car maker wasn’t going to have the segment to itself for ever. This week at the Frankfurt International Motor Show, Porsche debuted the Mission E, and it’s obvious whom the car is aimed at.

The Mission E is a four-seater that promises a 310-mile (500km) range and batteries that can be recharged to 80 percent in 15 minutes. But since it’s also a Porsche, the Mission E has 600hp (447kW) and will accelerate from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, topping out at 124mph (200km/h). Porsche is leveraging the knowledge it has built up racing the 919 Hybrid, which blew away all competition at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, thanks in part to rapidly advancing battery technology that left rival solutions from Audi (flywheel) and Toyota (supercapacitors) in its wake.

The Mission E is only a concept, so we don’t have a price or ETA for when it might go on sale. But Porsche isn’t in the habit of building concept cars that go nowhere, either. Previous concepts like the Panamericana (1989) and the Boxster (1993) both got the public ready for new production models, and we expect to see a production four-seat Porsche EV in the not-too distant future.

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Porsche 911: 52 years of staying true to its roots

August 18th, 2015

The Porsche 911 is a testament to perseverance. Even back in 1963, it was clear that putting the engine behind a car’s rear axle entailed compromises over front- or even mid-engined cars—clear to everyone outside of Porsche’s Stuttgart base, that is. That was the year the company unveiled its 901 at the Frankfurt auto show. (The name was changed to “911” after Peugeot asserted that its trademark extended to any three-digit number with a 0 in the middle). The first Porsche 911 went on sale in 1964, and the car has been a cornerstone of the marque ever since. During those 51 years, Porsche engineers have mitigated the problems associated with a rear-engined layout, developing the 911 into one of motoring’s greatest living legends.

1964-1968

Rear-engined cars had become a bit of a Porsche family trademark by this point, including the Volkswagen Beetle and Porsche 356. The Porsche 911 of 1964 followed suit. It would be Porsche’s largest and most expensive sports car to date, with four seats and a 2l engine. The car’s styling was thanks to “Butzi” Porsche, grandson of company founder Ferdinand Porsche (who created the Beetle). Another grandson, Ferdinand Piech, was the engineer responsible for developing the car’s new engine, a six-cylinder boxer (two rows of three cylinders, 180 degrees opposed from each other), air-cooled and with overhead camshafts.

OK, the rear seats were (and still are) tiny, so it’s more of a 2+2 than a real four-seater. But even the earliest 911s were that marvellous blend of engaging sports car and practical transport. The 128hp (96kW) engine revved to 6800rpm, which was a lot for 1964. With not much weight to move around (~2360lbs/1070kg) it was fast for its time. Early road tests put the 0-60mph time between seven and nine seconds, with a top speed around 130mph (209km/h). By 1966 there were several versions on sale: the regular 911, a more powerful 911S (158hp/118kW), a Targa with a removable roof section, and a more affordable 4-cylinder version called the 912.

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Gallery: Hybrid hypercar happy hour

July 5th, 2015

Earlier this week we published our review of BMW’s i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. You should still read that piece, but the short take home is that it’s an amazing car and you ought to buy one if you can. However, it’s not the only game in town when it comes to plug-in hybrid sports cars, merely the cheapest. Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche have all recently brought such cars to market. While they may beyond the reach of most of us, Alex Bellus (a good friend of Cars Technica) just conducted a photoshoot with a McLaren P1 and not one but two Porsche 918 Spyders. And because both Alex and Imola Motorsports (not to mention the cars’ owners) are nice people, they’ve allowed us to share the results.

The two cars embody the two different corporate philosophies at work at McLaren and Porsche. The McLaren P1 brings to the road a lot of know-how and technology McLaren have learned from Formula 1, with a drag reduction system just like the F1 car (a button on the steering wheel changes the rear wing’s angle of attack to let you go faster in a straight line). Porsche’s 918 Hybrid also has racing roots—the naturally aspirated V8 engine is derived from the mid-2000s RS Spyder prototype racer—but by all accounts is a more thoroughly developed road car, no doubt a result of Porsche’s much longer experience building road cars, as well as the fact that it’s larger production run (Porsche is building 918 918 Hybrids, compared to 375 McLaren P1s) gave the company a bigger budget to work with.

Sadly we’ve yet to log any time behind the wheel of either of these hybrid hypercars (or a Ferrari LaFerrari for that matter), so if you (or someone you know) happen to have one in your garage and want to see it featured on these pages, don’t be a stranger.

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The future of car suspension is here: DSC Sport’s active shocks in action

July 1st, 2015

Computers are taking over our cars. In the longer term, self-driving vehicles have the potential to make significant cuts to road deaths, congestion, and pollution. Right now though, most of the immediate impact can be seen in infotainment systems. Focus groups have told car OEMs that to appeal to them as customers, they need to replicate the smartphone experience within our cars, which is why LTE modems and large touchscreens are proliferating as rapidly at auto shows as they are at Best Buy. That’s OK with us at Ars Technica, because processing power also makes things like DSC Sport‘s active suspension technology possible, as we found out this past weekend on our trip to Watkins Glen, NY.

Ars takes a drive with DSC Sport. Edited by Jennifer Hahn (video link)

First, a little background. Generally, a car’s suspension consists of various metal bits that connect the wheels to the chassis—wishbones or struts and so on that allow the wheel to articulate—and some combination of spring and shock absorber to control that articulation. A well-engineered suspension should provide good road-holding (keeping all four tires in optimum contact with the road surface) while also insulating the car and its occupants from bumps and jolts. This is easier said than done. Very few cars are successful at both, with their designers opting instead for soft springs and wallowy comfort at the expense of handling, or stiff springs and great cornering ability combined with a spine-rattling ride.

But active suspension systems promise we can drive our cake and eat it too, using software and CPU cycles to dynamically control what each wheel does. The technology came to the attention of the general public in the 1980s, thanks to its use in Formula 1 back when its rulebook encouraged innovation. Early active systems used in F1 used hydraulic actuators to control wheel movement. The aim was to keep the car as flat and level to the ground as possible. The constant ride height kept the car’s wings at their optimum angles for creating downforce—think of the exact opposite of a plane’s wing, where the air pushes the car (and therefore the tires) down onto the road. Lotus Cars were an early pioneer of such active systems, but they were always too complex and too expensive for use beyond a number of technology demonstrators.

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Porsche 911 Carrera: the dual clutch gearbox alone is worth the price of admission

February 7th, 2015

Thanks to an extremely generous family member, Cars Technica spent some quality time with Porsche’s latest flavor of 911 on a recent vacation. And since we just reviewed one of its oldest and deadliest rivals (the Corvette), we thought a mini-review of the rear-engined German icon was in order. We only had a day—rather than a week—behind the driver’s seat, so there are some aspects of the car that we didn’t test too closely. But the impression that emerged over the course of our time with the vehicle was this is a car with some clever tricks up its sleeve, enough to disguise the fact that its engine is in the wrong place. In particular, the 911’s dual clutch gearbox really is a technological marvel.

Porsche has been building rear-engined sports cars since the post-war period, and the first 911 (originally to be called the 901 until Peugeot pointed out they owned the rights to three-digit numbers with a zero in the middle) debuted in 1963. The car we drove was the latest iteration, known internally (and to Porschenerds) as the 991. It’s the most digital 911 yet. It boasts computers in charge of the suspension, that clever dual clutch gearbox (called PDK, or Porsche Doppelkupplung), and the new range of direct-injection gasoline engines. Because of those electronics governing the way the 991 stops, steers, and goes, it hews to the current trend of being able to switch between different flavors of car with the push of a button. As our test car—a 3.4 L Carrera Cabriolet—was equipped with the Sport Chrono option, we sampled three different flavors: normal, Sport, and Sport Plus.

For driving around crowded and narrow city streets, its most sedate mode is the way to go. Visibility is good, and with the seven-speed PDK gearbox in D it handles stop-go traffic like a champ. The PDK box also works well with the engine’s start-stop ability (where it shuts off if you’re stationary for more than a few seconds). Certainly, the car is much more seamless than manual ones we’ve driven with start-stop in the past, which seem designed to stall at every intersection. The 911 has some other fuel saving tricks too; when cruising on a motorway the gearbox can declutch from the engine and let the car coast. And although that clever direct-injection technology was impressive, French Alpes-Maritimes mountain roads were beckoning, so damn the fuel efficiency.

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