Month: April, 2013
Many would agree that the fourth generation Porsche 911, the 996, represented a major turning point in the history of the 911. It rolled off the assembly line between 1997 to 2005 and was reminiscent of its classic heritage but still an entirely new automobile. It was the first truly all-new 911, sharing no body panels, no underbody structure, and no major mechanical components with previous 911s.
The comprehensive redesign included a first, which was the introduction of the water-cooled boxer engine. Due to its four-valve cylinder heads with variable valve timing, it achieved 300 horsepower and broke new ground when it came to reduced emissions, noise, and fuel consumption. It also had integrated dry-sump oiling, new variable resistance intake system, new cable shift linkage, and redesigned interior with more passenger volume. Driving comfort now played a greater role alongside the expected sporty characteristics.
It’s most obvious exterior characteristic were the headlight with integrated turn signals which was at first controversial but was later copied by other manufacturers. With the 996, Porsche launched an unprecedented product offensive with a whole series of variations. The 966 models include the Porsche 996 Carrera 2, Carrera 4, available in both 6 speed manual and tiptronic gearboxes, Body styles started with the Coupe and Cabriolet, and the glass roofed Targa. Also included in the model lineup was the four wheel drive 996 Turbo coupe. And finally, there were also the limited edition, stripped out versions: 996 GT2 and 996 GT3. The new 911 GT3 became one of the highlights of the model range in 1999, keeping the tradition of the Carrera RS alive. The 911 GT2, the first car to be equipped with ceramic brakes as standard, was marketed as an extreme sports vehicle.
Fans have been anxiously waiting and Porsche has finally revealed the new 2013 911 RSR that is scheduled to compete in several endurance events this year. Based on the current 991 911, the new RSR will compete in the 2013 season of the World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It will not, however, make an appearance in a North American racing series this year.
The new 911 RSR, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, follows in the footsteps of its successful predecessor, the 911 GT3 RSR (type 997). As with the production vehicle, the wheelbase was increased by some four inches. A new wishbone front suspension replaces the previously used McPherson struts and also boasts a new, lightweight six-speed racing gearbox. Meanwhile, the engine is an optimized version inherited from its predecessor, a 460 horsepower, 4.0-liter boxer six-cylinder.
Significant weight reduction was achieved with the use of carbon fiber and polycarbonate windows, along with the use of carbon fiber in the front and rear mudguards, front and rear lids, doors, underbody, wheel arches, rear wing, dashboard and center console. The lithium-ion battery, also found in the production 911 GT3, also saw a reduction in weight. Porsche made it a priority to improve the weight distribution and as a result, the center of gravity is significantly lower than that of its predecessor.
Competing in the Porsche 911 RSR with starting number 92 are Porsche works drivers Marc Lieb (Germany) and Richard Lietz (Austria), who already shared a cockpit in the 2012 WEC. At the first two races of the season in Silverstone (April 14) and Spa (May 4) as well as at the 24 Hours of Le Mans (June 22), they will receive support from their works driver colleague Romain Dumas (France). Factory pilots also drive the #91 sister car, with Joerg Bergmeister (Germany) and Patrick Pilet (France) making up a team. In Silverstone, Spa and Le Mans, the duo is joined by Timo Bernhard (Germany).
When Porsche decided to expand its lineup to include a four-door sports car, there was a lot of skepticism. However, the Porsche Panamera has been proven to be a success and is popular among buyers. For 2014, the Panamera is getting a mild facelift and the lineup will be broadened with the addition of two new extended wheelbase variants as well as its first plug-in hybrid.
The S E-Hybrid offers a more powerful engine as well as a higher-performance battery (supplying more energy) than the Panamera S Hybrid it replaces that produces 95 hp compared to the 47 hp of the previous generation, the electric drive gets its energy from a lithium-ion battery pack that’s five times the previous generation’s capacity. If plugged into an industrial outlet, charging can take as little as 2.5 hours (using the integrated on-board charger and the standard Porsche Universal Charger).
While EPA ratings haven’t yet been released for the S E-Hybrid it’s expected to improve on the 25 mpg combined of the outgoing Panamara Hybrid. Porsche claims all-electric driving range at between 11-22 miles. Top speed using the all-electric motor is pegged at 83 mph before the engine kicks in. Top speed is 167 mph. With 416 combined horsepower, its 0-62 mph time is shortened by half a second to 5.5 compared to the previous generation.
Helping to reach top speed is the electric boost function, where the electric motor’s performance boosts that of the combustion engine. Driving at higher speeds doesn’t always drain energy, the coasting feature, where energy recovery begins by shutting off the combustion engine generates electricity.
Utilizing the latest technology, Porsche offers smart phone integration. Functions that can be used with the smart phone are: charge status indicator, auxiliary climate control (preheating or cooling) via Porsche Car Connect, battery management, and remote access to vehicle information (such as remaining range, or even helping the driver back to their car). But non-specific S E-Hybrid functions are available for other Panamera models.
What do you think about the new 2014 Panamera E-Hybrid? Let us know your thoughts in the cooments