Month: February, 2015
Porsche is reportedly working on an all-electric vehicle known as the 717 that will rival the Tesla S in range and capabilities. Tesla has become one of the leading names in electric vehicles, and now even top automakers such as Porsche are scrambling to keep up. The 717 will likely be based on the chassis being developed for the next Panamera as well as the Bentley Continental. This sedan will come with four wheel drive that’s split using torque vectoring to provide high-performance handling that people expect from a Porsche.
It’s common to use the battery packs in electric vehicles to form the floor, but that’s not what Porsche is planning to do according to sources. Instead they are going to be using a more complex battery system that is stored within the vehicle’s central tunnel as well as in the bulkheads between the back and front of the car. What doesn’t fit in these locations will be stored underneath the floor and in the side sills of the vehicle. There are going to be 108 different battery modules in all and the targeted range for the vehicle is 300 miles.
Driver Selectable Power
While the car is going to be designed to drive efficiently and go as far as possible, it’s a Porsche, and will come packed with power too. It’s rumored that the vehicle is going to come with selectable power levels of somewhere around 400, 500 and 600 HP. These aren’t guaranteed figures, but it’s likely that similar figures will be offered.
Porsche and a group of other automakers are coming together to work with Quantumspace to try and develop an induction charger that will rival the high-speed charging system that Tesla is developing but be more convenient to use. There aren’t many specifics about the project and it’s still a work in progress, but the hope is to create a charging tool that makes driving full electric cars much more convenient to use on a regular basis.
There is no official information about what the Porsche 717 will actually look like, but some believe it will look similar to the Panamera, giving it a look similar to a space-aged station wagon. The long car will sport enough space for a whole family to ride around comfortably, and is likely to be a powerhouse that’s fun to drive once complete.
The Cayman GT4 is what Andreas Preuninger (head engineer of the Porsche GT series production team) dubs the “little brother” of the GT3. It’s a car that’s all about the driver, and focused around being an absolute blast to drive. During the interview between him and Jethro Bovingdon from EVO you can see how passionate Preuninger is about the vehicle. He even admits to be a bit envious of the drivers who can afford to pick up the car, and that’s because it was literally engineered from the ground up to be enjoyable to drive.
Packing in the Power
In order to allow the 3.8 liter, 385 HP engine to fit under the somewhat compact hood of the Cayman GT4 a bunch of customizations had to be made. An altered and improved gearbox was used, a different clutch system, different flywheel and even different engine mounts were all used to make it fit in properly. The engine doesn’t hit its full HP level until 7,400 rpm, and the car is powerful enough overall to jump from 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds, and it manages a top speed of 183 MPH.
The GT4 literally sticks to the road thanks to careful weight distributions that puts the center of mass squarely in the center of the vehicle. It also only comes with a manual transmission so drivers have to become deeply involved with the driving process, especially at higher speeds. Preuninger mentions that a PDK transmission would have made for more efficient shift times, but that takes away from the feel and experience of the Cayman GT4, and the car’s all about experiences.
Borrowing from the Lauded GT3
Most Porsche and racing fans in general have at least a mild crush on the GT3, and that’s great for future GT4 owners because the vehicle borrows from it heavily, especially in braking and front suspension. The car relies on the same exact steel braking system that the GT3 uses. It also has the same camber-adjustable double wishbone suspension that gives owners the ability to modify the drive feel of their vehicle before they bring it back to the track or take it onto that windy back road. Since the rear of the vehicle looks so much different than the GT3 the team had to put together a completely new suspension, but that still relies on a double-wishbone setup, and provides an overall dynamic feel while driving.
Generates as Much Downforce as the GT3
One of the main enemies of a typical sports car is lift. While traveling at high speeds any amount of lift can cause handling issues, and the standard Cayman lineup does suffer from a slight amount of lift. That problem was smoothed out in the GT4 though, and the vehicle generates the same amount of downforce pressure as the GT3 does at high speeds. This produces excellent handling characteristics, and also gives the vehicle a distinctly sporty speed that only intensifies as you step down on the accelerator. In order to generate all the downforce that the vehicle has, the engineers relied on a very aggressive aero kit that uses a large lip spoiler, a massive air dam, a vent in the front hood as well as major air scoops at the sides. Add in the rear diffuser and you have a very carefully crafted vehicle designed to literally stick to the road at high speeds.
A Lightweight Body
The Cayman GT4 weights roughly the same as the Cayman GTS at 2900 lbs, but it manages to do so with a wide range of upgrades and improvements. It has a larger engine that produces more power, more structural improvements, an enhanced spoiler, a protective cage rated for racing, an enhanced braking system with much larger parts and the list goes on and on. In order to maintain the same lightweight body while adding in so much extra gear and so many enhancements the engineering team had to make careful design improvements all over the vehicle. In some locations they relied on more lightweight materials, such as carbon fiber on the spoiler, and in other areas they simply use a more efficient design.
On top of all the racing improvements the car receives some nice feature and quality improvements over a standard Cayman as well. It comes with 20 inch alloy wheels, advanced sports seats coated with a mixture of leather and Alcantara trim. The GT4 also has the Sport Chrono package and comes with all the modern tech features that you would expect from an upscale Porsche. It feels like a very high-end Porsche, and while it’s more focused on performance and driving dynamics than anything else, the GT4 happens to be very luxurious as well.