Month: August, 2015
Up until now Porsche hasn’t dared give its Cayman variant enough power to stand up against its flagship 911 for fear of overshadowing it, but that’s exactly what the automaker did with the Cayman GT4, and it’s now available in the USA for examination.
The Cayman GT4 comes packed with 385 HP, all produced from a very capable 3.8 liter flat six that was taken straight out of a Carrera S. It’s got the full front end from the Porsche GT3 making it highly aerodynamic and responsive around the corners of any track you bring it on.
A Real Driver’s Vehicle
Unlike the 911, the Cayman has a nearly perfect weight distribution with weight heavily centralized in the center of the vehicle on this mid-engine car. That gives the Cayman superior handling around tight corners and other track features that the 911 might struggle on a bit thanks to the rear-engine design it relies on. That’s what makes this Cayman GT4 so desirable and why drivers are practically climbing over one another to get their hands on it.
Is it Faster
Motor Trend took out both the 911 Carrera and the Cayman GT4 and compared the performance and times for 0 to 60 acceleration and over the ¼ mile and on both tests the Cayman GT4 came out ahead by quite a ways. That said, the Cayman GT4 is quite a bit faster than a Porsche 911 with the same power configuration, but it probably can’t keep up with every Porsche ever made, because it doesn’t have the power to compete with some.
Crushing the Figure Eight
On the figure eight track test, which is just a series of touch turns in a figure eight pattern, the Cayman S was able to post a faster speed than nearly every Porsche 911 taken around the same figure eight course with 23.8 seconds, and during their testing the Cayman GT4 manages the course in 23.5 seconds beating out many of the fastest 911 times, but still not overtaking the GT2 or GT3 times around the course.
The latest Cayman GT4 is a beast of a vehicle, and it’s something that every Porsche lover should try out at least one time. It’s not the right vehicle for everyone, but a driver looking for a race car experience each time he heads out onto the open road will be absolutely over the moon with this vehicle.
Conservative Porsche owners aren’t likely happy about the new changes that Porsche has planned for its entire lineup of vehicles. The automaker is planning on getting rid of naturally aspirated engines entirely in favor of turbo-charged models across the lineup. This change offers a lot of benefits to every vehicle owner, but it does come with some drawbacks as well. Whether Porsche owners like it or not, it’s a change that has to be made and one that Porsche seems very committed to starting next year.
The Positive Improvements
There are a few positive improvements that smaller turbocharged engines will offer to Porsche owners. The first, and most important is that the vehicles will be more efficient overall. Fuel economy figures will drop down and so will emissions. This is very important for Porsche, because the automaker has strict government efficiency levels it has to meet, and adjusting its lineup to meet those requirements is essentially to remain in business. Another benefit is that even though these engines are going to get smaller they will actually get more powerful as well. That means that they will be faster once up to speed, and drivers will have more to work with.
A good example of this is the Carrera 911. According to Car and Driver the turbo version of the vehicle coming next year will have 400 HP available, a 50 HP increase even though the engine is dropping from 3.4 down to 3.0 liters. The car will technically be more powerful, though it might experience turbo lag that keeps it from accelerating any faster.
Why Purists Don’t Like It
Purists don’t like turbocharged engines for one specific reason, and that’s throttle lag or turbo lag. This phenomenon occurs as the turbocharger begins to build up speed when the vehicle first begins accelerating. The vehicle experiences a bit of latency while it tries to build up speed and that makes it harder to precisely operate the throttle. It makes driving a bit more difficult and finicky and takes away from that smooth performance that Porsche vehicles are so known for.
Combating these Issues
There are a few different ways to handle this issue. By adding in a couple turbos instead of just one the lag can be reduced noticeably. Some automakers have also relied on electric turbo systems that rely on electricity to start spinning a turbocharger before it has a chance to do so naturally, and that also helps reduce turbo lag substantially. There’s no information about whether Porsche is going to rely on any of these techniques to improve driving dynamics of their vehicles, but it’s likely that they will do something to make a difference. This is likely to be the pattern that all Porsche vehicles follow in the future, and it wouldn’t be surprising for most of the lineup to get a slight power boost while becoming more efficient in the process.
Preserving the Manual
Even though Porsche is taking away the naturally aspirated engines that so many purists prefer, the automaker isn’t doing away with manual transmissions. There will still be plenty of models that offer a high quality seven speed manual transmission to enthusiasts who want a more traditional driving feel.
Porsche and Audi have long been rivals of one another. They are constantly relying on performance and style differences to outsell one another. Differentiating between the two brands is becoming more difficult in recent years, with many vehicles relying on the same structural platforms during creation. Most of the time the two automakers rely on their powertrain to keep the differences alive, but now it seems that even powertrains are going to become much more similar in the future. Both Porsche and Audi have begun collaborating on a set of turbocharged gasoline engines. Their goal is to create better engines for both automakers, while saving as much money as possible during the design phase.
Audi and Porsche are going to produce a set of V6 and V8 engines that are turbocharged. These engines are all going to be based on the more efficient Atkinson cycle, and they will all have 500cc cylinder capacities. That means the V6 will be a 3.0 liter and the V8 a 4.0 liter. These engines will be completely scalable, giving either automaker the ability upsize or downsize the engines as they wish. They’re going to be based on the 90-degree design that’s used on so many leading gasoline engines today, and will be available to a range of automakers looking to put a quality engine in their vehicles.
Why the Collaboration?
With luxury automakers relying on their differences to sell to their own pools of fans it seems weird to combine forces to create an engine that’s going to sabotage those differences. The two automakers are likely coming together to create better engines at a lower price. Both automakers will have to spend less on research and development, and they will be able to combine their technological advances together to make a superior engine compared to what either automaker currently offers. Many buyers likely won’t realize that the engines are so closely related, and the ones that do will be more interested in the look, or the other differences of the vehicles than anything else.
Keeping things Different
Audi and Porsche have always gone to great lengths to differentiate their vehicles from one another. They specially tune and adjust their engines and up until now have made use of different components entirely to keep the cars separate from one another. It’s hard to say how the automakers are going to differentiate the vehicles now that they will be based on the same engines going forward. Likely the automakers will tune them differently, and scaling will come into play as well, but both an Audi and a Porsche might end up driving more similarly than they once did in the future.
It’s likely that diehard Porsche or Audi fans aren’t going to be too happy about this collaboration between the two luxury automakers. The vehicles are going to get more similar, but they will also each be improving. Future Audi and Porsche models will be more efficient and likely more reliable as well, and that’s good for everyone.