With the official release of the next generation Porsche 911 coming closer, more details and rumors emerge. The new 2012 Porsche 911, internally designated as 991, will be green without compromising the driving experience.
Porsche is to use more hybrid drivetrains and lightweight materials to improve the efficiency of its vehicles. But this doesn’t mean the use of green technologies will restrain the driving pleasure of the German sportscar. Michael Steiner, head of the development of the Panamera Hybrid, said in an interview with Autocar that Porsche wants to “adjust the power delivery of its electric powertrains to produce a more Porsche-like driving experience.”
A main issue with electric motors is the fact these produce their peak torque immediately and therefore threatens to homogenize the acceleration experience. In other words, these motors could make the driving experience less exciting, especially if you consider the sound produced by electric motors.
Despite being less efficient, Porsche is working on a way to combine the PDK dual-clutch transmission with electric motors to encourage the driver to rev more and to enhance the driving pleasure. Porsche even admits that “extended-range electric vehicles s are not suitable for Porsche.”
Other news is the denial of speculations that the new 911 will be equipped with a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) hybrid system, similar to the one used in Formula 1 racing. The KERS will recoup energy during braking and store it in a sophisticated dedicated flywheel system. All this of course to meet environmental demands and bring fuel efficiency to new levels.
The use of KERS is not entirely new to the 911. Porsche brought their hybrid know-how to the racetrack last year. The 911 GT3 R Hybrid acts as a rolling laboratory and has two electric motors, each developing 80 brake horsepower, driving the front wheels to supplements the 480 brake horsepower four-liter flat-six engine at the rear. The car almost won the 24 Hours race at the Nürburgring last year.
According to a high-level source the suggestion of KERS in the new 911 is “nonsense because the system is currently applied to a race car. Nothing else is planned. The new 911 will not be offered with hybrid drive for the foreseeable future. If and when it is, then it will most likely happen as a plug-in.”
Porsche is also experimenting with some new materials like lightweight steels, aluminium and magnesium. Magnesium is said to have production advantages over carbon fiber or aluminium — but it requires protection from corrosion. For example, depending on their size and configuration, some magnesium parts can be fabricated up to 50 percent faster than the same parts in aluminum while the assembly costs are lower than carbon fiber.
Even more rumors came from Car and Driver which received the confirmation from various corporate sources that Porsche will offer a seven-speed manual. The point is to offer a tall, seventh gear for improved efficiency and reduced engine noise during long cruises. This seven-speed manual is derived from Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic.
The next generation 911 scheduled to debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show this September. So stay tuned for more news!