History repeats itself! When the 996 series introduced a water-cooled instead of an air-cooled boxer engine in the rear of the Porsche 911 Carrera, Porsche aficionados were up in arms. Unconfirmed rumours suggest that security at the Zuffenhausen headquarters had to be temporarily reinforced. Fans had to swallow another bitter pill with the introduction of the 991 series when the 911 Carrera engines were turbocharged for the first time. And now this! The 911 is being electrified with a facelift, causing an uproar among die-hard fans on social media. Comments ranged from, “Sometimes you wonder, are you sitting in a Hyundai or a Porsche?” to “Not cool,” and more drastic reactions like, “What a disgrace for the 911!! Assault.” When it comes to their holy grail, the community of 911 fans has no sense of humour.

Expectations for the new engine generation, debuting in the Porsche 911 GTS, were high from the start. Porsche 911 series manager Frank Moser made it clear: “We can’t afford for anything to go wrong with the Porsche 911!” His predecessor and current Bentley CEO Frank-Steffen Walliser had already announced three years ago: “We believe we’ve found the philosopher’s stone.” We speculated about hybridisation with capacitors from motorsport and received a knowing smile, which wasn’t entirely off the mark. A 400-volt battery with 216 round cells and a capacity of 1.9 kilowatt-hours powers the hybridisation. Besides its light weight of 27 kilograms, the battery’s ability to rapidly absorb and release power is crucial, or the complex setup wouldn’t work.

Let’s take a closer look at the culprit, which Porsche calls the T-Hybrid. The engine now has 3.6 litres of displacement instead of three and only one turbocharger. Previously, Porsche used a biturbo concept. Just one turbo? That means a larger impeller, similar in size to the legendary Porsche Turbo 930. This immediately suggests a “turbo lag!” Rightly so. To mitigate this, engineers use the principle of an electric compressor. An electric motor, placed between the compressor and turbine wheel, helps the sluggish impeller even at low revs. The result is dynamic responsiveness: 500 Newton-metres of torque are available at just 1,500 rpm, reaching a maximum of 610 Nm below 2,000 rpm. The trick is that the eTurbo, with its 11 kW / 15 PS output, feeds energy to either the battery or the electric motor, depending on the driving situation.

This happens as soon as the “starting aid” is no longer needed, through the movement of the impeller. A wastegate valve to control the boost pressure is no longer necessary. A high-voltage distributor, located on the engine, directs the gained energy either to the battery or the electric motor, depending on the charge level and driving situation. To maximise the system’s efficiency, a larger diameter exhaust system ensures better throughput. To accommodate the hybrid components, engineers had to redesign the engine, making it eleven centimetres flatter than the current unit.

The PSM electric motor, producing 41 kW / 54 PS, is specially adapted and placed in the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission between the crankshaft and driveshaft. It participates in propulsion or recovers energy for the high-voltage battery during recuperation. Since there is no clutch involved, the Porsche 911 GTS cannot drive purely on electric power, which could be useful in some city centres. However, the system’s primary purpose is to comply with the strict EU 7 emission standard, achieved through an almost ideal fuel-air mixture ratio (Lambda = 1) across the engine’s entire map. Performance is also crucial for Porsche, combining E-power and the combustion engine (357 kW / 485 PS) for a total output of 398 kW / 541 PS—45 kW / 61 PS more than before.

The key question is how this complex system performs on the road and track. Nominally, it’s grand. On the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife, the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS T-Hybrid outperforms its predecessor by 8.7 seconds, clocking in at 7:16.934 minutes, despite a weight gain of around 50 kilograms. In plain terms, the new GTS weighs just under 1.6 tonnes without the driver. This also raises concerns among some fans. For comparison, the McLaren Artura, a plug-in hybrid with a much heavier battery, weighs 200 kilograms less. Admittedly, it’s a significantly more expensive supercar with a carbon monocoque, but with a price starting at 170,600 euros for the GTS T-Hybrid, Porsche isn’t exactly cheap either. “We fought for every gram for three years,” explains project manager Clenn Giebenhein.

On country roads, the new 911 GTS, with a sprint time of 3.0 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and a top speed of 312 km/h, has few rivals. The interplay between the old and new powertrains is mostly smooth, with only a slight hiccup in cold conditions once. The chassis, featuring standard rear-axle steering and a ten-millimetre lowered body, keeps the Porsche firmly planted in every corner. The suspension tuning is truly successful. Even in dynamic driving modes, the suspension is not overly harsh but harmoniously balanced, bringing the GTS (Gran Turismo Sport) letters to life.

The roll stabilisation system, linked to the high-voltage system, allows electrohydraulic control via electric motor, making it even more precise. The electromechanical Porsche steering once again lives up to its good reputation, doing exactly what the driver desires and consistently communicating traction status. The wonderfully throaty six-cylinder boxer engine is a delight, sounding rich but not excessively loud. On the track, the Porsche 911 Carrera GTS T-Hybrid also excels, making it easy to navigate even the trickiest corner combinations with ease and speed. For those who prefer a more active rear end, the GTS with rear-wheel drive is the choice; those who favour agile front-end handling should opt for the all-wheel-drive version. So, there’s a GTS 911 for everyone, provided you have enough financial horsepower in your pocket.

Previous articleUmbrellas, Charm & Hypercars: The Aurora Scandinavian Concours

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here