What is Active Aerodynamics?
Active aerodynamics implies actively changing the shape of the car, and therefore its wind profile, while you are driving. A long list of performance aspects depends on how air flows over your car. For example, a smaller profile will have lower drag and so will a smoother profile. But if you can find a way to direct air upwards you can exert a downforce on the car which means it will handle better and braking will be more responsive. Being able to not only control, but also change the aerodynamics of your car, will allow for a faster, more responsive ride.
How does Porsche do it?
On the 2014 911 Turbo and Turbo S, both the front and back spoilers incorporate active aerodynamics. The front spoiler is a lip which extends from below the front bumper to restrict airflow underneath the car. Restricting the airflow decreases the pressure in that area and the car will be sucked onto the road giving better traction. There are three settings ranging from fully retracted to fully extended, trading efficiency for grip.
The rear spoiler also has three options, each with its own specific purpose. The spoiler is able to rise up and tilt, both functions which are utilized to increase downforce, again giving you the grip you need at high speeds.
At speeds below 120km/h, both the front and rear spoiler will be fully retracted. This will mean the car is highly fuel efficient and will be able to navigate parking ramps and obstacles without bumping against the floor. When fully retracted, the front lip will be able to clear ramps with gradients of up to 10°.
But it is at 120km/h where the real fun begins. Once the car crosses the 120km/h mark, the front spoiler will extend its edge lips, which funnel the air into specially designed vents for cooling the brakes. The air will only pass through the heat exchanger just before leaving the vehicle for great amounts of rapid cooling. All of this cooling and air redirection, will only amount to a negligible 4% of the total air resistance of the car. At the same time, the rear spoiler rises by 25mm, for that added downforce. The downforce combined with the well cooled brakes makes for a smooth, yet responsive ride.
And finally if you aren’t having enough fun you can put your 911 Turbo or Turbo S into Sports mode. This mode is meant for those wide open country roads or even a few laps around the track. The whole point of Sports mode is to squeeze as much performance out of the car as possible. The front spoiler is now fully extended, obvious because the Turbo or Turbo S branding will be visible. The rear spoiler is now at an exorbitant 75mm above the deck and angled 7° more forward. The car now experiences the maximum amount of downforce possible, equivalent to 150kg of added weight.
Porsche has taken an advanced technology normally reserved for motorsport cars and given it to the average Joe. This just shows their willingness to continue evolving their iconic brand into the car every boy and man dreams of driving.