A Glimpse Into The World of Porsche Innovation
As every Porsche enthusiast will know, these machines are about far more than what meets the eye. Casual observers of the brand often moan about the evolutionary treatment given to Zuffenhausen’s best sports cars, but the rest of us know that it’s the mechanicals lurking beneath that represent the best bits of everything from the Boxster to the 918 Spyder.
With all that being said, we’re going to be taking a look – or a refresher, if you will – at some of the uniquely Porsche technologies and software systems currently in use. Here, we can assure any of the naysayers that the manufacturer is nothing if not revolutionary.
Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK)
Automatic or semi-automatic transmissions were not too long ago thought of as unthinkable in a sports car. Ponderous shifts, reduced economy and blunted performance were the main criticisms levelled at these transmissions. With the rise of double-clutch transmissions, these issues have largely been dealt with. Even so, PDK remains the industry standard for millisecond-quick gear changes. A seven-speed configuration, this “two-gearboxes-in-one” setup has found its way onto more and more Porsche models, with the 718 Boxster being the latest beneficiary. The first six gears are optimized for performance, with the seventh getting a longer ratio for better fuel efficiency.
Porsche Communication Management (PCM)
When you’re not reveling in the sound of a classic Porsche wail, you get to take advantage of its very latest audio and communication management system, dubbed PCM. A 7-inch, multi-touch screen makes use of a proximity sensor, ensuring that the desired information is displayed at the right time. With two SD card readers, Bluetooth, smartphone compatibility, an internal hard drive and voice control, the latest system is a great improvement on what came before.
With turbo-charged engines now featuring across the Boxster 718 and 911 ranges, it’s been a season of fundamental change when it comes to the ‘hearts’ of our favorite sports cars. The manufacturer claims that these new engines represent a leap forward “by reducing fuel consumption, not by suppressing emotions”. The best of both worlds, on the 911 Carrera for example, its peak torque output is produced from just 1700rpm, and with a still-high rev limit of 7500rpm, you have the option (if road space allows) to explore the upper reaches of the rev range.
Porsche 911 R
As one of the most recent and highly anticipated additions to the Porsche stable, the 911 R initially appears stripped-down next to more sumptuously appointed 911 models, but as a technological feat it is hugely impressive. Borrowing from motor racing technology, it features a rear underbody diffuser to maximize downforce. The sports exhaust is made from lightweight titanium, and as standard comes Porsche’s Ceramic Composite Brakes, an option on most other models – at 410mm on the front axle and an equally meaty 390mm at the rear, they provide incredible stopping power.
These are but a glimpse into the innovative world of Porsche technology. Under the skin most of it may be, but these are some of the innovations that have kept the manufacturer at the front of the sports- and supercar market for decades.