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Porsche's future plans


A new-age family of turbo-only Porsches could be coming as the sports car specialist looks for more speed with improved efficiency.

The German brand believes downsizing its engines, then boosting them with turbos, could be the answer as it rejects any chance for a diesel drive into the 911.

Work has already begun on the next all-new 911 for 2011 and development chief August Achleitner says Porsche is making a big drive on a car which will be crucial to its future.

"It will be quicker and faster, but using less fuel," he says.

"These are the goals for the future - to make the car even greener. To still be the special sports car, but to look for social acceptance."

He is clear in rejecting a diesel 911, while opening the door for a smaller capacity engine family with turbos. Porsche already uses high- performance turbochargers for its GT2 and all-wheel drive Turbo, but this would be different and potentially more efficient than any of today's flat-six Porsche motors.

"I have nothing against diesels, but it will influence the character of the car. This would be too damaging for the success of the car," he says.

"The next step with gasoline engines is to add a turbocharger to reduce the capacity of the engine. This would be a better way of downsizing without losing the characteristics of today."

Achleitner is also against a hybrid 911, even though the company has an upcoming petrol-electric version of the Cayenne SUV.

"Of course we could do a hybrid 911. From a technical point of view it is possible," he says.

"But it doesn't help to produce this car just for show, if a customer does not want to buy it."

Achleitner is already testing the successor to today's just-updated 997-series 911, which is completed by the glass-topped Targa model, and is open on many fronts including engine choices and the use of more aluminium to cut weight.

"Ask me in five years. The world is changing so fast at the moment," he says.

"Our program is fixed up to 2013, but then it starts to become a little more grey. With all the political changes . . ."

But he is very definite on the chance for a diesel-powered 911.

"It doesn't make sense in our opinion," Achleitner says. "You lose the sound. You hear almost nothing."

"On the other hand, diesel engines are so heavy. When we are working to save every gram of weight in the rear end . . ."

But he can see advantages in diesel technology, like the direct fuel injection which has already been applied to the latest 911s.

"I think diesel and gasoline engines will come together to combine the advantages of both. In our opinion there is no need to change to diesel. They haven't solved the problem of the particulates (emission)."

Achleitner hints that the next 911 will be more of an advance than the 997 was over the 996, and certainly the latest mid-life updates which have been applied to the car this year from the Carrera 2 through to the latest Targa 4 and Targa 4S.

"The 911 story will always be evolutionary. Maybe smaller or bigger steps, but never revolutionary," he says.

"The next 911 . . . you will be in no doubt. We must look for the performance capability. What is important is drag co-efficient, weight, efficiency.

"We are living for the image of this car. It is just nice for the customers to know this car can do it, if they want."

 

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