Auto blogMon, 03 Nov 2014 11:57:00 EST
Think of the electric motor in the facelifted 2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid as the cream filling in an Oreo cookie. Under the hood of this plug-in hybrid crossover is a 333-horsepower, supercharged 3.0-liter V6 with a 95-hp synchronous electric motor sandwiched between it and an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. The clutched powertrain allows pure combustion, pure electric or a combination of both to drive all four wheels through Porsche's permanent all-wheel-drive system.
Differentiating itself from the Panamera S E-Hybrid sedan, which shares the same basic powertrain and stores energy in a 9.4-kWh battery, the Cayenne crossover is fit with a more robust 10.8-kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers an estimated pure-electric driving range of up to 22 miles at speeds of up to 78 miles per hour.
To be one of the very first US media members to sample Porsche's latest fuel-efficient crossover, the automaker flew us to Frankfurt, Germany, to test the five-passenger Cayenne S E-Hybrid on its home turf.
Rod Emory was the founder of Emory Motorsports in Burbank, CA, and the scion to a family tradition of building "outlaw" Porsches that are almost as cool as the cars themselves. The lovingly modified Porsche 356s are lovely artifacts, and their story, along with the story of their builders, is pitch-perfect for the Petrolicious oeuvre of beloved classics.
Tune in for the history lesson, and then stick around for the car candy.
The Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey (right) is out, and the top two spots look much the same as last year's list with Lexus and Toyota in first and second place, respectively. However, there are some major shakeups for 2014, with Acura plunging eight spots from third in 2013 to 11th this year, and Mazda replaces it on the lowest step of the podium. Honda and Audi round out the top five. This year's list includes six Japanese brands in the top 10, two Europeans, one America and one Korean.
Acura isn't the only one taking a tumble, though. Infiniti is the biggest loser this year by dropping 14 spots to 20th place. Other big losses come from Mercedes-Benz with an 11-place fall to 24th, and GMC, which declines 10 positions to 19th.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not traditional mechanical bugs hauling down these automaker's reliability scores. Instead, pesky problems with infotainment systems are taking a series toll on the rankings. According to Consumer Reports, complaints about "in-car electronics" were the most grumbled about element in new cars. Problem areas included things like unresponsive touchscreens, issues pairing phones and multi-use controllers that refused to work right.
Porsche is best known for building very well-regarded sports cars and better-selling utility vehicles. Come to the company with a big enough bag of cash, though, and the Porsche Engineering division can create just about anything. The group's past projects include working with Harley-Davidson, Mercedes-Benz and corporate cousin Audi, but if rumors prove true, then its latest partner might be the last one you'd expect.
Russian website Wroom reports that Porsche Engineering is building the engine for the Project Cortege government limousine project for Russian president Vladimir Putin. The mill is supposedly a turbocharged V12 displacing between 6.0- and 6.6-liters and making around 800 horsepower. When complete, it will reportedly be built by ZMZ with Russian-sourced parts.
The limo is expected to debut in 2017, according to Wroom, but it's just the beginning of Putin's grandiose plans, which also goes by the name of the Motorcade Project. The same platform is also meant to underpin several vehicles for use by the government, including an SUV, a small bus and a sedan. All of them would reportedly have a longitudinally mounted engine and all-wheel drive.
Believe it or not, between the 918 Spyder, the Cayenne and the Panamera, Porsche offers more plug-in hybrid models than any other brand. Yes, Porsche. But don't expect that trend to continue. At least, not in the immediate future.
According to Top Gear, the E-Hybrid powertrain in the Cayenne and Panamera is too big to fit into the smaller Macan. A future hybrid system could be small enough to fit, but with the current technology still fresh, that'd still be some ways down the twisting road.
It stands to reason, then, that if the system wouldn't fit in the Macan, it wouldn't fit in the Boxster or Cayman, either. But what of the 911? Surely Porsche would like to stick it to BMW and its new i8, and proved it could do a hybrid 911 when it rolled the GT3 R Hybrid (pictured) out onto the race track over four years ago. But Zuffenhausen is reportedly in no rush to put that idea into production - not for the current 911 and not for the next one, either.
Still planning on getting your hands on a Porsche 918 Spyder? You'd better act quickly, because word has it that the hybrid hypercar is nearly sold out.
While Porsche has reportedly only delivered a little over 30 of the 918 examples of the Spyder it plans to manufacture in total, Automotive News says that production is sold out through late March or early April - just a few months shy of when production is set to wrap in July.
That's pretty impressive for a car with a base price of almost $850,000, especially one requiring a $200,000 deposit just to get your name on the list. Still, that sum is significantly less than its competitors get for the McLaren P1 or LaFerrari, both of which sell for over a million (if you can actually get on one at that price), though in fairness, production of each is limited to less than half of the 918 Spyder.
This is how we imagine the conversation went in Porsche's Stuttgart headquarters: "Martini livery. Martini livery all the things." Okay, so maybe not, but that hasn't stopped Porsche from showing off images of its entire lineup bearing the iconic racing livery.
While we aren't sure about the questionably yellow 911 and lime green Macan, the navy blue Cayenne and the white Panamera both look pretty spectacular as they lap about the streets of Sochi, Russia.
As for why the liveried sports cars and crossovers were at the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, we aren't totally sure. Porsche's Facebook page, where the images first popped up, was really light on details. Whatever the reason, we fully support Porsche doing more with Martini livery. Take a look at the full gallery to see what we mean.
Currently, Porsche builds two turbocharged 911s - the Turbo and the Turbo S (and their cabriolet counterparts). The rest of the 911 range, meanwhile, is motivated by either 3.4- or 3.8-liter flat-sixes of varying outputs. This clear separation could be set to change in the very near future, though, as rumors continue to swirl that Porsche's rear-engined range could switch exclusively to turbocharged power.
This time, it's Car projecting that the 911 range will go turbocharged as part of a mid-cycle refresh, with the base Carrera's 3.4-liter dropping to 2.9 liters and adding an iron lung, bumping the entry level 911 up to 400 horsepower. Yes, a 400-horsepower, entry level 911. The Carrera S, meanwhile, will retain its 3.8-liter engine, but will also benefit from turbocharging, increasing output to 530 horsepower and 520 pound-feet of torque. So basically, it sounds like the current, 520-hp 911 Turbo will become the next Carrera S.
What does that mean for Porsche's traditional high-performance models? Well, it's a safe bet that the Turbo, Turbo S and eventual GT2 will be producing seriously huge power figures. Based on pure speculation, we wouldn't be shocked to see a 600-hp Turbo, with the S and GT2 increasing output markedly from there.
Autocar wants to find Britain's best driver's car, and it's challenging a murderers' row of some of the world's best performance vehicles to find out, including the latest Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. All of them were therefore assembled at the Castle Combe Circuit to find a winner.
If it wants to take the crown from this pack of mostly European competitors, the 'Vette has to beat some steep competition. Its challengers include monsters like the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Ariel Atom 3.5R and Jaguar F-Type Coupe. As a further hurdle for the winner to clear, Autocar also has last year's champ among the fighters - the Porsche 911 GT3.
Even if you're not at all interested in the C7, there's still something here for practically any fan of fast cars. The competitors include relative oddities among the pack like the Renault Mégane RS Trophy and Alfa Romeo 4C. Plus, Autocar has some well-positioned microphones that let you hear the Atom wailing like a banshee and the roar of the 458 Speciale. Check out the video to see which one of these all-stars takes home the award this year.
We wouldn't go so far as to say God is a Porsche fan, but those in charge of one of the holiest Christian spots on our little blue marble are welcoming the German automaker into one of the religion's most revered and beautiful settings - the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. In so doing, Porsche will reportedly become the first company to rent out the holy hall for a corporate function.
Now, it's not like Pope Francis has signed off on Porsche doing do donuts in a 911 underneath Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. Instead, the Vatican has rented out the home of the Papal Conclave to the Porsche Travel Club, which will host a classical music concert. The Travel Club organizes events and tours across Europe for Porsche enthusiasts, with the Vatican concert just one part of a tour of Rome.
According to Automotive News Europe, Porsche will sell 40 tickets - at 5,000 euros each ($6,379) - to the event, while the Vatican has confirmed that the Pope will not be in attendance.