Auto blogSun, 24 Aug 2014 19:29:00 EST
If you want to move five passengers in very rapid fashion and you've got a $75,000 budget, two newly introduced four-door models immediately come to mind - both are the highest performing vehicles in their respective segments. But which is faster off the line, to the 60-mile-per-hour benchmark or flat-out over an even longer run? Evo took both to paved aircraft runway to find out.
In lane one we've got the all-new Porsche Macan Turbo, which boasts a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter V6 rated at 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The Porsche is fitted with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, and the 4,244-pound crossover has the traction advantage of standard all-wheel drive. In lane two is the all-new BMW M3, powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It is also equipped with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, but only the rear wheels of the 3,595-pound sedan are driven. Both the BMW and Porsche arrive with launch control, which helps to remove driver error off the line.
Which automaker's launch control system is better off the line? Does all-wheel-drive grip give the crossover the advantage it needs to overcome its adversary's power-to-weight advantage? Will aerodynamics factor into the results? Which would you put in your garage, and why? The video may surprise you.
Would a Porsche still be a Porsche if it weren't as exclusive? That's the question which industry pundits are asking - and customers may soon as well - as the German automaker emerges from the fringe in pursuit of larger volumes.
A dozen years ago Porsche was barely selling over 50,000 units per annum. In a sales surge that has gathered pace as fast as a 911 Turbo, however, it was already hovering around the 100,000-unit mark a few years later. Last year it sold over 160,000, and has targeted 200,000 units by 2018. But it may not even take that long.
Automotive News reports that Porsche has advanced its targets to reach for 200,000 units by the end of this year or the next. The bump in sales would be driven particularly by the introduction of the new Macan, of which it aims to sell 50,000 units annually, starting next year. The Cayenne currently stands far and away as its most successful model. The 911 and Panamera have swapped second place a few times over the past five years, followed by the Boxster and Cayman.
Will Roegge has turned his camera on Jeff Zwart and provided another gem, this time documenting Zwart's run up Pikes Peak and BBI Autosport. Bertim Besha dropped out of high school, then worked his way up to founding his own shop, BBI, that gathers a crew of tuners who are just as fastidious about their work as the customers are about their cars.
They prepped the 991-series Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Turbo, the product of combining a 911 GT2 that was the most powerful car Zwart drove up the mountain with a GT3 Cup that Zwart thought had the best handling. Two TiAL turbos and a lot of fettling make for a 3.8-liter flat-six with 700 horsepower, 700 pound-feet of torque and a 7,800-rpm redline. Zwart drove it to a heartbreaking second place this year, finishing less than 1.2 seconds behind the Time Attack 1 class winner when his car suffered its first mechanical issue of the week.
The first video below covers Besha, BBI and the build, the second is Zwart's run. As if the visuals weren't enough, sit back and enjoy the shrieking of the "Hill Climb Special," which is what the constellation Sirius would sound like if it could bark.
What good is a sports car if you haven't got a great place to drive it? It's a common refrain that we've heard time and time again. But few are as familiar with the problem as they are in the UK, where the number of people, cars on the road and traffic cameras keep growing to conspire against the joy of driving. Leave it to Evo, then, to depart in search of the greatest driving road in the world.
It's a pursuit that's taken the British car mag across Europe, most recently to Romania's Carpathian Mountains where it added the Transalpina Pass to its short list. But its latest journey has taken Evo to the Spanish island of Majorca, where Henry Catchpole found not one, but two spectacular driving roads from behind the wheel of the new Porsche Boxster GTS. We could drone on about the smooth, empty ribbons of twisting tarmac with excellent visibility and panoramic vistas... but you really want to see the video for yourself. Don't miss Evo's previous trip to Romania in the Jaguar F-Type, which we've included below, as well.
Think Mini is the king of Go-Kart Handling[TM]? Well, you might be mistaken, as Porsche proves here it's fully capable of delivering a driving experience that'd fit in quite nicely on a go-kart track.
Using a new and very red Cayman GTS, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer invades a kart track in northern Italy and sets the mid-engined sports car loose to slip, slide and zip its way around the circuit. As far as videos for Sunday evening go, this one ticks all the boxes.
Take a look.
Porsche has been taking its time developing the most hardcore 911 models for the latest 991 chassis. While the GT3 has been on the market for a little while, it suffered from some teething issues. The 911 GT3 RS is certainly on the radar since being spotted testing, but it's always better to get a look at a new car without all of the camo to hide the coolest parts. Thankfully, Car in the UK has some patent photos of the RS ahead of its debut, and they show off one mean-looking 911.
The first thing that you notice about the RS is that Porsche clearly isn't afraid to rework the latest 911's shape for its track-focused version. Each piece is slightly resculpted to squeeze the most out of it. Up front, the air dam has the same shape to the earlier photos. They also both highlight the upcoming model's tiny air inlet at the tip of the hood, the massive intakes in the rear fenders and general design of the rear wing with a ducktail underneath. The bubbled roof is much clearer here, where it was disguised in spy shots. You can also spot the slashing fender gills behind the front wheels that are a completely new feature.
The GT3 RS is the ultimate naturally aspirated 911 for the street, but according to Car, Porsche aims to take that even farther with the latest model. If these are the looks, then it's working. Unfortunately, the new version's powerplant remains a mystery. Though, given all the changes to the bodywork, the engine is almost surely getting tweaked over the 475-horsepower GT3. The RS is rumored to hit the road and be screaming down the track in 2015.
I'd be willing to bet that 99 percent of all Porsche Macan owners will never take their vehicle on a track or see any more off-roading than a dirt path to a summer cottage, yet I maintain that there is no better venue to explore the absolute outer limits of the automaker's newest small family transport than on a racing circuit and an off-road course. It's testing at each extreme of the vehicle's operating envelope, with both challenges requiring very different capabilities. With that in mind, and looking forward to dirty floor mats and corded tires, I jumped at the opportunity from Porsche to wring out its new Macan S at Willow Springs International Raceway, located in Southern California's high desert.
The range-topping Macan Turbo (base price $72,300 plus $995 destination), with its 400 horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6 gets most of the glory these days. But many, including myself, would argue that its slightly less powerful sibling, the Macan S, is actually the pick of the new litter. Despite having 60 fewer horses under the hood and giving up six-tenths of a second in the sprint to 60 miles per hour, it costs a massive $22,400 less - money better spent on equipment that improves the crossover's ride comfort and capability, or perhaps a well-used Boxster for weekends.
Despite a reasonably attractive starting price of $49,900 (plus destination), very few Porsche buyers will leave the showroom with a base model. My Dark Blue Metallic Macan S tester was equipped with a slew of mechanical upgrades, including air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus), Sport Chrono Package and 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels. A Premium Package and a few other miscellaneous options bloated its price to $69,870. That's a very steep price for the premium compact crossover segment, but it's still less than a base Macan Turbo.
Some stories are so sad and depressing, they make you want to go back to bed and pull the covers over your head. This is one such story. 14-year-old Raphael Wittman was suffering from an unspecified form of terminal cancer when he was invited by the children's cancer charity Kinder Krebs Hilfe to a charity drive organized by Porsche Forum Austria. During the drive, the Porsche Boxster Wittman was riding in was involved in a head-on collision. Both of his legs were broken and he bit off his tongue in the wreck. He died seven weeks later, in a Vienna hospital. Now, his father is suing the charity, claiming that the accident robbed his son of the will to live.
"The accident set off a chain of events starting with the doctors putting him on new medication for the cancer he had. He was always a fighter, but suddenly he was saying that he was not going to fight any more," Franz Wittman told Austria's Kurier, according to The Guardian. "We would have had a wonderful last time together [on vacation] but it never happened because of the accident."
Father and son were originally planning to go to Tenerife to spend time together, although those plans were cancelled following the accident.
With more victories under its belt than any other manufacturer, you could say, in a figurative sense at least, that Porsche owns countless numbers of race tracks around the world. But here we're not talking about figuratively owning a track - we're talking about literally buying one. And Porsche has just bought Kyalami.
Kylamai, for those unfamiliar, is a grand prix circuit near Johannesburg in South Africa. Between 1967 and 1985, and again in '92 and '93, it was home to the South African Grand Prix, and has since hosted a variety of local and lower-level international races, but apparently fell on hard times. As a result, the track's owners - listed as Universal Property Professionals - put it up for auction. Bidders had to deposit four million Rand (about $380k) to participate, but after just 50 seconds, the auction was over.
The winning bid was placed - via telephone from the local press launch for the Macan - by Porsche South Africa CEO Toby Venter, who bid a reported 205 million rand (about $19.5 million) to take over the complex. The German automaker's South African division reportedly intends to keep the track open for racing, but could also be expected to use the facility for testing, customer track days and such moving forward.
Today, we have the Porsche 918 Spyder. Before that, there was the Carrera GT. While both of those cars are dramatic departures from the traditional, rear-engine Porsche formula, they owe their very existence to another wild child of the iconic German brand - the 959.
Like so many of the great performance cars of yesteryear, the 959 was a homologation special, built just so Porsche could go racing in the clinically insane Group B rally series. Fewer than 400 959s hit the streets, but those that did were some of the most advanced cars of the 1980s. A rear-mounted, twin-turbocharged flat-six sent its power through a still-rare all-wheel-drive system, creating a race-inspired rocket that was, for a short time, the fastest production car on the planet.
Xcar has the story of the 959, from its inception to its conquest of the Paris-Dakar rally, which is interspersed with a drive of the legendary coupe. Scroll down for the full video.