As my dad always said, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Such is obviously the mantra of Porsche as well, because it never goes halfway with any of its models, and never seems to slow in…

2018 Porsche Panamera Road Test

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The 440-hp Panamera 4S was the least powerful trim tested this time around, and it’s still extremely fast. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

As my dad always said, if you’re going to do something, do it right. Such is obviously the mantra of Porsche as well, because it never goes halfway with any of its models, and never seems to slow in its relentless push for perfection. 

Over the past year I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy plenty of opportunities behind the wheel of the new Porsche Panamera, from a more entry-level Panamera 4 to the sensational new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, plus the Panamera 4S and 4 E-Hybrid models in between, not to mention the shapely new Panamera Sport Turismo in top-line Turbo guise, with each stint behind the wheel impressing me more. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid makes a soul-stirring 462 net horsepower. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

To help you appreciate the breadth of Panamera models available, Porsche divides its road-hugging four-door coupe into three categories including Panamera, Panamera E-Hybrid and Panamera Turbo. Within these classifications are three body styles and various states of tune. The former includes the regular-length Panamera, the long-wheelbase Panamera Executive that adds 150 mm (5.9 inches) between the axles and significantly lengthens the entire car for improved rear legroom, and the shooting-brake, wagon-style Panamera Sport Turismo that uses the regular wheelbase yet increases cargo volume by 27 litres (1.0 cubic foot) behind the rear seatbacks and 51 litres (1.8 cubic feet) when those seats are folded flat, while the latter variances are much more diverse. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The Panamera Sport Turismo, driven here in 550-hp Turbo guise, includes an elongated roofline for a sport wagon profile. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

With my best attempt to keep the list simple and straightforward (truly, a spreadsheet would work better), the unnamed base Panamera trim incorporates a 330 horsepower turbocharged V6 with rear-wheel drive (RWD); the numeric 4 designation signifies the same engine with all-wheel drive (AWD); the 4S denotes a twin-turbo V6 making 440 horsepower mated to AWD; the 4 E-Hybrid combines a twin-turbo V6 with Porsche’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain and AWD for 462 net horsepower; the Turbo boasts a twin-turbocharged V8 and AWD for 550 horsepower; and finally the Turbo S E-Hybrid with its twin-turbo V8, plug-in hybrid and AWD combination results in a staggering 680 net horsepower. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid shown here might look similar to the white 4 E-Hybrid parked behind, but it makes an additional 218 horsepower at 680. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Connecting powerplant to driveline is Porsche’s new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that works with both hybrid and non-hybrid models, as well as both rear- and all-wheel drivetrains. Introduced just last year with this new Panamera, the new gearbox might just be the most important “cog in the wheel” both literally and figuratively, in that it replaces three transmissions from the previous generation, including a six-speed manual used with base model V6 and naturally aspirated V8 trims, a seven-speed PDK found most everywhere else, and an Aisin-sourced (owned by Toyota) Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic exclusive to hybrids and diesel models. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The recently redesigned Panamera is a much better looking car than its predecessor from front to back. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

That’s a lot of logistical complexity to deal with from a business standpoint and, just as importantly, a big challenge for Stuttgart’s engineers with respect to integrating Porsche performance DNA into what is essentially a Lexus slushbox. They did an admirable job, evidenced today in various Cayenne trims that still use the conventional autobox due to its towing and off-road attributes, but the performance gained by the new eight-speed PKD has transformed hybridized Panameras from fast fuel-sippers to the dominant forces within the Panamera lineup. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera’s standard LED headlamps feature Porsche’s trademark four-point signature driving lights. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

I need to be careful not to delve too deeply into the new eight-speed PDK, as I could easily take up most of this review in technical analysis, but suffice to say it builds on the seven-speed original that was already impressive, with better efficiency, quicker shifts, smoother shift intervals, and most importantly greater strength, the new transmission given a torque ceiling that reaches upwards to 737 lb-ft. 

This last point is critical when fitted to the aforementioned hybrid powertrains that produce gobs of twist at a much faster rate than their conventionally powered siblings. To be clear, Porsche didn’t create a one-size-fits-all dual-clutch gearbox solution, but rather a modular design that allows different versions of the same basic transmission to be used for hybrid, non-hybrid, rear-wheel, and all-wheel applications. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera’s new full-width singular taillight incorporates four-point signature LEDs at each corner. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For instance, the electrified variant fits its hybrid module within the PDK’s bellhousing, while a hang-on clutch transfers torque to the front axle in conventionally powered all-wheel drive configurations. With a focus on efficiency, the eight-speed PDK provides three overdrive ratios, which means the Panamera achieves its terminal velocity in sixth gear. Of course, I’m just grazing over some surface details of this impressive new transmission so as not to lull you into a coma, so let me wrap it up by saying this in-house design serves all Panamera purposes very well. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera combines extreme performance with a wonderfully luxurious interior made from the finest materials. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

When ensconced inside the Panamera’s contrast-stitched, leather-lined, black/grey lacquer-, hardwood- or carbon-fibre-trimmed, metal-adorned, digital display-decorated cabin, with left hand on the thick-rimmed, thin-spoked, leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and right hand slotting the leather- and metal-finished, pistol-grip shifter from the “RND” side of the equation into “M” for manual, although it could just as easily represent maximum fun, you won’t care one whit about what’s going on below that shift lever, so long as the new eight-speed PDK delivers on all of its noted promises. Believe me, it does. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
Despite being a large four-door sport sedan, the Panamera cockpit delivers sports car-like intimacy. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My first extended test drive in a second-generation Panamera was in a just-above-base 4, and while harnessed to just 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque I found it quite lively, launching to 100km/h from standstill in only 5.5 seconds, 0.2 seconds quicker than the rear-drive base model, and feeling light and agile while doing so. This said the Panamera 4S I spent a week with was much more entertaining, its overall mass much the same yet its aforementioned 440 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque resulting in 4.4 seconds to 100km/h, but as thrilling as that was, two of the three others I drove more recently are in another league altogether. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
Clear, bright, colourful, and filled with highly functional features, the Panamera’s gauge cluster is impressive. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Comparing the 4S to the 4 E-Hybrid is more or less a wash, as the latter takes a mere 0.2 seconds longer to hit the 100km/h mark and feels equally sporting, except for some 300 kilos (661 lbs) of weight gain that can be felt through sharp, fast-paced corners, but of course it’s the hybrid’s 5.1 Le/100km (compared to 10.1 L/100km) and ability to run totally on electric power for up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) at speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph) that separates it from the conventionally powered pack. On paper it appears as if it’ll rip a new hole in the tarmac, and while 4.6 seconds to 100km/h is no snail’s pace it remains the equal of its 4S counterpart, although its 462 net horsepower and 516 lb-ft of total combined torque make for some serious bragging rights. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The Panamera’s infotainment display is massive, and revised centre stack an exercise in elegant minimalism. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

And then there are the Turbos. My Panamera Turbo tester wore the slightly heftier Sport Turismo body style, but the twin-turbo V8’s 550 horses and 567 lb-ft of twist managed to haul it to 100km/h in a scant 3.6 seconds thanks to its Sport Chrono package that takes 0.2 seconds off its regular sprint time of 3.8 seconds, a feeling that has to be close to being flung from a massive car catapult, or more accurately a trebuchet (check YouTube for a little fun), that is until I did the same in the world’s fastest four-door hybrid. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The infotainment touchscreen’s HD resolution is unsurpassed in the industry. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The Turbo S E-Hybrid is why the new eight-speed PDK needed to be so robust. With its twin-turbo V8 and plug-in hybrid combination making a shocking 680 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque it needed to be as strong as possible, its outrageous all-wheel thrust capable of flinging it to 100km/h in a seemingly unreal 3.4 seconds despite gaining 315 kilograms (694 lbs) over its Turbo counterpart, let alone 140 kg (308 lbs) more than the lesser 4 E-Hybrid. 

Batteries are heavy, not to mention all the compact yet still mass amassing hybrid components, but once again it’s all worth it when passing by the pump, the top-tier Panamera also excelling at efficiency performance with a claimed 4.8 Le/100km rating. It’s truly a best of both worlds, have your cake and eat it too kind of car. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
Driving modes can be set via this handy rotating dial on the steering wheel. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Again, you can feel the heavier hybrid in the corners, but the Panamera’s suspension is so brilliantly dialed in, and no doubt capable of its top track speed of 310 km/h (192 mph), my tester equipped with the same 21-inch alloys on 275/35ZR21 Michelin Pilot Sport 4s as the lighter weight Sport Turismo, that it kept up without issue. 

Despite driving three of these Panameras back to back, it’s impossible to compare all four of them directly, as each was filled with unique features from Porsche’s bevy of available options. This side of bespoke coachbuilders that make most everything by hand, no other manufacturer offers as many possible build combinations as Porsche. Just go ahead and try to put one together on the company’s online configurator and you’ll quickly figure out what I mean. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The Sports Chrono Package adds a chronograph-infused clock that can be personalized with unique face designs. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

For instance, the 4 E-Hybrid I drove was one of two to include Rear Axle Steering with Power Steering Plus, the former benefiting low-speed manoeuvrability by pointing front and rear wheels in the opposite direction, shortening the turning circle, and also enhancing high-speed stability by steering the front and rear wheels in the same direction, while Power Steering Plus boosts the electric power steering to lighten its load at low speeds and firms it up while responding with more precision at high speeds. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid
The centre stack and its touch-sensitive controls is almost as impressive as the ultra-advanced transmission it houses. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

My Carrara White painted 4 E-Hybrid was shod in 21-inch rims and rubber too, albeit the latter from Pirelli, yet this car was obviously set up more for style and comfort than all-out performance. Its feature set included a SportDesign Package with satin black front fascia elements, extended side sills and more satin black in back, LED headlamps with dynamic cornering and self-cleaning capabilities, bright silver side window surrounds, proximity-sensing Comfort access, soft-close self-cinching doors, ambient interior lighting, a rich looking Cohiba Brown Club Leather Interior, painted air outlet grilles, four-zone auto climate control, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 18-way power-adjustable front seats with memory, a powered steering column, Bose surround audio, Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Change Assist, Night Vision Assist, a Speed Limit Indicator, front and rear parking sensors, and more. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera’s front seats look like they’ve been pulled from a 911, but in fact they’re larger, more adjustable, and can include more features like massage. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Many of the same features were included on the other two Turbo models, but the word Sport was a more common denominator. Most notable was the Sport Package that also adds Power Steering Plus and Rear Axle Steering, as well as the aforementioned Sport Chrono Package and a sport exhaust system, the sound exhilarating under throttle. 

Speaking of phenomenal acoustics, the Burgundy Red Metallic painted Turbo Sport Turismo included the Burmester 3D surround sound audio upgrade, complete with 21 individually controlled speakers and 1,455 watts of power, while an all-black interior theme complemented by a gorgeous Carbon Fiber Interior Package maintained its sporting character. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The dual-pane panoramic sunroof makes for a more open, airier cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The top-tier Turbo S E-Hybrid’s interior was even more luxe, with a white accented tachometer and Sport Chrono dial designed to match the Black/Chalk cabin colour theme, plus extended leather across the dash, and much more. 

To give you an idea of how wide the Panamera pricing spectrum reaches, the base model starts at just $97,300 before freight and fees, while my Turbo S E-Hybrid’s as-tested price was $238,535. Certainly it was well equipped, the base Turbo S E-Hybrid starting at $209,800, but also know that it was far from loaded, a lesson I quickly learned when configuring my Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo dream car to a final tally north of $300k — check CarCostCanada.com for all retail and dealer invoice prices, plus rebate information. If you were wondering whether the Panamera is able to duke it out with the Aston Martin Rapide in exotic territory, now you know. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
The Panamera is a four-door coupe, but rear seat roominess and comfort is still quite accommodating. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

It would be a fair comparison in many other ways too, as the Panamera’s interior is as good as anything available today. The quality of materials is exceptional, craftsmanship exemplary, and detailing exquisite. Ergonomically it’s far superior to most four-door coupes it would be up against too, with rear seat roominess improved over its predecessor and downright limousine-like compared to the aforementioned Brit, while its electronic interfaces are by far some of the industry’s best. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
Just like the centre stack up front, the rear seating area can be upgraded with its own console featuring touch-sensitive controls. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

The mostly configurable TFT gauge cluster (Porsche thankfully saved the centre-mounted tachometer in analogue form) allows full navigation mapping on its rightmost screen, plus most anything else you’d like choose by scrolling through various functions via a knurled metal-adorned steering wheel spoke controller, while its massive 12.3-inch horizontal centre display is as fine in resolution and deep in beautifully coloured contrast as anything I’ve seen. Truly, the map detail looks as if you can stick your fingers inside to move mountains, while Porsche was intelligent enough to make it a full touchscreen design complete with tablet-like tap, swipe and pinch gesture controls, not to mention Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. The system is fast, navigation routing accurate, backup camera clear, and overall usability as good as it gets. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
The Sport Turismo body style provides a bit more cargo space than the regular Panamera. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Porsche uses touch-sensitive controls on much of the centre stack and lower console, with the few rotating knobs, cylindrical scroll wheel, and rocker switches once again detailed in beautiful knurled metal, while my test cars equipped with four-zone HVAC had the otherwise rubberized bin replaced with a gorgeous centre-mounted digital console filled with its own touchscreen and high-end switchgear. 

2018 Porsche Panamera 4S
No matter the body style, the top half of both rear seats fold forward, allowing longer items to be loaded in from the rear hatch. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Living with the 4S for a week reminded me how practical the Panamera can be too, the cargo hold below its powered liftback managing 493 litres (17.4 cubic feet) of what-have-you in conventional guise, or 405 litres (14.3 cubic feet) when electrified. Fold the top halves of its seatbacks forward and it accommodates 1,339 litres (47.3 cubic feet) of longer cargo in the former and 1,246 litres (44.0 cubic feet) in the latter, while I won’t bore you with the Sport Turismo’s gains again. 

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo
With the advent of the Sport Turismo, plus more powertrain options than any rival, the Panamera offers an amazing opportunity to personalize. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)

Of course, a Macan or Cayenne is the better choice if you need to haul more people and cargo, which is reason enough for many luxury buyers to opt for these high-riding SUVs. In fact, today’s sport utility craze almost makes a person wonder why Porsche put so much effort into perfecting this low-slung Panamera, but nevertheless proof of time and investment well spent is showing in recent Canadian sales growth, with calendar year 2017 resulting in an 86.3-percent year-over-year increase in deliveries. With 2018 seeing similar upward momentum, the Panamera is on pace to become the best-selling four-door coupe in its class. I’m sure after spending some time with one, you, like me, will fully appreciate why it’s doing so well.

Porsche just revealed the 2019 Macan at a special world premiere event in Shanghai, China, allowing the many fans of the current model to breathe a sigh of relief that their favourite SUV isn’t changing…

Porsche refreshes its best-selling Macan for 2019

2019 Porsche Macan
Porsche has visually widened its refreshed 2019 Macan by extending and squaring off its front side vents. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche just revealed the 2019 Macan at a special world premiere event in Shanghai, China, allowing the many fans of the current model to breathe a sigh of relief that their favourite SUV isn’t changing too much. 

First off, with the purpose of reflecting the DNA of the brand’s iconic 911 sports car and the 918 Spyder, the front and rear designs have been enhanced to appear wider, giving the Macan a sportier, more rooted to the road appeal. Specifically, the grille includes more pronounced horizontal slats, while the ducts to each side get squarer outer edges that taper outward as they drop down, with a thicker, more visible vertical trim piece finishing off their corners, and narrower LED fog lamps positioned on the slats instead of above or below depending on the model, as was done previously. What’s more, the lower fascia gets more horizontal lines to broaden its look, while previously optional LED headlamps with trademark Porsche four-point character lights are now standard. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The changes add more aggression to the design, which is never a bad thing. (Photo: Porsche)

Walk around to the rear of the 2019 Macan and you’ll see the most significant change, the taillights having morphed from two individual units into one single three-dimensional strip of LED elements, similar to the recently redesigned Cayenne. Like the headlamps, the larger wraparound corner portions of the new mono-taillight also incorporate four-point character LEDs, while the rest of the liftback, bumper, and lower fascia appear to be carryover. No matter the angle, the end result is an attractively modernized 2019 Macan, while owners can further personalize its appearance with various trim levels, myriad wheel and tire combinations, plus new Dolomite Silver Metallic, Mamba Green Metallic, Miami Blue, or Crayon exterior colours. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The new Macan’s rear design gets a single LED taillight element spanning the entire tailgate. (Photo: Porsche)

As for the cabin, the big changes are digital as is often the case these days. It begins with a new 11.0-inch full-HD Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen replacing the 7.0-inch unit in the outgoing model. The visual effect is stunning, with much sharper, clearer resolution, and enhanced graphics to complement the look. Likewise, the system’s operating system is faster, which will no doubt improve the speed of new standard intelligent voice control and the now standard navigation system’s mapping adjustments, plus other functions, while it’s more intuitively designed for easier use, this thanks in part to predefined tiles that allow customization. 

2019 Porsche Macan
Full LED headlights with Porsche’s four-point signature LEDs are standard. (Photo: Porsche)

Additionally, Porsche has now made its Connect Plus module standard, which means that every new Macan is fully networked for real-time traffic information. A key element of this system is “Here Cloud”, which utilizes swarm-based traffic data to find you the quickest route to your destination. What’s more, the Macan’s new Offroad Precision App makes it possible to record and analyze off-road driving experiences. 

2019 Porsche Macan
A wider, brighter, higher resolution and all-round better HD infotainment display modernizes the Macan interior. (Photo: Porsche)

The larger, wider screen design necessitated additional modifications to the centre stack, so therefore Porsche moved the air vents from their previous positions at each side of the touchscreen, to a new location just below the display where a lidded bin was before. Additionally the audio/HVAC control panel, which slots between the two, is now wider and narrower, maintaining Porsche’s new horizontal design theme. 

Also of note, the 2019 Macan gets an optimized chassis designed to enhance neutrality while maintaining stability and improving comfort, plus the standard intelligent Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive system’s already lauded high-speed handling characteristics can be further assisted via newly developed 20- and 21-inch performance tires. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The centre air vents have been relocated under the redesigned row of ancillary audio and HVAC controls. (Photo: Porsche)

Options in mind, the 2019 Macan can now be had with a GT sports steering wheel sourced from the 911, while adding the Sports Chrono Package includes a Sport Response Button on the right-side spoke. 

Of course, comfort options will improve as well, with an ionizer plus a heatable windscreen available, while Porsche has also added its suite of advanced driver assist systems that include adaptive cruise control with Traffic Jam Assist, this allowing semi-autonomous driving amid congested, slow-moving traffic at speeds up to 60 km/h, with the ability to automatically steer, accelerate and brake. 

2019 Porsche Macan
The 2019 Macan remains a capable off-roader, setting it apart from many rivals. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche hasn’t confirmed the powertrain lineup for the North American markets, but it’s expected the base turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder will receive more output than its current 252 horsepower. As for the model’s V6 engine lineup, the Macan S will likely get a new single-turbo 3.0-litre unit making about 350 horsepower, while the Macan Turbo will be fitted with a new twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 expected to push power up into the high 400 range. The Turbo should once again be available with a Performance Package upgrade, which currently adds 40 horsepower, while the sporty GTS model will no doubt remain, splitting the difference between S and Turbo trims. Lastly, the current seven-speed automated dual-clutch PDK transmission will remain standard. 

The 2019 Macan shown in Shanghai is specific to the Chinese market, so make sure to stay tuned for Canadian market information about trims, features, options, etcetera as the redesigned model prepares for launch later this year. 

Until then, make sure to check out a few videos about the 2019 Porsche Macan below:

 

The new Macan – More adventure. More life. More thrills. (0:51):

The new Porsche Macan. Exterior design. (1:31):

Design documentation: The new Macan. (6:33):

As far as car companies go, Porsche is still youthful and vigorous at 70-years young. Nevertheless it’s done a lot with its seven decades, much of which was celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Festival…

Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrates 70 years of Porsche sports cars

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Porsche 356 “No. 1” Roadster, shown here at the 2018 Goodwood Festival, arrived on the sports car scene in 1948. (Photo: Porsche)

As far as car companies go, Porsche is still youthful and vigorous at 70-years young. Nevertheless it’s done a lot with its seven decades, much of which was celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England. 

The event is best known for the annual Goodwood Hill Climb, which sees a host of historic race cars, modern-day Formula One machinery, World Endurance Car racers, one-off prototypes, supercars, motorbikes, and most everything else powered by a varying array conventional and alternative energy sources perform demonstration runs up a 1.86-kilometre (1.16-mile) road course, with fans cheering them on from either side, after which they’re put on show for all to enjoy. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Goodwood Festival grounds were packed full of classic Porsche production and racing cars. (Photo: Porsche)

The first Porsche to climb the hill this year was the legendary 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, the actual car that got the brand off to such a good start in 1948. The 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster was one of seven iconic road-going Porsche models that took part in the event, all of which are normally on display at the Porsche Museum at the brand’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Porsche chose each of these cars to represent a 10-year period, allowing attendees to experience the evolution of the Porsche sports car. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 1964 Porsche 911 looks downright humble next to its progeny, but it was nevertheless a force to be recognized in the ’60s. (Photo: Porsche)

This was the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster’s debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, and therefore a very special experience for the brand’s many fans. The car is replete with Porsche DNA, from its mid-engine layout to the horizontally opposed “boxer” engine design itself, while its lightweight construction and fuel-efficiency, which helped the 356/1’s progeny defeat many more powerful competitors on the track, is still a core ideal behind the development of current road and race models. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
It doesn’t get much better for a car enthusiast than witnessing the stunning V8-powered 904 F1 car hightail it up the Goodwood hill climb. (Photo: Porsche)

Additional production Porsche models that put on a show at this year’s Goodwood Festival include a 1964 911, 1973 911 Carrera RS, 1987 959, 1997 911 Turbo, 2003 Carrera GT, 2015 918 Spyder. 

In addition to these, a dozen Porsche racing cars also took their turn on the hill, including the 1962 804, 1974 911 Carrera RSR Turbo, 1978 935/78 ‘Moby Dick’, 1984 911 SC ‘Paris Dakar’, 1986 961, 1987 962, 1988 2708 Indycar, 1994 Dauer 962 GT Le Mans, 1998 GT1 ’98, 2000 LMP 2000, 2007 RS Spyder, and the 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
Goodwood festival attendees have plenty of opportunities to get close to some of the most amazing sports cars to ever enter motorsport. (Photo: Porsche)

Making clear that Porsche isn’t only about celebrating past success, the 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour (the final model noted above) is actually a modified version of Porsche’s championship winning WEC LMP1 car otherwise known as the 919 Hybrid Evo, which completely obliterated a 35-year-old Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap record in June of this year, with Porsche factory race driver Timo Bernhard at the wheel, although Neel Jani did driving duties on the Goodwood course. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Nürburgring-Nordschleife dominating Porsche 919 Hybrid Tribute Tour car was likely the fastest car to climb the hill this year. (Photo: Porsche)

The factory Porsche 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ was also part of the program, taking a sort of victory lap after winning its GTE Pro category at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. 

Following the competitive sports car theme, the latest 911 GT3 Cup race car from the Porsche Carrera Cup GB was also included in the demonstration run, this model featuring the same 4.0-litre H-6 engine as the 911 GT3 road car. 

Additionally, the 911 Speedster Concept, a one-off prototype inspired by the 356 ‘No.1’ Roadster, took part in the Supercar Run. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 911 RSR ‘Pink Pig’ took a Goodwood victory lap after winning its GTE Pro category at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. (Photo: Porsche)

Visitors to Goodwood also had opportunity to see the 911 GT2 RS up close and personal, this 700-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, 3.8-litre flat-six beast having lapped the Nürburgring-Nordschleife in just 6 minutes and 47 seconds to earn fastest production car bragging rights last September. The record has since been beaten, but without doubt Porsche will soon find its way back to the top of the podium again. 

Porsche at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed
The 911 Speedster Concept, which was inspired by the original 356/1, took part in the Supercar Run. (Photo: Porsche)

Also on hand at the Porsche Experience Centre stand was the 2015 Mission E concept car, the production version having been recently dubbed Taycan. The beautiful four-door coupe is solely powered by electricity, and therefore is said to represent the future of Porsche performance. 

Quite notably, Porsche has taken part in every Goodwood Festival since the annual event began in 1993. Back then Goodwood only managed to attract 27,500 enthusiasts, but it now brings in more than 200,000 visitors each spring. 

Whether you were able to join in on the festivities at this year’s event or weren’t able to attend, we’re sure you’ll enjoy some collected videos, one of which shows the unveiling of a special sculpture that commemorates the marque’s 70 years of production road car and motorsport heritage: 

Porsche Central Feature Sculpture reveal at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:16): 

Grand Prix legend: the Porsche 804 at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:00): 

Future focus. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018 (1:18): 

Porsche is certainly celebrating its 70th year in style. Earlier this month it debuted the wonderful 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster concept, which combined some of the best new technologies the automaker currently…

Porsche 919 Hybrid achieves best all-time Nürburgring track record

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute
This Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute derestricted LMP1 WEC race car achieved the best all-time Nürburgring track record, chopping a minute and a half off the previous fastest lap time. (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche is certainly celebrating its 70th year in style. Earlier this month it debuted the wonderful 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster concept, which combined some of the best new technologies the automaker currently offers with retrospective design inspiration from the original 356 sports car that put the Stuttgart-based brand on the road, track and map in 1948, but 2018 has also been a year to honour its motorsport success. 

After securing its third consecutive World Endurance Championship (WEC) title with its LMP1 class dominating 919 Hybrid in November of last year, Porsche created a special 1,200-horsepower 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute car for showing the world the breathtaking capability of its sports car prototype. 

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute
The 1,200-hp Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo lapped the 20.8-km Nürburgring-Nordschleife race course in just 5:19.55 minutes. (Photo: Porsche)

On April 9, Porsche factory driver Neel Jani broke the Spa Francorchamps lap record, which was previously held by four-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton at the wheel of his Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport F1 W08. Despite being up against one of the most decorated racing drivers of all time in one of the most successful F1 cars ever created, Jani and his specially tuned derestricted 919 Evo managed a blistering 1:41.770 minutes around the revered Belgian road course, besting Hamilton’s record by 0.783 seconds. 

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute
Two-times Le Mans winner and reigning WEC champion Timo Bernhard piloted the 919 Hybrid on its record-winning lap. (Photo: Porsche)

Most recently Porsche had its sights on Germany’s “Green Hell”, otherwise known as the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, with two-times Le Mans winner and reigning WEC champion Timo Bernhard at the wheel. Their June 29th result was a best-ever track time of 5:19.55 minutes over the 20.8-kilometre-long course, smashing the previous non-production car lap time of 6:11.13 minutes by just over a minute and a half (91.58 seconds). This marks the first time anyone has broken the six-minute barrier, while doing so by such a wide margin would have been unfathomable in decades past. 

Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute
Trouncing the previous 35-year old record in such commanding style gave the Porsche 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute team plenty of reasons for celebration. (Photo: Porsche)

On that note, the previous record had held for 35 years. It was originally achieved on May 28, 1983 by Stefan Bellof in a Porsche 956 C, which while a legendary sports prototype car in its own right, having led the challenging Circuit de la Sarthe track at Le Mans from start to finish in its first 1982 outing with Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell at the wheel, a race that further saw a trio of factory Porsches finished 1-2-3, it could have never matched the performance of this modern-day 2015, 2016 and 2017 Le Mans 24-hour race winner. 

2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Porsche had hardly come down from the high of achieving a fourth-place Nürburgring finish amongst production cars with a lap of 6:56.4 minutes in its new 911 GT3 RS. (Photo: Porsche)

While this is certainly impressive, possibly even more convincing of Porsche’s dominant performance is the strength of its bone stock production cars when they hit the track. In September of last year, Porsche regained the number one position for production cars on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, with Lars Kern pushing its 911 GT2 RS to a best-overall lap time of 6:47.25, while only in April of this year it managed a shocking 6:56.4 in the new naturally aspirated 911 GT3 RS, resulting in a fourth place finish. This pushed the Porsche 918 Spyder into fifth, although its time of 6:57 minutes still maintains its record as the fastest hybrid electric production car to ever circle the ring. 

Porsche GT Team (92) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018
Earlier this month the Porsche GT Team (92), piloting a 911 RSR, won its GTE Pro class at the 2018 24 hours of Le Mans with Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor at the wheel. (Photo: Porsche)

Even though the 919 Hybrid is now retired from World Endurance Championship racing, of the 17 cars entered into this year’s 24 hours of Le Mans GTE Pro category four were Porsche 911 RSR coupes, while six more Porsche 911 RSRs raced in the GTE Am class. Even more impressive, after a punishing 24 hours of grueling competition was completed the first two GTE Pro category podium tiers were occupied by 911 RSR drivers from the Porsche GT team, while Patrick Dempsey’s (yes, Doctor Dreamy from Grey’s Anatomy) Dempsey – Proton Racing #77 911 RSR took the top spot in the GTE Am class. 

Dempsey Proton Racing (77) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2018
Another Porsche 911 RSR, managed by Dempsey Proton Racing (77) and driven by Julien Andlauer, Matt Campbell and Christian Ried won its GTE Am class at Le Mans on June 12. (Photo: Porsche)

We’ve included an awesome action-packed video of the Porsche 911 RSR at this year’s Le Mans down below, as well as one showing the incredible 919 Hybrid earning its third consecutive WEC championship in Shanghai, but if you’ve only got time for one make sure to check out the amazing in-car footage of the 919 Hybrid Evo Tribute car achieving its record-setting Nürburgring-Nordschleife lap below, with one of many highlights showing the engine nudging up against its redline down the Döttinger Höhe straight at 368 km/h, or watch a shorter narrated compilation showing drive-by and in-car footage of the same event:

 

The 919 Tribute Tour: On-board record lap, Nordschleife (5:48):

The 919 Tribute Tour. New king of the ring. (2:10):

Triple – Porsche at the FIA WEC 6h of Shanghai (2:11):

Porsche at Le Mans 2018. (3:16):

Porsche is now a septuagenarian, with Ferry Porsche, the well-schooled son of the already acclaimed engineer, peoples’ car creator and past Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Porsche, having put the brand’s…

Porsche 911 Speedster Concept combines open-top fun with 500 horsepower

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
Porsche decided to celebrate its 70th anniversary with this gorgeous 911 Speedster Concept. Will it see production? (Photo: Porsche)

Porsche is now a septuagenarian, with Ferry Porsche, the well-schooled son of the already acclaimed engineer, peoples’ car creator and past Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Porsche, having put the brand’s first car on the road in 1948. 

It all started with the original Porsche 356 ‘No. 1’ Roadster, which received its operating permit 70 years ago on June 8. Speed ahead seven decades and we now have the stunning 911 Speedster Concept that was created to commemorate the momentous occasion. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
The “double bubble” engine cover pays homage to 911 Speedster models from Porsche’s past. (Photo: Porsche)

The 356 was highly advanced for its time, yet by today’s standards it’s as pure as sports cars get. The 911 Speedster Concept is a modern interpretation of that same undefiled spirit, created to provide a purely visceral driving experience, even eschewing a convertible top for a lightweight tonneau cover. 

Unveiled at the ‘70 years Porsche sportscar’ anniversary celebrations in Zuffenhausen, Germany, the 911 Speedster Concept’s sheet metal wears a classic two-tone racing livery design that was often multi-coloured yet looked handsome in white on traditional German silver. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
Do a search for “356 racing cars” and you’ll find many colourful examples of the 911 Speedster’s unique two-tone paint scheme. (Photo: Porsche)

The paintwork and everything else came care of the Porsche Motorsport Centre, which is more notably responsible for the 911 GT2 RS, and more recently the GT3 RS. Good company for this 911 Speedster Concept to be rubbing shoulders with, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if Porsche decided to give us a series-production version of this new roadster. 

Porsche says the “decision on whether to move ahead will be made in the coming months,” with any result of such choice not materializing until 2019. No doubt it’ll be worth the wait. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
Check out a larger version of this photo in the gallery, where it’s easier to see the “X” etched into the headlamp glass. (Photo: Porsche)

Like production 911 Speedsters that came before, the first modern interpretation arriving in 1988 and the most recent example based on the 997 from 2010, the 2018 version gets a set of abbreviated A-pillars set on more of a rearward incline than the current production model, resulting in a shorter more sweptback windscreen frame. The side windows are correspondingly shorter as well, the combination giving the Speedster a “stockier profile with a very low fly line,” says Porsche. 

Of course, this is not only reminiscent of both 1988 and 2010 911 Speedster homage models, but more so the original 356 1500 Speedster. That model actually came along in late 1954, after U.S. importer Max Hoffman advised the powers that be in Stuttgart that a lower-cost, decontented open-top model could become a sales success in the American market. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
The 911 Speedster Concept shows off a classic racing style gas cap on top of its hood. (Photo: Porsche)

While that original 1955 model had a fabric tonneau cover snapped onto its back, the new 2018 version receives a special one-off carbon fibre ‘double bubble’ cover in similitude of the 1988 and 2010 cars’ designs. The new version covers the area behind the front row where the rear jump seats normally reside, and also masks the rollover protection structure that was never part of the 1988 or 1955 model, while a glossy black backing wraps overtop the front portion of the cover to create a shortened Targa-like look. Just behind, the set of contrasting black slats straddling the buttresses are in fact aerodynamic elements, while a Plexiglas wind deflector is set in the middle, highlighted by an engraved ‘70 years of Porsche’ plaque. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
We love the 911 Speedster’s Talbot-style side mirrors. (Photo: Porsche)

Just in case a downpour threatens to ruin the prototype’s beautiful cognac coloured Aniline leather hides, the Porsche Motorsport Centre team has provided a lightweight tonneau cover that, when attached via eight Tenax fasteners, can protect the 911 Speedster Concept’s cabin from inclement weather, but only when parked. When on the road you’d better keep moving. 

The interior in mind, Porsche has kept the true spirit of the 911 Speedster intact by removing weighty features like the navigation, radio and air conditioning systems. Even the steering wheel is purely minimalist thanks to the elimination of ancillary switchgear, while the full bucket sport seats are framed in lightweight carbon. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
From the classic “Speedster” nameplate lettering to the Targa-style buttresses, the 911 Speedster will become a future collectible if it gets the nod for production. (Photo: Porsche)

If you’re wondering what the Porsche Motorsport Centre used for a donor car, look no further than the brand’s 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, although the concept’s hood, rear cover and aerodynamic components are made from carbon fibre reinforced composite. 

Some stylistic links to Porsche’s motorsport past include headlamp lenses imprinted with “X” markings to denote tape that was often used to preemptively prevent broken glass from littering the racetrack and puncturing tires, while the 911 Speedster Concept also features a 1950s-style gas cap placed in the middle of the hood for quick refueling directly above the tank. Additionally, the side mirrors pay homage to the classic Talbot design that was popular when the 356 was created, while the milled, gold-plated “Speedster” lettering on the thick B-pillars and rear engine cover direct their tribute to the original ‘50s-era 356 Speedster. 

2018 Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
Porsche has gone minimalist inside, removing heavy luxuries in order to save weight. (Photo: Porsche)

Of course, everything is cutting-edge modern under the 911 Speedster Concept’s retrospective skin, its chassis actually pulled from the new 911 GT3, while the low-slung drop-top rides on a set of 21-inch Fuchs alloys featuring “contrasting high gloss polished clover-leaf details,” says Porsche, plus centre locks. 

The flat six hidden under the handcrafted rear bodywork spins to 9,000 rpm on its way to making 500 horsepower, while a set of custom titanium tailpipes are put in charge of freeing exhaust gases. And as would only be appropriate, the Porsche Motorsport Centre team made sure a six-speed manual transmission took care of shifting duties. 

We’ll soon know if Porsche plans to remove the word “Concept” from the 911 Speedster’s moniker, and thereby provide its legions of sports car fans with a modern-day production version of the storied nameplate. Until then we’ll just have to cross our collective fingers and hope for the best.