Porsche’s radical 918 plug-in hybrid sports car has recorded a remarkable 7 minute 14-second lap of the infamous 20.6km Nurburgring Nordschleife – one of the fastest ever by a street-legal car running on standard production tyres.
But what’s even more impressive was that the hot lap was completely unplanned.
The Porsche development team were testing a package of performance tweaks and go-fast goodies that will be available as a factory-fit option, to be called the ‘Weissach’ package, when the super-hybrid with its 4.6-litre V8 and two electric motors totalling more than 585kW goes on sale in September 2013.
ONE HOT LAP
Then they were unexpectedly offered just one clean lap, with nobody else on the normally busy circuit, but without a sighting or warm-up lap – they would have to start from a standstill in pit lane.
So they went for it; the Porsche release doesn’t say who was driving, probably to protect him from the bean-counters at the factory, but the result was electrifying, at least 10 seconds quicker than even project leader Frank Walliser was expecting.
“By turning in this fabulous time after just a few months of development,” he said, “the 918 Spyder prototype has fully confirmed its viability.”
It hasn’t been that many years since Porsche first got into diesels but this, Porsche fans, is the marque’s most muscular oil-burner to date.
Doff the cap to the Cayenne S Diesel, motivated by a 4.2-litre, twin-turbo V8 for which the Porsche posse quote 281kW and 850Nm – good enough, they say, to take this two-tonne beetle-crusher to 100km/h from a standstill in 5.7 seconds and on to 252km/h flat out.
All this at a an average of 8.3 litres per 100km and 218g/km of CO2, partly thanks to idle stop; Porsche say this is the only diesel V8 SUV on the market that’s got it.
Thanks to the inherent smoothness of the V8 layout, the biturbo doesn’t sound or feel like a diesel; it rumbles along like an American musclecar, while its PTM active all-wheel drive is set up to feel like a rear-wheel drive set-up – until you overdo it, and then it channels power to the front wheels as needed to keep the car on the black stuff and pointed in the right direction.
Big diesels, of course, have two more important advantages: range and towing ability. Porsche has rated the Cayenne S Diesel to pull 3500kg and, if you order the optional 100-litre fuel tank, it should take you about 1200km between comfort stops.
Biturbo V8 rumbles along like an American musclecar.
The S Diesel’s discs have been sized to handle its power, with distinctive silver brake callipers, while black fins at the front end emphasise the gaping air inlets.
The Cayenne S Diesel will be launched in Europe in January 2013 and will cost €77 684 (R825 000) in Germany
Porsche has spent years working on their 911, but while that might be their ultimate sports car, the Boxster is one of their best sellers. It was first seen as a disgrace to the Porsche name, as it was smaller and not as powerful, but once the Cayenne came along, all was forgiven.
The first ever Boxster was introduced in late 1996 as a 1997 model and a 2.5-liter flat six-cylinder engine powered it. Three years later, the new Boxster S variant was introduced with a larger 3.2-liter motor, while the base model received a more powerful 2.7-liter engine.
More changes came in 2003, 2005, and then again in 2007, when the Boxster got some of the stuff from the baby 911, called the Cayman. In 2009, the Boxster models received several new cosmetic and mechanical upgrades that upped the power and performance.
The changes kept coming and the Boxster kept taking them all in. Now the Boxster has been updated one more time and is looking better than ever.
UPDATE 03/14/2012: The Boxster S model lapped the Nurburgring race track in an impressive 7:58 – or about 18 seconds shy of the new, more powerful Porsche 911 which scored an heart-racing time of 7:40.
This speedy lap time means the Boxster S is faster than models like the Corvette C6 (7:59), the Viper SRT-10 (7:59), and the C63 AMG Coupe (8:01) – which are far more powerful than the tiny Boxster. This result also makes the new generation better than the model it replaces which had a lap time of 8:10.