All posts in “Porsche”

Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato and GMC Acadia driven | Autoblog Podcast #837

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Senior Editor, Electric, John Beltz Snyder. They’re both jazzed after driving the off-road-ish and totally sublime Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato. John recently drove the new GMC Acadia, Greg spent some time in the Toyota Camry, and they also discuss Autoblog‘s long-term Subaru WRX. In the news, the Porsche 918 Cayman and Boxster are reportedly ending production, while it’s officially the end of the road for the Nissan GT-R and Volvo S60. Fisker has officially filed for bankruptcy. Cadillac has shown off a couple cool Blackwing special editions in honor of Le Mans. Finally, we reach in the mailbag and help a listener pick a sporty convertible in this week’s Spend My Money segment.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Autoblog Podcast #837

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1988 Porsche 959 SC with famous history headed to Amelia Island auctions

Broad Arrow Auctions is taking a 1988 Porsche 959 SC Reimagined by Canepa to this year’s sales at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, this example even more special than the average 959. The first bit of plumage setting this bird apart is documentation that shows it was a benchmark car Nissan bought to develop the all-wheel-drive system in the R32 Skyline GT-R. The second splash of color, literal and otherwise, is a four-year overhaul from Porsche specialists Canepa finished in metallic green. Both of those items contribute to a pre-sale estimate of between $3.25 and $3.75 million.

The Skyline-959 connection is a favored bit of lore in the GT-R’s history. However, the GT-R’s connection to Porsche goes well back before the R32. In 1964, a Porsche 904 beat the factory team of Prince Skyline S54 GT cars fielded by Japan’s Prince Motor Company. Prince engineers, including Dr. Shinichiro Sakurai, returned to their offices to design a new engine and a new car that could beat Porsche. The Prince R380 did that two years later at the 1966 Japanese Grand Prix, its engine becoming the basis for the S20 inline-six that would power the first Nissan Skyline GT-R that debuted in 1969 but only lasted until 1973.

Fast forward to 1984: Nissan, which merged with Prince in 1966, was looking at its tech-heavy but unloved R31 Skyline, at Porsche’s monumental 959, at a trophy cabinet lacking silverware from the top class, and at a corporate bank account filling with Bubble Economy profits. Naganori Ito, said to be Sukurai’s “number one student,” was put in charge of developing the R32 Skyline that returned the GT-R badge to the market.

To help him do that, the engineering team wanted to study a Porsche 959; a Nissan engineer would tell Car magazine at the R32’s debut, “We reckon Porsche makes the best-handling cars. And the 959 is reckoned to be the most advanced supercar ever made. We wanted to beat the 959.”

But Porsche wouldn’t sell Nissan a 959. So a Belgian national bought a 959 Komfort on behalf of the Japanese engineers, Belgian dealer D’Ieteren Brothers shipping the car to Yokohama. The fruit of this subterfuge became the GT-R’s Advanced Total Traction Engineering System (ATTESA ET-S), tuned to dial out understeer and maintain agility with the help of Super HICAS all-wheel steering. 

The Porsche 959 harvest continued closer to home as well, the tech in that car previewing what would come for the 911 range like water cooling, AWD, and the twin-turbo setup.

The paperwork shows that this 959 ended up in the hands of one of the GT-R engineers, who never registered it and so barely drove it. After having it for 30 years, he sold it to someone in the U.S. In 2019, that owner sent it to Canepa’s shop for the SC treatment with less than 900 miles on the odometer. The nuts-and-bolts teardown and rebuild took four years and cost $950,000. Canepa rebuilt the twin-turbo 2.8-liter flat-six engine with its Stage III kit, featuring gear like titanium con-rods, ceramic-coated headers, Borg-Warner turbos, and a two-stage titanium and stainless steel exhaust that increases output to more than 800 hp and 650 pound-feet of torque, compared to the original engine’s 444 hp and 369 lb-ft. The Komfort’s adaptive suspension was switched to the lighter, simpler 959 Sport setup riding Penske shocks and titanium springs. The custom 18-inch wheels hide upgraded brakes, a necessary step when the coupe needs just 2.5 seconds to hit 60 miles per hour and top speed is a claimed 230 mph.

Bruce Canepa says he’s only doing 50 of his SC-spec cars, limiting his builds to low-mileage examples. Each owner is asked to choose a unique color combination, this one finished in an unusual, unforgettable Oak Green over tobacco leather.

Lot 220 hits the block March 1-2 at Amelia.

Porsche will soon decide whether to build the Mission X hypercar

Porsche hypercars don’t come around very often. In the 21st century, we’ve seen the V10-powered Carrera GT and the plug-in hybrid 918 Spyder. The brand hinted at what a follow-up could look like with the Mission X concept, and executives will soon decide whether to build it.

“With the concept, we have shown the technology we want to put in the car, the performance profile, and the feedback we got at our 75-year celebration was massively positive, so it’s a great motivation for us to do the car,” company boss Oliver Blume told Australian site CarSales.

Of course, putting a car on the path to production takes more than motivation. Feasibility will ultimately play a major role in deciding whether the Mission X will be remembered as a wild-looking concept car or as the 918 Spyder’s successor. It helps that the coupe looks far more realistic than the average design study; it wouldn’t take much tweaking to turn it into a production car, at least from a design perspective. 

Technology is another hurdle the Mission X needs to clear. The concept is electric, and while Porsche didn’t detail the drivetrain it noted that the system offers a power-to-weight ratio of “roughly one horsepower per 2.2 pounds.” It also promised more downforce than the current 911 GT3 RS and quick charging thanks in part to a 900-volt electrical system. However, these claims remain hypothetical, and Blume has previously suggested that the performance his team envisions for an electric hypercar can’t be achieved with the current battery technology.

None of these issues are insurmountable: battery technology is improving at a rapid pace, and we’re sure that a production-bound Mission X would sell out quickly even if it comes with a seven-digit price tag. Porsche has historically done well with limited-edition cars. Blume told CarSales that “the idea is to make the decision this year,” so we should learn more about what the future holds in the coming months.

Related video:

President Biden says he took a Porsche up to 171 mph

President Joe Biden went on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” recently, and he had a lot to say about cars. There’s plenty to unpack from the clip that you can watch above, but at one point he mentions that he recently took a Porsche up to 171 mph on the Secret Service’s private test track. Now that’s the kind of gearhead stuff we like to hear from politicians!

“I got a Porsche up to 171 mph,” Biden says while explaining how launch control works to O’Brien. Biden didn’t specify which Porsche model he was driving, but we’d bet it’s likely a 911. Of course, plenty of other Porsches are capable of 171 mph, so we don’t really know, but if any White House correspondents are reading, we wouldn’t mind if you asked Biden next time you see him.

In addition to Biden enjoying a Porsche at high speed, he said that he’s done the same with his 1967 Chevrolet Corvette, reaching 132 mph on the Secret Service airstrip test track. Biden even said that Jay Leno offered to buy his Corvette from him at one point for $144,000, but that he had to turn him down.

“They take me out to the Secret Service test track, which is an old runway. I got my Corvette up to 132 mph. It’s only a 327,” Biden remarks to O’Brien.

And speaking of Corvette news, we’ve already heard Biden spill the beans once on this topic, but yet again he makes the claim that an electric Corvette is on its way, and says it will do the 0-60 mph run in 2.9 seconds. That’s what the gasoline-powered C8 Stingray will do now with the performance exhaust, but we’re betting an electric Corvette would obliterate that time and be somewhere in the 2.0-2.5-second range.

It wasn’t just an electric Vette that Biden took to talking about, though, as he also claims to have driven an electric Ford Bronco.

“Oh and by the way, I drove one of those big Ford Broncos, electric. 4.9 seconds. Mine is 5.2,” Biden says making the comparison to his old Corvette.

We’re not exactly sure what he means by claiming to have driven an electric Ford Bronco. Such a vehicle does not exist from Ford currently, but there are restomods of original Broncos converted to electric power. There’s also the vague possibility that Biden has some inside scoop from Ford execs about future products, but it’s unclear from the interview. Regardless of the product implications, watching President Biden talk cars with O’Brien is an entertaining watch, so make sure you check out the video at the top of this post.

Autoblog’s Editors’ Picks: The Complete List

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Ruf reveals air-cooled Tribute, open-top R Spyder and CTR3 Evo at The Quail

Ruf is revealing three Porsche builds at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering this week in the Monterey Peninsula. Two are totally new builds called the Ruf Tribute and the Ruf R Spyder. The third is an update to the Ruf CTR3 Clubsport, which gains the new name of CTR3 Evo.

Starting with the Tribute (seen in the gallery at the top of this post), this Ruf is powered by a 3.6-liter air-cooled engine designed by Alois Ruf that is meant to be an homage to the air-cooled 911s of the past. However, this new engine features loads of new tech such as a four-cam three-valve design, variable valve timing and lift and dry-sump lubrication. It makes loads more power than naturally aspirated air-cooled engines ever did from Porsche, as Ruf claims a heady 550 horses. Ruf says its drivetrain is similar to that of the SCR and Yellow Bird Anniversary it unveiled a few years ago. Carbon fiber is used liberally throughout (not to mention the carbon tub chassis), and it features an integrated roll cage, as well.

The other new Ruf is the R Spyder, which might remind you of the also-open-top Bergmeister from last year’s Monterey Car Week. Of course, the R Spyder is better and more powerful than what Ruf managed to screw together before. This open-top Ruf is powered by a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six that cranks out 515 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. That power is sent to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox.

Each occupant has their own little cocoon, separated by a carbon fiber bar. You get a small windshield, and screens are mounted on either side of the carbon fiber dashboard. Ruf says the car uses a McPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear design. All that said, Ruf is still calling this car a “design concept,” so we’re not sure if it will be produced and sold yet.

The last Ruf is the CTR3 Evo, and Ruf says it’s the most powerful vehicle it’s ever produced. Output from the 3.8-liter (water-cooled) twin-turbo flat-six is an astounding 800 horsepower and 730 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, and all that speed is hauled in by carbon ceramic brakes. A top speed of 236 mph and the carbon-composite body just make it all the more alluring.

Related video:

How Porsche plans to grow margins with luxury and speed

Porsche — with CEO Oliver Blume behind the wheel — has zipped by a number of milestones over the past several years. Its share price has gained more than 36% since its IPO in September 2022 and profit margins are at an enviable 18%.

And yet, Blume isn’t satisfied.

“We are driving the company like a sports team,” Blume said earlier on the sidelines of the company’s 75th anniversary celebration. “After a success, focusing [on] what we can do more… going for the next goal.”

The next goal, Blume said, is 20% margins. The road to get there will be paved with investments in new segments and maybe even a seven-figure hypercar.

Timing is everything

The last nine months haven’t been kind to other automakers that went public in the past few years, particularly companies like Canoo, Fisker, Lucid Motors and Polestar that merged with special purpose acquisition companies. Even Rivian, the 2021 IPO darling that debuted at $78 a share, has seen its price fall some 82%.

Porsche has managed to avoid a similar fate — a result that Blume credited to years of preparation.

“It was a process over years, where we developed the company,” Blume said. “Five years ago, Porsche would never have been able to go to the stock market, and now it was the right moment.”

That preparation required a renewed focus on the fundamentals: margins, profits and cash flow. But, don’t think all that has made the company boring. At Porsche’s 75th birthday party in Stuttgart, Blume unveiled the Mission X, a hypercar designed to be the fastest production car ever made, not the most profitable.

Pushing into the luxury segment

When it comes to growing profit margins, it’s hard to do better than the luxury segment.

Though Porsche is certainly a premium manufacturer, its reputation has been built on performance, not poshness. A pivot to challenge brands like Mercedes-Benz or Rolls-Royce is not to be made lightly.

“Before we decide to go to a new segment, we make a deep analysis of the markets, of the profit pools and different regions of the world, and we think the segment of luxurious SUVs is quite huge, and with a very strong development potential from the future, and strong profit margins. What’s missing is a very sporty one there,” Blume said.

In other words: Buyers have many luxurious and stylish options in the premium SUV segment, but none of them has the character of a Porsche.

Learning from the Cayenne

It’s a similar story to what drove Porsche to introduce the Cayenne SUV 20 years ago. Though not particularly luxurious, the tall, big and wide Cayenne was a massive departure from the company’s pure sports offerings.

Cayenne sparked controversy, with many brand purists saying that Porsche had lost its way. Far from the beginning of the end, Cayenne is now Porsche’s biggest seller, while the company’s portfolio of fast, desirable sports cars is broader than ever.

By heading to green pastures, Porsche found huge success, and now Blume hopes to do so again.

That next expansion is a new SUV that Blume referred to by its code name: K1. This new SUV, first mentioned in March and due by 2027, will be bigger than Cayenne. It’ll be quick, too, but the focus here is on luxury.

Performance will come from a fully electric powertrain, Blume said, in keeping with Porsche’s goal of delivering 80% EVs by 2030. However, the look and layout of the car might be a little unfamiliar. “You will be surprised by the design,” Blume said.

Blume also said that the K1’s systems and software, the car’s “technology profile,” will be unique.

Wanted: Software engineers

To create innovative technologies found only in Porsches, the company is on a hiring spree — a notable difference from an industry that is laying off workers.

Porsche has more than 1,000 technical positions open, including many on the software side. Blume said that this is an increasingly core part of the company’s identity: “We think that the IP we are developing is very specific,” Blume said. “100% portion of this kind of costs are important for our brand identity and for our product identities. Therefore, that is our core business.”

For Blume, this clarifies the build versus buy debate.

“You can buy solutions in the market in areas, which are not your core business… And so for us it is very clear where to tap into that focus, where we will get the best talent from the market to develop our core competencies,” he said. “And in other areas, where it is not so important… we will work together with partners, but they are the best partners in the market.”

When it comes to that core experience, Blume said: “All the touch and feel and coming up to the software experience into the car should be unique for Porsche.”

Bringing a luxury all-electric SUV — catnip for American buyers — might make sound financial sense. However, for extremely low-volume hypercars (Porsche sold just 918 of the 918 Spyder), the value proposition is often a bit more nebulous.

Blume cited the brand-building impact of a record-setting halo car like the Mission X: “All our hypercars are icons,” he said. But, there are some more tangible benefits, too. “In the hypercars, we show the best the company is able to develop, to produce, to show what our technologies [are] for the future. We will later bring [them] to other serial cars, and so, it’s not only a showcase, it’s real life, to bring innovations, to develop innovations,” he said. “The whole team is focused, motivated, pushed to develop a hypercar, and that is the best the company is able to deliver.”

Mission X: To be or not to be?

Porsche Mission X Concept

  • Porsche Mission X Concept

Blume declined repeatedly to indicate whether or not the Mission X would be produced, but we shouldn’t have to wait long to find out.

He said the decision will be made “during the next month.” Should it get the green light, its first official duty will be recapturing the fastest production car lap record around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. For Blume, that iconic, 13-mile race track cut through the forests of western Germany is part of Porsche’s DNA: “When we design and build the concept of a car, the Nurburgring Nordschleife is the measure for Porsche.”

Porsche’s last hypercar, 2013’s 918 Spyder, itself set the fastest lap time for a production car, with a time of 6:57. The current record, set by the $2.7 million Mercedes-AMG One, sits at 6:35. That will likely be the target for the Mission X, the existential goal for a car built by a nearly octogenarian company still intent on proving its mettle on the track.

Related video:

Volkswagen’s SSP vehicle architecture back on track for 2026 debut

Volkswagen execs would tell you some very unfunny things happened on the way to electrification: Design decisions wrought years of damage, vehicle platform and software catastrophes scotched launch timelines for not just one but at least three brands, and chaos piled high enough to unseat a CEO. Those execs might not be correct about that middle one, though, if Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume is telling the truth. During a presentation laying out the conglomerate’s ten-year plan at the annual capital markets day, Blume said the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) will launch on time, in 2026. This counters recent reporting as well as complaints from individual brands late last year and this year. Due to ongoing problems with the software needed to make the SSP work, Automotive News Europe reported last July that Audi’s first vehicle with the new software had been delayed up to three years, to 2027. A few months later, Autocar reported that Porsche updated its IPO prospectus with a warning that software holdups might delay the battery-electric 718 twins and Cayenne

We don’t know how the company got things back on track, but investors will be pleased and customers should be, too. Blume’s presentation made clear that VW expects to launch a platform even more potent than the one we were told about two years ago. Previous CEO Herbert Diess gave a similar presentation in 2021 explaining that the SSP would serve every group brand, and serve every kind of vehicle from city cars with as little as 114 horsepower to supercars with as much as 1,140 hp. Blume, however, said the SSP will be able to power drivetrains making as much as 1,700 hp — 560 hp more than the last projection.

But wait, there’s more. SSP development will break down into three paths: Urban city cars for Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Cupra; compact and mid-size vehicles for VW, Audi, Porsche and Skoda; and large vehicles for Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. Note the absence of Bugatti.

This one skateboard chassis will eventually replace the current MQB, MLB, MSB and MMB internal combustion platforms, the present MEB, PPE and J1 electric platforms, and the MEB+ arriving in 2025. It will be powered by new “unified” batteries of various chemistries developed in-house and running on an 800-volt electrical architecture. The charging time to take the batteries from 10% to 80% SOC will be 12 minutes, compared to the 35 minutes needed for the current MEB battery-electric platform; the interim MEB+ platform will lower that time to 21 minutes. The fleshed-out software dubbed 2.0 will enable Level 4 hands-free driving. 

To get a sense of scale and return on investment when this is all put together, the current MEB platform sits under about ten models total, from the ID.3 to the Audi E-tron GT. The large SSP will support 14 models from Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche by itself. According to Blume, those 14 SSP-based models are predicted to sell about 1.14 million units between debut and 2038, netting the group more than 150 billion in revenue, with profit margins above 20%. For comparison, Porsche’s 2022 operating profit was 18%. 

It’s not clear which vehicle will introduce the world to the SSP in 2026, but we do know the second-generation all-electric Audi Q8 E-Tron, Audi’s Project Artemis and Volkswagen’s Project Trinity have all been penciled in around that time. If Blume’s assertions still hold weight at that time, then a line from Herbert Diess’ 2021 presentation could still come true: That come 2030, VW will make more money in the EV business than the ICE business.

Related video:

Porsche Mission X concept points at brand’s next hypercar

Frequent interviews with Porsche CEO Oliver Blume include a question as to when we’ll see another Porsche hypercar. He once answered the queries with some version of “not until the middle of the decade at the earliest least.” His most recent answer, from April of this year, pushed that back toward the end of the decade; Blume and R&D chief Michael Steiner say current battery technology isn’t prepared to satisfy the demands a Porsche hypercar would make on it, so everyone will need to wait for next-gen cells due in four or five years. So the car you see here, the Porsche Mission X concept, isn’t the next Porsche hypercar and at the moment isn’t planned for sale. However, the battery-electric two-seater with the “ultra high-performance” powertrain is full of indicators about what might be down the road.

Dressed a specially created Rocket Metallic with satin carbon fiber accents, dimensions 177 inches in length and 78.7 inches in width fit the concept into same rough footprint as the 2003 Carrera GT and 2013 918 Spyder. The 20-inch wheels in front and 21-inchers in back eat up nearly half the two-seater’s 47.2-inch height. Since this concept counts as one of the brand’s 75th birthday presents to itself, historic cues mix with modern ones. The illuminated DRLs in the photos rework the four-point signature seen on the automaker’s road cars. At the same time, the DRLs and the four LED main beams buried in the lattice support structure call back to the stacked double headlights that sat inches off the ground on Le Mans racers like the 906 and 908. Passengers enter through doors that swing up and forward like those on top-class Le Mans prototypes going back decades, then sit under a glass dome built around a skeleton of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. And the Mission X marks the debut of Porsche’s new crest.

It’s all modern in back. A horizontal lattice supports thin, ornate LED taillights that bracket floating, illuminated Porsche logotype. When charging, the “E” pulses in white. 

The cabin begs even onlookers to hit top speed. The carbon-backed seats and their six-point harnesses appear largely built into the tub. Both feature Andalusia Brown lowers, the driver’s throne additionally signified by the Kalahari Gray upper. There are four paddles behind the steering yoke — we’re not sure what they control other than the obvious guess of regen braking. The ornate stopwatch in front of the passenger is a removable unit clipped into a bayonet system on the instrument panel, created by Porsche Design. At the track, the stopwatch could be used in conjunction with the multiple built-in cameras. One imagines other accessories, like a screen, could go here when not on the track.   

Porsche calls it a “reinterpretation of a hypercar,” but we don’t know enough about the Mission X yet to understand what that means. Drivetrain and output specs weren’t included with the reveal. We’ve been told the battery sits behind the cockpit in a way that mimics mid-engined dynamics, the setup called “e-core.” The automaker said that were the street-legal coupe to get a production run, it would aim to “be the fastest road-legal vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife; have a power-to-weight ratio of roughly one hp per 2.2 lbs.; achieve downforce values that are well in excess of those delivered by the current 911 GT3 RS; offer significantly improved charging performance with its 900-volt system architecture and charge roughly twice as quickly as the current Porsche frontrunner, the Taycan Turbo S.”

Starting from the top, the Mission X has the Mercedes-AMG One in its sights, the other Stuttgart hypercar maker owning the Nordschleife record with a time of 6:35.18. That’s about 22 seconds faster than the 918 Spyder ran the lap, the 918 the first production car to break the seven-minute barrier

The power-to-weight ratio is measured in metric horsepower, so 0.986 of our American ponies per kilogram. The 918 Spyder weighed about 3,650 pounds, or 1,656 kilograms. Given the weight of an electric hypercar — the Rimac Nevera weighs about 5,070 pounds or 2,300 kg — we might think a Mission X comes in at 1,700 hp on the extreme low end to as much as 2,300 hp.

The GT3 RS produces as much as 860 kg (1,896 pounds) of downforce but uses a giant wing and other aero addenda to do it, meaning the undisturbed Mission X concept’s glasshouse and upper surfaces are hiding an underbody full of chicanery.

And the Taycan Turbo S maxes out at 270-kilowatt charging to go from 5% to 80% state of charge in a little more than 20 minutes. Read: The Mission X concept should fill-up quick.

As for the chances of a version you can buy, Porsche says Mission X “production to be decided in due time.” We have no doubt the phones at HQ have been ringing with “name-your-price” offers all day. We don’t see why Porsche would miss the chance to celebrate its birthday with a cool new concept, some treats for its best clients, some icons for posterity and a stupendous haul of loot.   

Related video:

Porsche tuner RUF opening North American headquarters

RUF, a respected Porsche tuner who notably turned the 911 into the 213-mph CTR Yellowbird in the 1980s, will open its North American headquarters in 2023. The company is setting up the facility to distribute cars, provide parts and service, and organize brand-related events.

Executives chose to set up shop at the Concours Club, a facility located in Miami, Fla., that markets itself as an automotive country club. It looks like the idea place for RUF’s North American division: it features a two-plus-mile race track, garages that enthusiasts can rent to store their cars in, and a space companies can use to organize events. The Concours Club is located in the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, meaning customers will be able to book an appointment with RUF, fly in, and spend time on a track before signing the dotted line.

RUF hasn’t revealed which model(s) it will sell in the United States. Its recent line-up includes a 710-horsepower, twin-turbocharged tribute to the 1980s Yellowbird called CTR Anniversary and built around a carbon fiber monocoque designed in-house, a naturally-aspirated, 510-horse variant called SCR, and a 777-horsepower coupe named CTR 3 Clubsport and powered by a mid-mounted, 3.8-liter flat-six engine. It also performs tuning work for other companies: it notably tuned the engine that powers the wild, 911-based Marc Philipp Gemballa Marsien.

We expect to hear more about RUF’s plans for our market in the coming months. It will inaugurate its headquarters in the summer of 2023.

Related Video

2024 Ford Mustang interior, and we drive the BMW X7 M60i | Autoblog Podcast #771

In this episode of the Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. They kick things off with a discussion about the 2024 Ford Mustang’s interior that Zac got to spend time in this week. Then, in the news, the pair run through news of a CT5-V Blackwing refresh by way of spy shots, the reveal of a new AC Cobra, rumors of the 911 GT2 RS going hybrid for its next generation and hit on the start of the Formula 1 season. Next, they discuss the cars they’ve been driving as of late, including our long-term 2022 Kia EV6 GT-Line, the 2023 BMW X7 M60i and the 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross. Finally, our hosts field a Spend My Money question for someone looking to go electric for their next vehicle purchase.

Send us your questions for the Mailbag and Spend My Money at: Podcast@Autoblog.com.

Autoblog Podcast #771

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An assortment of emblematic supercars is headed to auction

Auction house RM Sotheby’s is giving enthusiasts the chance to bid on the supercars that they had posters of when they were kids. It’s organizing a live sale in Miami, Florida, in December 2022 that’s limited to 60 high-end models built between the 1970s and the 2010s.

The oldest car in the catalog is a V12-powered 1974 Jaguar E-Type, though keep in mind that only 20 of the 60 available slots have been filled so far. At the other end of the spectrum, the newest model is currently a 2014 BMW M5. If your automotive tastes are firmly anchored in the 1980s, there’s a wide selection of cars to choose from such as a 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition and a 1987 Porsche 911 Turbo with a flat-nose conversion. If your heart belongs in the 1990s, RM’s sale includes a 1990 Lamborghini LM 002, a 1995 Ferrari 512 M, and a 1996 Porsche 911 Turbo. Bentley models and a 2008 Mercedes-Benz SLR are among the newer classics.

Carmakers weren’t alone in pursuing speed, style, and extravagance in the 1980s; tuners fought hard for a piece of the pie as well, and RM’s sale reflects that. Collectors will get the rare opportunity to bid on a number of pre-merger AMG models like a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SL 5.0 (R107), a 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SEC 6.0 (C126) with a wide-body kit, and a 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL 6.0 (W126). BMW-based Alpina models are well represented, too: RM accepted a pair of 6 Series-based 1987 B7 coupes and a 3 Series-based B6 2.8. 

There are several slots left so it’s not too late to submit your car. If you’re a buyer, plan on being in Miami on December 9 and 10, 2022. We suggest clearing up space in your garage first: every car is offered with no reserve, so the selling price will be the highest bid.

Related Video

2023 Porsche 911 GT3 RS hits the track with 518 horsepower

Porsche’s track-focused 911 GT3 RS returns for 2023 with more power and tech than ever before – at a correspondingly eye-popping price point. The Turbo S may be the flagship 911, but to many car geeks, the GT2 and GT3 RS represent the true pinnacles of 911-ness thanks to their back-to-basics focus on extracting performance at the expense of virtually everything else. They may not be the quickest in a straight line, but when it comes to on-track composure and raw human-machine interaction, they simply can’t be beat. 

It would be easy to argue that the RS is basically a race car. The 992 GT3 RS is as close as you can get to a 911 Cup car while still being street-legal, but as a street car, it’s unhindered by series regulations or classifications. In other words, Porsche’s engineers can turn the performance dials up just as high as they please without running afoul of a sanctioning body while simultaneously sanding off some of the Cup car’s sharper edges so as to preserve the internal organs of customers who will never drive their RS models at the track. Yeah, you know they’re out there. 

To wit, while the 992 Cup car makes do with 510 horses and a six-speed sequential gearbox, the 2023 GT3 RS extracts 518 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque from its naturally aspirated 4.0-liter flat-six and puts it to the ground through a far more refined seven-speed PDK. Porsche says that’s good for a 0-to-60 time of 3.0 seconds flat. From here, Porsche reaches into a different motorsports parts bin for some aerodynamic cleverness. Trickling down from the 911 RSR and GT3 R is a new center-mounted, single-piece radiator that clears way on either side for a new active aerodynamics package. 

This new active aero system utilizes continuously adjustable wing components front and rear to allow for fine control over performance no matter the situation. In combination with the rest of the RS’ air-channeling fixtures, it can provide 900 pounds of downforce at 124 mph and a whopping 1,895 pounds at 177 mph. Flip it over to drag reduction mode and the wings go flat, helping the GT3 RS achieve its 184 mph top speed. The wings can also be deployed in max-drag mode to act as supplemental air brakes

The RS gets a brake upgrade over the standard GT3, with larger (by 2 mm) front pistons grabbing 408 mm discs; the rear axle retains the GT3’s 380 mm discs and four-piston fixed calipers. An optional carbon ceramic (PCCB) package returns with larger rotors (410 mm up front; 390 in the rear). Center-locking wheels also return (20 inches up front; 21 in the rear) wrapped in Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s in 275/35R20s and 335/30R21s, respectively. Weight is kept to an athletic 3,268 pounds thanks to a generous helping of carbon-fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) body and interior components.

The popular Weissach package also returns with its forged magnesium wheels, carbon exterior panels and an even more extensive CFRP regimen (front and rear anti-roll bars, the rear coupling rods and the shear panel on the rear axle). Porsche says the mag wheels alone knock off nearly 18 pounds of unsprung weight. 

But while some may still view the 911 as the everyman’s supercar, the GT3 RS is far from a bargain even at sticker price. For 2023, that’s $225,250 (including $1,450 for destination) — roughly 20% more than the “suggested” price for the old 991-generation GT3 RS. Not that it matters much in a market that treats sticker price like the Pirate’s Code. Look for the RS to arrive stateside in the spring. 

Related video:

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 Road Test: Exactly the hero you expect it to be

DETROIT – “Whoa, that’s a GT3,” shouts a kid from the truck next to me as I roll to a stop on Woodward Avenue. At the next light, happy Woodward watchers — yes, people just sit on the side of the road and watch cool cars go by here in Michigan — enthusiastically gesture to rev up the engine. Approving thumbs-ups seemingly rain down from everywhere. Sometimes, it’s fun being the center of attention.

This car needs no introduction. It’s the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3, and the world already knows it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. You’ve been fed exactly this from every single written story or video you’ve consumed about it. That’s why it garners the attention and awe that it does from even the youngest car enthusiasts just setting out into the world of automobiles. This Guards Red coupe isn’t just a Porsche 911. It’s a GT3, and that’s all it takes to move it into an entirely different level of relevancy and awe.

I too felt starstruck upon first laying eyes on it. Yes, I put the car journalist cap on tightly before entering the driver’s seat, but it would simply be inhuman to not have a visceral reaction to knowing you’re soon going to be driving a 911 GT3. It’s cliché, but this is a bedroom poster car, the likes of which any young enthusiast — like that kid at the stoplight — grows up hoping to drive one day. If my experience driving other Porsches is any indication, it’s that meeting your heroes isn’t a problem if they wear Porsche crests.

And so, I go about meeting this particular hero. Despite the massive GT3 aero on the outside, looking out from the driver’s seat of a GT3 isn’t a life-shattering experience. At its core, it’s everything that’s good about all the other 911s. The seat sits low to the floor. Its small-diameter steering wheel nestles into your hands just right. Porsche’s slick manual gear lever is placed ergonomically in the center console, and the view out the windshield is stupendous. Visibility is one of the most underreported elements of sports cars and supercars, but you’ll never complain about your sightlines in a GT3. That is, unless you look out the back. Porsche’s downforce-inducing new wing may push up to 840 pounds down onto the back end of the car, but it blots out most of the 911’s otherwise useful rear window. Of course, considering how cool it looks, I can’t complain. Plus, there’s a solution: Just buy the GT3 Touring if it’s that bothersome.

2022 Porsche 911 GT3 shifter2022 Porsche 911 GT3 instruments2022 Porsche 911 GT3 rear interior2022 Porsche 911 GT3 dashboard

It’s when you look closer around the GT3’s interior that the specialness of this car begins to sink in. Number one on the list is the analog tachometer with its 9,000 rpm redline. Then there’s the lack of a rear seat, which is a big omission for a vehicle like the 911 that can double as a family car if said family is limited to two small kids, two small dogs or just two folks up front who routinely like chucking shopping bags in the back. And finally, there’s the yellow “GT3” badge that sits just south of the shifter that subtly reminds you this 911 costs more than most folks’ homes. It was $177,780 as tested, and yes, it would probably be more than that given the state of the car market, but even before today’s madness, GT3s were difficult to scoop up.

Twist the big key fob-like protrusion to the left of the steering wheel, and the 4.0-liter naturally aspirated flat-six with its new individual throttle bodies awakens with a smooth but violent stir. Tap down on the Sport Exhaust button, which you should do before every drive, and the octave being emitted from the stainless-steel exhaust drops a bit at idle. This driveway performance doesn’t venture into obnoxious territory, but the neighbors will definitely notice something special has been awakened next door. And if they have a keen ear, they won’t need to see it to know what kind of car it is – there’s nothing quite like the deep, thunderous clatter of a Porsche flat six.   

Muscle the shifter left and up into reverse, and a pitiful backup camera pops up. Somehow, Porsche fit a potato cam to the 911 GT3, while all the other 911s get a high-res and eminently more useful backup camera. Perhaps Porsche saved a few grams of weight by using a worse camera? At least you can still get the front axle lift system to save the low front end from scraping. The memory lift control worked like a charm for every location I frequented, and it’s a perfect backup in case you forget to hit the button coming home late at night to your steep driveway.

Making the left turn off my street and onto the main road is when the GT3-ness of this car really slaps me in the face. The front end darts to where I point it with an alacrity I wasn’t prepared for. As I trundle along uneven neighborhood streets, the rigidity of the chassis can be felt in every bump and pothole. Little rocks ping on the wheel wells thrown up by the GT3’s massive rubber. 

I’ve always felt that particularly special cars reveal themselves and their potential in the first mile, and the GT3 fits this bill. The cabin is practically buzzing with sensations from all over. Each gear shift clicks into place swiftly and simply. The rise and fall of revs from the 502-horsepower flat-six is enticing and beckons for more at low speeds. Against logic, the electric power steering system is full of feel. That can admittedly be said of any 911, but only GT3 has a double-wishbone front suspension adapted from the Le Mans-winning 911 RSR, plus ball joints in place of various rubber suspension pieces. The result is a car that reacts to the road and communicates back unlike any other electric steering system I’ve used.

The harsh ride smooths out around cruising speeds above 40 mph, but the sense of oneness with the car and cohesiveness of the chassis never departs. Between the steering, rev band and noise coming from the rear, the GT3 starts to feel much less like its Carrera siblings, and more like its own beast entirely.

If you’ve never been behind the wheel of a GT3 before, there’s almost no way that you make it to the end of the tachometer the first time giving it the beans. Plenty of cars do the 0-60 mph sprint around the 3.0-second range these days, but very few do so with an engine that revs and builds power like this one. There’s a recalibration period the brain needs to go through as you wind past 7,000, 8,000 and then 8,500 rpm. The high-pitched symphonic yowl coming from behind you is telling you it’s time to shift. Your brain is really saying it’s time to shift. But you’re still rushing forward with a downright brutal sense of accelerative Gs.

I hated physics, but the best way to describe this engine is by utilizing it. Plenty of cars — namely turbocharged ones — will smack you off the line with a totalitarian rush of acceleration, and then continue along through a gear offering a similar amount of high G forces till it’s time to shift. However, the sense of increasing acceleration subsides, as your actual acceleration rate doesn’t feel like it’s constantly escalating. Meanwhile, the GT3’s accelerative force never seems to settle into a maximum. Until the next shift, that sense of acceleration — the force pushing your head back into the headrest — never has interest in slowing down as you gain speed. It’s simply spectacular.

Arcing the GT3 into a corner can be described with the same word: spectacular. The 992 generation of 911 is genuinely large and takes up a lot of room on the road, but the GT3 is remarkably light at just 3,126 pounds with this tester’s manual transmission. Add in the quick steering, and you can flick the GT3 through corners with the speed and confidence of a much smaller sports car. That double-wishbone front suspension design, and the endless list of other changes Porsche makes to the GT3 versus a Carrera, result in a very different 911 in the corners. You can swap the dampers between “Sport” and “Track” modes, but no street surface necessitates stepping up to Track. All four tires stay glued to the ground around corners as though you couldn’t break their contact if you tried, and while I feel like I’m driving briskly, the GT3’s limits can’t even be touched on the road. You need speed, beyond what our speed limits allow, to use that giant rear wing to compress the chassis into the pavement and truly exploit the car. 

Even without a racetrack, though, the sheer sense of stability and agility afforded by this chassis is second to none. Every 911 grants you an unnatural amount of grip as you accelerate out of a corner, but the GT3 just makes it even better. The predictability of the engine’s torque, a dummy-proof rev-matching downshift feature, and this sophisticated and unflappable chassis make pushing the GT3 both easy and a nonstop joy. That is, so long as the roads are indeed roadworthy, which isn’t something Michigan is always adept at providing. Find yourself on some less ideal pavement, and the aggressive wheel/tire setup and alignment results in tramlining that you just can’t do anything about. It’s the only thing that’ll break a smile in the cockpit of this car. 

Practically beaming from corner to corner with the revs never falling below 6,000 and 7,000 rpm, and that Formula 1-like wail echoing off the forest around you, is what the GT3 is all about. It’s a tall bottle of pure performance and another tall bottle of pure joy combined, and the result is a driving enthusiast’s cocktail of choice. And while you may not know it to be your cocktail of choice today, I can promise that one taste of GT3 will be all that’s needed to make it so.

Related video:

Manthey Racing Reveals Performance Kit for 992 GT3

Tuning company and Porsche Motorsport affiliate, Manthey-Racing GmbH, have just revealed their first upgrade package for the new 992-gen Porsche 911 GT3 road car. Known more amicably as ‘Manthey Racing‘, the world renown P-car specialists have grown their reputation and fine-tuned their products on the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where their ‘MR’-equipped performance cars undergo the most rigorous of quality assurance benchmarks available on the planet.

With a proven track record (pun intended) over many years of providing measurable improvements, even to Porsche’s most impressive factory road cars, this latest iteration of the 911 GT3 MR is an amalgamation of all that experience in combination with Porsche’s best interpretation of the car to date. Needless to say, Manthey Racing isn’t your typical tuning company—in fact, Porsche AG owns a 51% stake in the company and have also recently incorporated Manthey products into their own Porsche Tequipment catalogue. Other recent works include the 991.2 GT3 RS MR, GT4 MR and GT4 Clubsport.

Now on to the good stuff; the newest MR car follows a similar formula to recent models, with a Manthey/KW suspension system, lightweight wheels, a brake upgrade kit and aerodynamic enhancements bringing the car to new heights both emotionally and quantifiably. Faster lap times, better performance, an enhanced connection between driver and machine, and the confidence to push the car harder than ever before, are some of the expected side effects of the MR package.

Arguably the most notable MR signatures on the car are the carbon fiber rear-wheel Aerodiscs—fitted exclusively to the Manthey OM-1 wheels—which help direct airflow more efficiently to the rear wing while providing the car with a truly distinctive appearance. First seen on the 991.2 GT3 RS MR, Aerodiscs are becoming an increasingly popular item in both the tuning and broader enthusiast communities as they are something that can make a car more distinguishable just on their own. A reimagined front splitter, rear wing assembly and diffuser (plus the addition of front dive planes) make up the remaining aerodynamic elements.

While the most apparent reason for giving any Porsche automobile the ‘Manthey Racing treatment’, is to push the performance envelope of the car, the company has been unequivocal in maintaining (if not enhancing) the factory car’s more road-going qualities. This means that owners of a GT3 MR can continue to enjoy the car as much on the public roads as they would on the race track, with the company going on to recommend doing it all on the same day to boot—race it at the circuit, then drive it to the opera, if you will.

“The team at Porsche in Weissach presented us with a big challenge when they produced the new GT3. Our goal of improving the performance of the Porsche GT models even further for track use, without making too many changes to the car’s essential DNA, and, at the same time, coming up with an attractive package for customers who love to drive on the track, has meant a lot of work for us with the new model. Alongside the performance, I’m also really pleased with the car’s appearance.” – Stefan Mages, Manthey Racing Head of Development

The company has promised that their 992 GT3 MR performance kit will be available for purchase in early 2022, although there is no word yet on pricing. As a Porsche-endorsed product, adding it on to the car will not void the warranty either. So, only one question remains for owners of the new GT3: “When are you ordering yours?”

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The Porsche Vision Gran Turismo

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Gran Turismo game series, a Japanese video game developed by studio Polyphony Digital Inc., a subsidiary of Sony Interactive Entertainment, where the Vision Gran Turismo program, also known as Vision GT or even VGT has given us some of the most impressive concept cars, mostly fictional, but still utterly amazing to look at and imagine driving them … which you can do in the game naturally.

The first car that comes to mind is the 2015 Bugatti Vision GT, an absolutely stunning concept that was built as a show car to the 2015 IAA in Frankfurt, but let’s not forget the equally impressive-looking McLaren Ultimate Vision GT or the stunning Lamborghini V12 Vision Gran Turismo in her satin green livery, and now there is a new concept released.

Porsche has joined the ranks of the Vision GT program, aptly named the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo, this concept was created purely for the virtual world of the 7th edition of Gran Turismo to be released on March 4 2022 for both the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation 5, “A vehicle designed purely for the virtual world opens up exciting possibilities for us that are otherwise heavily regimented in a regular design process for a series production car,” says Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche. “Projects such as the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo are particularly valuable for us in the creative process. Further developing our clearly defined Porsche Design DNA and exchanging with designers from other industries is an important part of our work.”

Porsche’s Vision Gran Turismo might be very futuristic-looking, but she does boast some very recognizable features that make her undeniably a Porsche, like the typical proportion between height and width of the design, a very low bonnet with large, round wings alongside, while the pure style of the front with the air intakes remind us of the Porsche Taycan, and yes, the Vision Gran Turismo is all-electric in case you were wondering.

At the back, we find that typical narrow strip of lights, inspired by both the 911 and the Taycan, with a very aggressive looking diffuser, no exhausts as there is no ICE engine, but note how the rear fenders, especially the section behind the rear wheels is almost carved out of the body to create a dramatic look and exposes part of the rear tires at the same time, just an amazing detail on this concept car, I really like the vertical red lights integrated into the fins of the diffuser by the way.

On the inside, the Porsche style is continued with a curved hologram display that seems to float in the thin air above the very special steering wheel, because the seats are placed so low into the body you just feel the dynamics at play, even standing still, the inside is created from carbon fiber and titanium to reduce weight and increase performance in one go, Porsche used entirely vegan materials in the concept car.

“The appeal of a Porsche comes from its purist design,” says Kazunori Yamauchi, President, Polyphony Digital. “And in terms of engineering expertise, both we and Porsche follow the same perfectionist philosophy. We share the same passion for racing and are looking to the future of the car.”

Naturally, there is a strategic advantage for Porsche to expand into the vast gaming industry. “We can engage young and digital target groups in the place where their automotive dreams are born: the world of gaming,” says Robert Ader, Vice President Marketing at Porsche AG. “The partnership with Polyphony Digital and ‘Gran Turismo’ is a perfect fit for Porsche, because motorsport – whether real or virtual – is part of our DNA.”

Check out this amazing launch video on the Porsche Vision GT:

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After viewing the above video, let’s enjoy some more details of this amazing looking Porsche Vision Gran Turismo, there’s even a bespoke helmet:

Porsche Riding Giddy Heights With the Wildly Successful Taycan

In the first nine months of 2021, Porsche sold 28,640 Taycan units, about 13.2% of the carmaker’s total volume and a massive year-on-year increase of over 160%. More impressive is the fact that the EV outsold Porsche’s iconic 911 for the first time over the same period.

It is worth mentioning here that the Porsche Taycan is only in its 2nd full year of production, having been launched at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. Sales likely would have been even higher, were it not for the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global chip shortage ravaging the automobile sector. The sales volume paints a pretty upbeat picture when you remember that the Taycan’s prices range from $81,000 to $185,000, depending on the model variant.

2020 Porsche TaycanVia Motor1.

Today, the Taycan ranks only behind the Cayenne and Macan (both SUVs) in global sales. Clearly, Porsche has hit a home run with its sole EV offering.

The Taycan’s remarkable achievement, in such a short period, perfectly sets the stage for Porsche’s electrification drive as the carmaker looks to expand its EV offering to other vehicle types in its lineup.

The Porsche Taycan: Sowing the Seeds

It is possible Porsche might not have anticipated the runaway success of what is currently the only all-electric vehicle in its lineup. However, that does not mean the carmaker did not put in the work needed to ensure the Taycan had a smooth introduction into the market. The launch of the Taycan was the result of several years of research and development rather than a quickfire ‘bandwagon’ approach.

Interestingly, you would have to go back to the roots of the carmaker’s history to establish Porsche’s connection with electrification. Ferdinand Porsche, the company’s founder, was always fascinated by electricity.

In 1893, Porsche was able to successfully install an electric system at his parent’s house. Four years later, he was Head of Testing at an electrical engineering firm called Vereinigte Elektrizitäts-AG Béla Egger in Austria, and the first vehicles he designed had electric drives.

In 1900, Porsche was responsible for the world’s first functional hybrid car, dubbed the ‘Semper Vivus,’ Latin for ‘always alive.’ a year later, the production version of the vehicle, known as the Lohner-Porsche Mixte, was ready.

Lohner Porsche Semper VivusVia Cartype.

The Mixte was far ahead of the technology at the time, which ultimately proved to be its undoing. The available infrastructure just was not ready for any form of large-scale electromobility research and development.

The dream, though, never really died. The idea of electrification was finally revived at Porsche AG, about a century later, buoyed by advancements in the development of lithium-ion batteries.

2010 Porsche Cayenne S HybridVia netcarshow.

First, there was the 2010 Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid, followed by the 2012 Panamera S Hybrid. Porsche also conducted tests with three all-electric Porsche 911s in 2011.

Other cars, like the 918 Spyder and 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car followed, with each breakthrough allowing Porsche to gain valuable experience to develop its first all-electric vehicle. There were no cutting corners with the Taycan. By the time the production spec was ready, Porsche had invested about $1 billion with over 1,000 employees involved during the development process at one point or the other.

From Mission E to the Porsche Taycan

Porsche Mission E ConceptVia Porsche Newsroom.

One of the highlights at the 2015 Frankfurt International Auto Show was the Mission E, a concept car showcased by Porsche. The EV concept had an 800-volt drive system, boasted more than 600-hp and a battery range in excess of 300 miles.

The Mission E was very fast too, with the ability to rocket from 0 to 60 mph in as little as 3.5 seconds. The interior featured innovative technology with instruments controlled via eye-tracking and hand gestures. Porsche, with the board’s full support, were clear about their intentions to bring the car into production before the end of the decade.

By June 2018, the name of the planned production all-electric sports car was revealed as the Taycan. Picking the name was an elaborate process that involved whittling down a selection of over six hundred ideas.

Taycan is a blend of two Turkish terms that roughly translates to ‘soul of a spirited young horse.’ Interest continued to build up in the launch of the Porsche Taycan, and reservations hit 30,000 deposits by July 2019, forcing Porsche to revise initial production estimates of 20,000 units in the first production year.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto ShowVia Our Auto Expert.

Finally, in September 2019, after four years of hard, relentless work, the German carmaker debuted the production version of the Taycan. It was the first production all-electric vehicle to utilize a two-speed transmission and an 800-volt architecture for quicker acceleration and faster charging times.

Porsche tried as much as possible to stick to the design language of the Mission E, but there were differences—like the wider intakes and a deployable rear wing on the Taycan. The Taycan also ditched the suicide doors of the concept and adopted a flatter roofline to create more headspace for rear passengers.

Model Variants: Milking the Porsche Taycan

2020 Porsche Taycan TurboVia Motor Authority.

Porsche took advantage of the strong interest surrounding the Taycan and made the car available in two variants at launch. There was the Taycan Turbo and the more potent Taycan Turbo S version.

Both variants generate a restricted 616-hp to protect the drivetrain from overheating. Still, there’s an ‘overboost’ function that can briefly push this number out to 670-hp for the Turbo and a thumping 750-hp for the Turbo S.

The Taycan Turbo S, making full use of its instant torque and all-wheel-drive, could fly to 60 mph in a scant 2.4 seconds, matching the time set by the Tesla Model S in Cheetah mode. The Turbo version wasn’t far behind, with a 0 to 60 mph sprint clocked at 3 seconds flat.

Green Porsche Taycan 4SVia Top Gear.

The launch models were quickly followed by the Taycan 4S, offered with a choice of two battery packs for different performance levels. The lower capacity 71 KwH battery pack was good for 522-hp, and the 83.7 KwH pushed up to 562-hp to all four wheels. They were not as quick as the Taycan Turbo models, but they cost less and allowed Porsche to capture more of the market.

In 2021, Porsche went further and introduced an even cheaper new base Taycan model that was rear-wheel-drive only. This one came with a standard 79.2-kWh battery and a rear permanent-magnet synchronous electric motor that made 402-hp. It cost over $20,000 less than the Taycan 4S and helped keep up the sales momentum for the Taycan brand.

Two Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo carsVia Guide Auto Web.

Today, a quick visit to the Porsche website will show that you can now purchase the Taycan in eight different model variants. In addition to the ones earlier mentioned, there is now a Taycan Cross Turismo that can be obtained in four different variants—the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo, Taycan 4S Cross Turismo, Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo and the Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo.

Apart from introducing new models, Porsche has also continued to tweak the architecture of the existing lineup, making the Taycan an even more capable performance EV. For example, the 2022 models feature better thermal management setups, an improved operating system, and can now be parked remotely using a smartphone.

The Journey Ahead for the Porsche Taycan

Porsche’s 2021 performance for the first three quarters shows a 13% increase year on year. SUVs like the Macan drive this growth, but the Taycan has also played a significant role with a nearly three-fold increase in deliveries, even though the Taycan generally costs significantly more than rivals in the same segment.

For example, the Taycan Turbo S costs about $80,000 more than the Tesla Model S Performance. Porsche executives will be undoubtedly pleased by this as it tells them their customers are quite receptive to their EVs. It bodes well for the carmaker, especially as an all-electric Macan is expected to join the Taycan next year.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTSVia Motortrend.

The Taycan’s success is still on an upward trajectory, judging by recent happenings. There might be eight Taycan models currently available in the market, but Porsche is not done yet, and who can blame them?

The carmaker just unveiled the 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS and the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo at the 2021 L.A. Auto Show. The Taycan GTS boasts a 504km (313 miles) driving range, the first Taycan model to crack the 500km barrier. The new additions will roll out to dealers in the Spring of 2022.

2022 Porsche Taycan GTS Sport TurismoVia netcarshow.

Prior to the announcement of the new additions to the Taycan family, Porsche CEO Oliver Brume gave another indication of how well the Taycan was performing during a September 2021 interview with Reuters.

Brume confirmed there’s now a six-month waiting list for a new Taycan. That’s up from the usual four-month wait. He added that the planned 2021 production limit was 20,000 Taycans, but the carmaker sold that amount in the first half of the year alone.

The challenge now would be for Porsche to find a way to ramp up production in the face of the automobile sector’s current challenges. It is a ‘good’ problem to have, but resolving it will be vital for preventing the Taycan from becoming a victim of its own success.

That may yet turn out to be an extreme scenario, though, and I wouldn’t bet against the German carmaker finding a way to turn things around as far as production capacities are concerned. For now, they can continue to bask in the Taycan’s success.

Porsche brings back classic paint colors with Paint to Sample

Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur is bringing back historic color shades on all Porsche models with the new Paint to Sample and Paint to Sample Plus option: “Unusual paint finishes have been familiar throughout the history of our brand and are an important differentiating feature,” says Alexander Fabig, Head of Individualisation and Classic. “With this offer, we are reviving cult-classic colors and expanding the extensive range of standard and special colors across all the model series by more than 160 shades.”

Custom-painted Porsches have been gaining popularity over the years, customers want to have a bespoke paint on their brand new car from Zuffenhausen, something that Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur is playing into with their Paint to Sample option, to accomplish this they’ve installed a brand new color-mixing system at the factory, allowing specialists to mix up the exact shade a client requested, from combining dozens of ingredients with milligram precision.

Each batch of paint is made for two paint pots, one that will be used for the bodywork of the new Porsche while the second one will be applied to the add-on parts, because the mix of aluminum parts, plastics, and carbon fiberglass, the mixture to be applied has to be slightly different depending on the surface that has to be coated … they even paint a comparison plate to reference against the finished car as a final inspection.

But Paint to Sample not only covers custom colors on special demand, but they also resurrected some classic shades from the 90s, color mixtures that are already known by Porsche’s paint specialists, like Maritime Blue as seen on the Porsche Panamera below, a deep, not too dark shade of blue that gives a classic but luxurious look to this four-door model, if you want to stand out even more a set of gold-painted wheels would do the trick.

Or how about Rubystar Red, a rather special shade of red with a more pink hue to it, which looks amazing on this Porsche Taycan, at least it’s something different from the large amount of white Taycans I usually see driving around over here, it seems some markets only order black, dark grey, and white, while other markets have a much more diverse taste in colors on their luxury cars.

And let’s not forget about Mint Green, I remember seeing a 911 in this shade with color-coded leather seats, very special looking and perfect in tune with the Nineties, perhaps today a more subtle interior shade might be a better idea, but I still think black seats with their centers in matching Mint Green would look killer on this car:

The number of different paint color options largely depends on the specific Porsche model and where they are actually built, when looking at the 911 and the 718 model the list of paint colors goes beyond 100, while on the Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne, the list contains a little over 50 options, while a further 65 colors complete the palette on the all-electric Porsche Taycan.

While it is possible to order your ‘Paint to Sample’ specific shade for your new car right at the local Porsche Centre, you’ll have to keep in mind an additional three-month delivery time compared to the basic color options, and if you really want something unique, you can opt for the ‘Paint to Sample Plus’ finish, which is limited to the Porsche 911, 718, and Taycan … but here there is just about no limit whatsoever on which shade you want, it all begins with the customer supplying a sample of his or her color to a Porsche Center.

And this doesn’t need to be a piece of painted metal, how about a bottle of nail varnish, or a pair of shoes to match, a handbag, or a piece of clothing … anything goes, as it is sent out to Porsche AG for an initial feasibility check, which can take a few months, before Porsche’s color wizards create the magic formula to be tested on a car body and add-on parts … but that’s not the customer’s car yet, the first application of this custom shade is done onto a test-body, at Porsche’s expense, and only if all tests are good and they’ve determined the details, such as layer thickness, will the customer’s Porsche be painted in this bespoke shade.

Such individual vehicles can only be ordered through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur, and not every Porsche Center will be a partner, at the time of writing about 100 Exclusive Manufaktur partners are present globally, these are specifically selected Porsche Centers who are specially equipped and have trained specialists able to provide advice on the Exclusive Manufaktur product range if you really want to get the best-of-the-best you can always travel to the heart of the brand in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, but you’ll need a commission number before you are able to visit the HQ.

Just in case you are wondering about just how much something like this would set you back, here are some indications of price, the Paint to Sample will set you back between €8,806 and €9,877 depending on the exact model, while the even more intricate Paint to Sample Plus goes from €17,612 to 19,754, note that all prices are MSRP for Germany including 19% VAT, if you want to know the exact cost in your case you should really visit a local Porsche Center and inquire about this when ordering your brand new, bespoke build Porsche supercar.

Top Gear Dives Into The New Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS

As part of the recent “Green Promise” that many car manufacturers are heading for, we all know that the most powerful, fastest, extreme, and best handling supercars and hypercars of the near and distant future will be electric. Bugatti Rimac has been formed as part of that promise, and Porsche has a major stake in the company through both its own investments and through its parent, Volkswagen Group.

Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS
Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS The new 2022 Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS with the Weissach Pack option

This is not to say, however, that Porsche is going to quietly shuffle their engines that run on recycled dinosaurs into the storage room, however, not at all. Instead, they’ve turned around and let the GT department, their skunkworks team, at Stuttgart go slightly (read: completely) insane. The result is a $145,000 USD Porsche Cayman that carries a 4.0L flat-six engine from a Type 992 GT3 with the wick turned up to 11, has exhausts with the bare minimum of baffles to pass road legality making it the loudest Cayman ever made, and can keep up with a Lotus Exige in terms of handling.

Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS
Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 RS Part of what makes the Cayman GT4 RS handle as well as it does is the specifically tuned aerodynamics that give it downforce without adding any more drag to the car

The new Cayman 718 GT4 RS, according to Porsche themselves at least, is not meant to be a track monster. It certainly can be, and there is a customer-spec version of the GT4 race car coming in the GT4 RS Clubsport, dedicated to track only use. This beast is meant to be an “experience,” a car that makes the driver become part of the machine, the two symbiotically working together to scream bloody murder out those nearly direct-port exhausts and catapult the car to the horizon as fast as possible.

Top Gear GT4 RS overview
Top Gear GT4 RS overview Regular GT4 on the right, GT4 RS on the left. Notice the far more aggressive diffuser, “hang down” wing, and larger exhaust exits

Sure, it can lap the Nurburgring’s famous Nordschleife track in 7 minutes and 4 seconds. Sure, it has unbelievably good handling and its aerodynamics are machined and tuned to precision German standards. But by letting the GT department off the leash, they’ve also made, as Top Gear describes it in the video below, a car that is steeped in the highest levels of “engineering nerdery.”

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Our take? While there are still petrol-powered engines around, Porsche should let the GT department off the leash more often, if this is what results from the German equivalent of going mental!

The new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport

Porsche only just revealed the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but there is even more news in their 718 range, simultaneous Porsche also unveiled their latest mid-engined race car, the 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, with the 4-Liter six-cylinder boxer engine taken directly from the 911 GT3 Cup race car, pumping out 500 PS in the 718 Clubsport version, an increase of 75 PS compared to the previous GT4 Clubsport edition.

Depending on the track and series-specific regulations, the new 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport can achieve lap times that are over two percent quicker than the previous model. The homologated vehicle is track-ready straight from the factory in Weissach and can be used in SRO racing series around the world without the need for additional modifications, pricing starts at 196.000 Euro or 229.000 Dollars, not including specific taxes.

“We have incorporated our experience of the last three years of running the previous GT4 Clubsport as well as customer wishes into the development of the new car,” said Michael Dreiser, Manager of Sales and Distribution at Porsche Motorsport. “Faster lap times combined with a further improvement in driveability offer our customers a competitive product for the upcoming racing seasons in GT4 class racing competitions around the world.”

The first Cayman GT4 Clubsport was introduced back in 2016 already based on the 981 generation, to offer customers a very competitive race car, in just two years a total of 421 were built, for 2019 a new model based on the 718 Cayman GT4 debuted, of which about 500 would find clients, mostly thanks to the low running costs of these GT4 race cars in the hands of customer teams.

This tradition is continued with the brand new 2022 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport, the 4-Liter boxer engine replaces the previous 3.8-liter six-cylinder unit, and it is about 18% more powerful with its 500 PS at 8,300 rpm thanks to an optimized air intake, also note this new engine car sustain up to 9,000 rpm while it comes with a torque of 425 Nm at 6,600 rpm, resulting in a broad speed band, making the car easier to handle for amateur drivers, but still powerful enough for professional race car drivers.

Upgrades include the use of two-way adjustable shock absorbers with improved characteristics, in addition to adjustable sword-type anti-roll bars front and rear. Vehicle height, camber, and toe are also adjustable. Furthermore, three different spring rates for front and rear axles are now available. Special NACA ducts in the bonnet are designed to direct the airflow more efficiently to the large racing brake-ing system fitted with 380-millimeter steel brake discs.

The 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport comes with a further extended front spoiler lip compared to the road car for additional downforce, while vents on the wheel arches were inspired by the 911 GT3 R model and vertical fins on the front bumper create an air curtain for the front wheels, naturally, the entire underbody is closed for this race car and it doubles as an optimization for the rear diffuser.

The ‘hanging’ rear wing, also called swan neck, comes with a 20mm long Gurney flap, with an additional pair of adjustment ranges added for more personalization during racing.