Mission E concept was a preview of EV for 2020

Mission E concept was a preview of EV for 2020

Rounding out the series on the current and future vehicles of the Volkswagen Group's passenger car brands, this analysis looks at Porsche.

Sports cars

The current generation of the car originally called Porsche Boxster had its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2012. The second generation Cayman followed later that year, its first appearance being at the LA auto show.

The launch variants were the Boxster and Boxster S. These were powered by 195kW 2.7- and 232kW 3.4-litre six-cylinder engines respectively. In Germany, where the car went on sale a month after its motor show debut, a six-speed manual was standard for both variants, with a seven-speed dual-clutch Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) automatic an extra cost option.

The more powerful Cayman GTS and Boxster GTS had their global debuts at the New York auto show in April 2014 and went on sale from the following month. The Boxster GTS was powered by a 243kW (330PS) 3.4-litre H6, while the Cayman GTS' 3.4-litre engine produced 250kW (340PS).

In July 2014, Porsche stated that it would take overflow assembly of the Boxster and Cayman out of the Volkswagen Group's Osnabrueck plant by 2016 so as to be able to assemble up to 20,000 Cayennes there annually from summer 2015. The firm's main Zuffenhausen plant in turn saw a major investment that would allow it to make more Boxsters and Caymans. Production at Osnabrück ceased in August (2016).

Four-cylinder (horizontally opposed/H4) versions of the Boxster and Cayman were announced by Porsche in December 2015, along with a name change. They are now known as the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman

The H4 engine is needed for future fuel economy and emissions norms in the European Union and the US. There is also a special version for China, priced at under CNY600,000. This is powered by a 250PS 2.0-litre H4. BorgWarner is the supplier of the variable-turbine turbochargers in Porsche's four-cylinder engines.

In a reversal of how pricing had always been, the Boxster became the pricier model series. The restyled and renamed cars premiered at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. There won't be any further styling changes, however. Porsche might well replace the Spyder variant in 2017 or 2018 and add some versions of both Cayman and Boxster with different power outputs from their H4 engines.

The successors for the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster will use a version of the future 992 Porsche 911's architecture. These are to enter production in the second half of 2019.

Despite being a seven-year old car, the 911 had a small rise in sales this year to 25,993 vehicles delivered (+5%) over the first three quarters. Much of the reason was the arrival of a facelifted range and new, more efficient 3.0-litre biturbo engines in the final quarter of 2015.

The first four variants were as follows:

  • 272kW (370hp) Carrera & Carrera Cabriolet - torque is 450Nm
  • 309kW (420hp) Carrera S & Carrera S Cabriolet - torque is 500Nm

Six all-wheel drive cars powered by the same engines followed at November 2015's LA auto show:

  • Carrera 4
  • Carrera 4S
  • Carrera 4 Cabriolet
  • Carrera 4S Cabriolet
  • Targa 4
  • Targa 4S

The above six cars became available in Germany during January (2016). Later the same month, the facelifted Turbo and Turbo S coupes and cabrios were revealed at the Detroit auto show. These variants also gained 15kW (20hp). This means the biturbo 3.8-litre H6 in the 911 Turbo produces 397kW (540hp). This was achieved by modified inlet ports in the cylinder head, new injection nozzles and higher fuel pressure. 

The 911 Turbo S now develops 427kW (580hp) thanks to new turbochargers with larger compressors. Porsche is still the only manufacturer to utilise turbochargers with variable turbine geometry in petrol engines, and the 911 remains the only car to offer a seven-speed manual gearbox - just as it was at the time of this shape's original release in 2011.

Porsche revealed a limited edition of 991 cars at March 2016's Geneva motor show. This is the 911 R, which is powered by a 368kW/500hp 4.0-litre engine. With an overall weight of 1,370 kg, the R undercuts the GT3 RS by 50 kg. The bonnet and front wheel arches are made of carbonfibre and the roof is magnesium, while the rear windscreen and rear side windows are lightweight plastic. Additional weight-saving factors are the reduced sound insulation in the interior and the omission of a rear bench seat. A/C and an audio system are available as options.

Some of the lightweight innovations from the R should be incorporated into the next generation 911 series, which is due for release 6-8 months ahead of the third generation Cayenne's launch. That means the final quarter of 2018 for the 992. 

The turbocharged H6 engines from the current model (codename: 991.2, pre-facelift it was 991) will again feature and there will also be a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the Carrera 4. This variant's front axle would be driven by an electric motor.

The 992 series model is thought to be the introductory model for what will become a Volkswagen Group rear- and mid-engined modular architecture. In addition to being the basis for the next 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster, it could well be used for a new generation of Lamborghini models as well as the third Audi R8 due out in 2023. Other sources, however, suggest that an evolution of the outgoing 911's architecture will be used for the next 911.

Luxury

The second generation Panamera was shown to the media in June two days after it had its public debut as a lightly disguised prototype at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. It had a motor show premiere in Paris in late September and production commenced at Leipzig in October.

As well as being the first model for MSB, a Volkswagen Group RWD/AWD architecture, the new hatchback saw the arrival of a fresh V8 diesel engine, now compliant with the latest EC emissions legislation.

As is normal when the SUV and sports car maker reveals a new model, only a handful of the eventual derivatives were announced. The initial model range (November 2016 deliveries in Germany) is as follows:

  • 4S
  • 4S Diesel
  • Turbo
  • 4-E Hybrid (see section on EVs & PHEVs below)

All three of the launch variants have all-wheel drive and pneumatic suspension, but RWD cars with steel springs will be added during the first quarter of 2017.

Additional variants had their public debuts at the LA auto show a few days ago. These were the base and all-wheel drive cars, as well as the second generation Panamera Executive (long-wheelbase):

  • Panamera (243kW/330hp) turbo 3.0-litre V6
  • Panamera 4 (same engine)
  • Panamera 4 Executive
  • Panamera 4S Executive
  • Panamera 4-E Hybrid Executive
  • Panamera Turbo Executive

Unlike the first generation model, the Executive is available in right-hand drive form.

The second generation GTS is expected to be announced in 2017 and a Panamera shooting brake estate is also due to be added but this will not arrive until 2018.

The interior, while looking typically Porsche in shape, is a radical departure for the company. Gone are the multiple black plastic pushbuttons or blanked out spaces, replaced by touch sensitive controls for front and rear occupants. Meanwhile, the traditional dials in the instrument cluster have gone digital and the door handles are a new design. The effect is as if the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and outgoing Panamera's dashboard and infotainment systems were mashed up. Some things, though, have not been allowed to change: the tachometer is positioned centrally in the instrument cluster.

Porsche engineers developed the car's MSB architecture, and this features much aluminium in its construction. The same metal is used for the door skins, bonnet, roof and tailgate frame.

The redesigned engines are all linked to an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. There is a new 442hp 4.0-litre V8 with a torque output of 850Nm. This is said to make the Panamera the world's fastest diesel production car, with 0-100km/h taking a claimed 4.3 seconds and the top speed being 177mph. Next comes a new 440hp biturbo 2.9-litre petrol V6, followed by a 550hp 4.0-litre biturbo petrol V8. That V6 also appears in the plug-in hybrid.

PO620, which is the Panamera's development code, is fully manufactured by Porsche at its Leipzig plant: bodies of the first generation car were welded and painted at the Volkswagen van factory in Hanover.

Expect Panamera 2 to be in production for just over seven years, with a facelift in the third quarter of 2020.

SUVs

Porsche's first SUV in the Q5 class is fact based on the recently replaced Audi. The mark one Q5 and Macan share a 2,807mm wheelbase and the Volkswagen Group's front- and all-wheel drive PQ35 architecture. 

Porsche engineers made a lot of modifications (e.g. redistributed weight) to PQ35 and fitted it with clever electronics so as to simulate a RWD/AWD feel. PTM (Porsche Traction Management) active all-wheel drive and the firm's self-developed PDK double-clutch transmission are standard for all Macans.

The aim of achieving a 50/50 weight balance meant the car was developed with major parts of the body platform and doors manufactured from high and super-high strength lightweight steel sheets. Aluminium is also in evidence with the bonnet and tailgate being made from this alloy. Nonetheless, this is not a light car but the eventual replacement is being developed with that in mind as a priority. That way, an electric drive system could be fitted if needed during the 2020s.

The company had a stated goal of lifting its model range's total annual build volume to 200,000 units by 2018, with additional models such as the Macan being a major part of that. The Leipzig plant was set up to build 50,000 units of this SUV annually, Porsche stated in November 2013. It attained that in CY2015.

Another target which has already been hit is that figure of 200,000 deliveries. During the first nine months, 178,314 vehicles were registered, a year-on-year gain of three percent. With the addition of the new Panamera, the total for 2016 should be approaching 250,000 units.

The Macan has replaced the Cayenne as Porsche's top seller, the bigger model's age now being a factor as it heads into the final years of this generation's lifecycle. For the year to the end of September, Macan deliveries reached 71,086 units, its popularity in China helping to keep that market the brand's number one (1 Jan-30 Sep: 49,229, +11%), way ahead of the USA (40,246, +3%) and Germany (22,198, -0-5%).

Macan production started in February 2014 and various additions were made to the range in the months which followed. The three launch versions were the S (250kW/340hp biturbo 3.0-litre V6), Turbo (294kW/400hp biturbo 3.6-litre V6) and (190kW/258hp 3.0-litre turbo V6) S Diesel. 

The base Macan was announced in April 2014, premiering at the Beijing motor show. It is powered by a 177kW (238hp) version of Volkswagen's 1,984cc EA888 engine. Torque is quoted as 350Nm. A seven-speed dual clutch gearbox, which Porsche brands as a PDK, is standard. Sales commenced in mostly Asian markets from mid-year, but the base Macan is also sold in the UK. It was also new for North America's 2017 model year.

The GTS had its world premiere at the Tokyo motor show in October 2015, going on sale immediately afterwards. It is powered by a 265kW/360hp & 500Nm biturbo 3.0-litre V6.

The Macan Turbo with Performance Package was announced in August 2016. It is powered by a 324kW (440hp) version of the biturbo 3.6-litre V6. This is 30kW (40hp) more than the Macan Turbo. The gain for torque is 50Nm, to 600Nm.

After a facelifted model arrives in mid-2017, the second generation Macan is expected to appear in late 2020. As is the case with the current model, all build should be at the Leipzig plant in eastern Germany.

The platform of Macan 2 might either be MLB Evo or else MSB. The possibility of it being the latter would be in response to competition from the RWD-based BMW X4, Jaguar F-PACE and its Range Rover equivalent, the yet to be revealed L560. Even though the Macan is the best handling SUV in its size segment, Porsche might for marketing reasons be wary of using an adapted front- and all-wheel architecture for a second time. 

As noted above, the larger Cayenne is not selling at anywhere near the level which it once did. A lot of that has to do with the success of the Macan, but also, this second generation model is now fewer than 18 months away from being replaced at the end of what should be an eight-year production run.

Like the first-shape model, there are V6 and V8 petrol engines plus a V6 diesel (I shed a tear when the V8 diesel was axed due to Euro 6), as well as a gasoline-electric plug-in S E-Hybrid (see below) which, from October 2014, replaced the S Hybrid, which was not a plug-in.

The Cayenne, which is the base variant, has a 300hp 3.6-litre Volkswagen Group V6, the S was originally powered by a 395bhp 4.8-litre V8, the GTS by a 420hp 4.8-litre V8, and the Turbo had a 493bhp version of the same unit. The 240hp VW Group 3.0-litre V6 diesel was carried over from the first Cayenne. The Cayenne diesel gained a more powerful (245bhp) version of the same V6 in April 2011.

The GTS had its world premiere at the Beijing motor show in April 2012, while another new variant followed five months later at the Paris motor show: the S Diesel. This, until the time of the October 2014 range revisions, was powered by a 382hp (281kW) version of the Volkswagen Group's 4,134cc V8. Its torque output was still 850Nm but power was raised to 283kW (385hp). The fantastic sounding and performing but tragically unclean S Diesel was discontinued in EU markets during the second half of 2015.

In October 2012, Porsche revealed initial details of an additional variant, the Cayenne Turbo S. Its power output was 550hp (405kW), a 50hp rise over the Cayenne Turbo. It went on sale in Germany in January 2013. Its global debut was at the Detroit auto show earlier that month. It was not part of the updated range announced in July 2014. 

A new Turbo S was revealed at the Detroit auto show in January 2015, its 4.8-litre V8 gaining 20hp and 50Nm so since then, it has produced 419kW (570hp) of power and 800Nm of torque.

The third generation Cayenne due in April 2018 will use the same basic architecture as the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, next VW Touareg and Lamborghini's SUV. It will therefore lose around 300kg per version. Also, a diesel V8 will return to the line-up, this being a more powerful version of the sensationally torquey (900Nm) new 4.0-litre engine which features in the Q7. 

As part of the replacement range, there might also be a Cayenne Coupé. This more expensive and exclusive low-roof additional model was on the back burner for a time but is said to have been given the go-ahead from the Management and Supervisory Boards. It should be in showrooms from the third quarter of 2019.

A long-wheelbase Cayenne Executive would be a third bodystyle for the next range. This would not only take on the Range Rover L and future BMW X7, but it will also mean that the Cayenne is no longer made to look small beside the new Panamera Executive (see notes on the 4-E Hybrid below)

EVs & PHEVs

The first PHEV in the history of the 911 is due to be offered in relevant countries where there is a tax advantage from 2019. The details are shrouded in secrecy but the engine will be a turbo H6, with the front axle driven by an electric motor.

A fully electric vehicle is also under development at Porsche. The company showed its initial thinking with the Panamera Sport Turismo, a concept revealed at September 2012's Paris motor show. This looked as though it might be a preview of a potential rival for the Tesla Model S. 

The production model should hit the market during the first quarter of 2020 at the latest and be similarly sized to the Audi A7 Sportback. Combustion engines are not expected to be available in this model.

The Panamera Sport Turismo was followed up by the Mission E concept at September 2015's Frankfurt IAA. This had two permanent magnet synchronous motors, similar to those in the 919 Hybrid LMP1 racing car. These devices are able to accelerate and recover braking energy.

The Mission E had an 800V system which meant Porsche could claim that the car's batteries could be recharged to 80% of their capacity in 15 minutes. The concept was also able to be plugged in to a 400V charger or recharged inductively. 

The company confirmed in December 2015 that it was developing an electric car based on the Mission E and that it would be built at Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Porsche claimed that it is spending a billion euro on this project and creating 1,000 jobs. 

Of the one million euro, more than two thirds will be used on upgrades at the main production site in Zuffenhausen. Over the next few years, a new paint shop and a new assembly plant will be built, while the existing engine factory is to be expanded for the production of electric motors. In addition, the existing body shop is being enlarged.

What may be called the E-Sport Turismo will be a four-door car with four individual seats. The Mission E has an output of "over 600hp (440 kW)", Porsche claims. Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h will take less than 3.5 seconds and the range is to be more than 500 kilometres.

On the question of an architecture, this will almost certainly be the Volkswagen Group's Modularer Elektrifizierungsbaukasten (Modular Electric Drive Kit). MEB has variable wheelbases and widths, which is why it will also be what underpins the production version of the VW I.D. This will be a Golf-sized crossover and it's worth noting that the Porsche will be on sale first. Had it been the other way around, there would be a risk of the E-Sport being labelled by some as 'the electric Porsche that's really a Volkswagen with a different, longer body'.

The plug-in hybrid 911 and fully electric E-Sport are both some way off, but there is a PHEV Porsche which will hit the market much sooner than these two models. 

The Panamera 4-E Hybrid is the plug-in hybrid version of the second generation of Porsche's huge hatchback. The 4-E had its public premiere alongside the combustion engine-only versions of the car at the 2016 Paris motor show in September. There is standard all-wheel drive, system power from the biturbo 2.9-litre V6 and motor is 340kW (462hp) with maximum torque of 700Nm. CO2 is claimed to be just 56g/km. 

Porsche says the maximum range on the car's battery pack is up to 50km. Top speed running on batteries alone is 140km/h, and otherwise 278km/h. While the outgoing S E-Hybrid had an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, the 4-E comes with an eight-speed PDK (dual clutch).

The first deliveries of the Panamera 4-E Hybrid will commence in April 2017. For anyone who believes the standard wheelbase (2,950mm) car, at an impressive 5,049mm long doesn't cut a lengthy enough dash, Porsche will happily provide a long-wheelbase (3,100mm) car. 

The LWB Executive measures 5,200mm from bumper sensors to bumper sensors, which is only 100mm shy of a certain fabulously affronting giant gee-gaw which I reviewed earlier in the year. Parked beside a Cayenne, Infiniti's 5.3m QX80 made the Porsche look titchy. I think that more or less guarantees that Cayenne 3 will be a somewhat bigger beast than the present model. And will there be a PHEV version? There certainly will: the Cayenne 4-E Hybrid is expected in 2018.

A sub-Macan or sub-718 model?

Even though rumours of a sub-Macan SUV surface from time to time, Porsche continues to quash them. Speaking at the LA auto show earlier in November, the board member for Sales, Detlev von Platen, told the media, "There is absolutely no intention to go below what we have today." That has also put paid to the noises about a possible sub-718 sports car. Nonetheless, once overall deliveries creep above 300,000 units in a year, expect the already hyper-profitable Porsche to start admitting it is looking at how it can plan towards a future making half a million vehicles a year.

It is telling that this engineering-led firm, which never speaks of hydrogen fuel cell models, is putting a lot of money into a gamble on what is claimed to be only one electric model. Where it will build other BEVs and which vehicles will also become available with big battery packs is presently being speculated about by the company's suppliers and rivals. Leipzig seems the most likely place for the production of a Macan 2 BEV, though there might be a chance that China and the USA are also being looked at as places where factories could be built.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

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