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Give it some stick: Porsche 911 now offered with manual gearbox

Porsche 911 manual 2020

When the new ‘992’ version of the 911 was revealed, Porsche promised a manual gearbox to complement the PDK paddle-shift automatic.

Now, although referring to US-market cars at present, details of the new stick-shift are starting to trickle out.

Manual 911 could be more exclusive

Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

A seven-speed manual transmission will be a no-cost option in the 992. However, in the US at least, it will only be available on Carrera S, 4S and related soft-top variants. Standard Carreras won’t be available with a stick. Furthermore, choosing the manual box will necessitate having the optional Sport Chrono Package.

That means no manual 911 will come without dynamic engine mounts, PSM sport mode or a wheel-mounted drive mode selector. 

Lighter, but slower to accelerate

2019 Porsche 911 Cabriolet

As you might expect, the seven-speed manual ‘box does come with a weight benefit. Manual cars will be down around 40kg compared with PDK-equipped models. A standard Carrera S with a manual will be the lightest 911 on sale, at 1,945kg.

Also unsurprising are the slightly stunted acceleration figures in comparison with PDK-equipped cars. While 60mph comes in under 3.5 seconds in a Carrera S PDK, it’ll be closer to four seconds in the manual.

Room for a ‘back to basics’ 911

Porsche 911 T

Given you need to have a ‘specced-up’ 911 in order to have a stick and clutch pedal, there is room for a ‘back to basics’ variant. We expect something along the lines of the 991 Carrera T (pictured above) will fill that gap. Until the GT3 arrives, that is.

Expect UK specifications to be revealed imminently, with manual cars expected in dealers by next summer.

Rust or riches: Porsche restoration that preserves decades of decay

Porsche 356 restoration

The world of classic car restoration is a curious one. With what else could you find yourself being put off by the fact that a product is in absolutely immaculate condition? 

Classics that wear their years can command more money than cars that look fresh out of the dealer. That’s because wear can add character and fortify a car’s story. This is called ‘Patina’ – a real, tangible look and feel, of the age of a car. Now, classic car restorer Thornley Kelham is offering a patina-friendly restoration. It preserves the imperfections, rather than scrubs them out, and has demonstrated it on this Porsche.

Patina or perfection?

Porsche 356 restoration

The car in question is a late-model 356A that was in need of work. The company elected to restore the car while retaining as much of the patina as it can. Yes, down to clear-coating the worn bodywork to preserve its wear. Even the worn cabin, with ripped seats, is carefully preserved. Structurally and mechanically, the car is given the once-over. Patina is enjoyable in appearance, but we don’t think anyone likes seeing blue smoke on start-up…

Buyers would be presented with a structurally sound, perfectly reliable rolling piece of automotive artwork, proudly wearing the story of its 60 years,” the company says.

Porsche 356 restoration

Of course, this is quite an unconventional practice. Available too is a restoration to pretty much as-new standard, down to the original specification. That’s not to say a compromise can’t be found for individual cases.

“Often in the world of rare and significant classic cars, the stories that they tell are just as meaningful as their condition,” said Simon Thornley, co-founder of Thornley Kelham 

“We have deliberated long and hard over whether or not to maintain this 356’s marks of age, or to return it to as-new condition, but ultimately we felt it was a decision best made by the buyer. Our team has completed a number of 356 nut-and-bolt restorations, and we’ve carefully analysed the structure, body, mechanicals and interior of this example to know that no matter which route the buyer chooses, we can produce a rare Porsche 356A that looks good, drives well and works every time.”

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2019 Porsche Cayman GT4 review: old-school driving excitement

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

A free-breathing flat-six mounted in the middle. A manual gearbox. Rear-wheel drive. And a lightweight, shrink-wrapped body tailor-made for Welsh B-roads. The old Cayman GT4 was pretty close to perfect, an instant icon. Which gave Andreas Preuninger, head of Porsche’s go-faster GT division, an unenviable task. For a car where less is more, how do you offer, well, more?

The new GT4 still has six cylinders, whereas lesser 718 Caymans make do with four. It’s still naturally aspirated, with no turbos to mute the soundtrack or soften right-pedal response. It still has a manual ’box, although a paddle-shift PDK arrives next year. And it remains lighter (1,420kg) and usefully smaller than the ever-expanding 911. The differences here are in the details, and they coalesce into something that surpasses even the 2015 original.

Read more Motoring Research reviews FIRST on City AM

Contrary to internet wisdom, this isn’t a downsized GT3 engine. The 4.0-litre six is a modified 911 Carrera motor, serving up 420hp at 7,600rpm. Zero to 62mph in 4.4 seconds matches the old GT4, while top speed increases from 184 to 188mph. A price of £75,348 is around £22,000 more than a 718 Cayman S, but don’t expect to flip it for a profit. Used examples of its predecessor were advertised at £100,000 or more soon after launch, but this is a series production Porsche, not a limited edition.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

This latest GT4 also has a soft-top sister in the Boxster Spyder. The open version is mechanically identical and also shares the same chassis, with variable PASM damping and 30mm lower suspension. The Cayman’s upswept diffuser and fixed spoiler (the Boxster has a pop-up wing) muster up to 50 percent more downforce with no extra drag. Porsche says both cars are ‘specifically designed for use on the racetrack’.

I won’t be venturing on-track today, but the rollercoaster roads around Wantage – close to the Cotswolds – are the next best thing. I arrive at Porsche HQ in Reading, collect a 911-shaped key and collapse clumsily into a carbon bucket seat (a £3,788 option). The infotainment looks dated and the fabric door pulls are a token gesture, yet the GT4 still feels special – particularly with a half-rollcage (part of the £2,778 Clubsport Pack) inches behind my head.

Around town, the engine sounds fretful and uncouth: a pit bull straining at the leash. Light the fuse, though, and it breaks free with a belligerent bellow, chasing the 8,000rpm redline with frenzied intensity. If super unleaded is your drug of choice, this is Class A contraband. The six-speed stick-shift is quick and accurate, blipping the throttle automatically when you change down, while the PCCB carbon-ceramic brakes (another option, at £5,597) are totally fade-free.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4

Still, it’s the steering I savour most. Devoid of any buttons, the Alcantara-wrapped wheel has just one purpose: being a constant and joyful font of feedback. The Cayman turns in with unflappable resolve and virtually no sense of inertia. It feels taut but complaint, like a loosely clenched fist, while the lightly-treaded Michelin Cup 2 tyres form a molecular bond with the road. That said, it might be rather less reassuring on a rainy day.

Andreas Preuninger recognised the essential rightness of the GT4 and hasn’t reinvented the recipe. It’s a couple of years since I drove the first-gen car and, from memory, the new one doesn’t feel hugely different. The improvements here are incremental. Thankfully, that means this remains one of the most lucid, tenacious, exuberant and downright exciting cars on sale. Short of spending six figures on a supercar, I’m not sure anything betters it.

Price: £75,348

0-62mph: 4.4sec

Top speed: 188mph

CO2 G/KM: 249

MPG combined: 25.7

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4: in pictures

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The classic Porsche 911 saved after a decade of decay

Classic Porsche saved

Cars don’t like sitting still for too long. It can only be good news, then, when someone rescues a Porsche 911 that has gathered dust for a decade.

Taking a punt on a dream

This 911T was its owner’s dream car. The gentleman, Graham, first procured the Porsche back in the early 2000s, with money his parents gave him for a house. That money, roughly £13,000, was sent to the Netherlands to buy a 1967 911T. Having had the briefest of drives, Graham took a leap of faith. The gamble paid off. The purple 911 became Graham’s daily-driver for nearly four years.

Graham used the 911 for everything, from day-to-day commuting to trips down to Goodwood, plus classic car meets at the Ace Cafe. He’d dreamed of owning a 911 since he was 10 years old. Now he was living the dream.

The dream comes to an end

Classic Porsche saved

It had to end, though, when he jetted off to the United Arab Emirates for work. What was expected to last no longer than two years, turned into a 10-year career move. As such, the poor purple 911 sat gathering dust and falling into disrepair. Although checked on by friends and family, the T was past its best.

On Graham’s return, the car was almost unrecognisable. Its tyres were deflated, its purple paint dulled by dust. This classic 911 was no longer part of the 70 percent of all Porsche 911s that remain on the road. The job was on, then…

Wakey wakey

Classic Porsche saved

The specialist that had looked after the car previously, Tower Porsche, took on the job. Surprisingly, it needed little more than a surface refresh and a thorough service to get it running again.

Fixed timing and a cleaned fuel system got the flat-six motor closer to its original 125hp power figure. The car’s first outing, appropriately, was a jaunt down to Goodwood for the 2019 Festival of Speed.

Who do you think you are?

Classic Porsche saved

The next adventure for the revived 911T? Meeting its modern equivalent with Porsche in the Yorkshire Dales.

Two back-to-basics 911s from five decades apart took to some of the UK’s best roads. The family resemblance is still clear to see.

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The Porsche Taycan won’t be profitable until 2023

Porsche Taycan won't be profitable until 2023

The Taycan is arguably one of the most important model launches in Porsche’s history. It’s also one of the marque’s most expensive investments. It has pumped more than £5.3billion into the project, including the construction of the factory.

It might surprise you to discover, then, that Porsche doesn’t expect the Taycan to turn a profit until 2023.

This is nothing Porsche wasn’t prepared for – the primary expense is battery production. The marque anticipates that over the coming years, battery costs will take a significant tumble. Speaking with Bloomberg, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said he expected the Taycan to make a “good margin” eventually. 

This is part of the reason why Porsche has launched with the expensive Taycan Turbo and Turbo S models. The truth is they’re not that much more expensive to build than lower-end models. 

Porsche Taycan won't be profitable until 2023

This is also why Tesla launches it’s highest performing and most expensive variants first. That’s why we’re still waiting for the most affordable Model 3, three years after the standard car’s reveal.

Consider also the high volume of fully-electric hypercars that have been revealed of late. A seven-figure list price can absorb the cost of batteries and motors, however high-performance they may be. In turn, you introduce electric power to the zeitgeist while advancing battery and e motor development. It’s a win-win. Going a bit further down the affordability tree for the Taycan is a bit of a brave pill for Porsche.

The Taycan is the head of an electric revolution, though. A loss-leader it may be, but you don’t build an entirely new factory for the sake of producing one expensive car.

Porsche Taycan won't be profitable until 2023

Porsche has been very open about wanting the next-generation Macan to have an all-electric variant. Likewise, an all-electric 911 can’t be more than ten years away. Porsche is one in an automotive group, too. Technical partners are never far away, which in the case of this electric endeavour, it has found in Audi.

The coming E-Tron GT super saloon will borrow some hard-won and expensive Taycan knowhow. The Taycan treads new ground for Porsche, and treading new ground tends to be expensive. But many more models and variants to come will follow in those footsteps.

In terms of production numbers, the Taycan isn’t expected to outstrip the 911, of which around 35,000 are built every year. As we and Bloomberg have previously reported, the 911 is the most profitable car in the world in terms of numbers made versus profit margins.

The Porsche 911 is the most profitable car in the world

Porsche 911 most profitable car

The most profitable car of 2019 cars been revealed. No, it’s not some unobtainable hypercar with £10,000 carbon fibre cupholders or a million-unit-selling SUV. It’s the Porsche 911 – a car now famous for the fact that it’s one of Porsche’s lowest-selling models.

The 911 makes up just 11 percent of sales, but around 30 percent of Porsche’s earnings. Porsche makes a 47 percent margin on the model, as it brings in over €2billion (£1.8billion) per year for the marque. The only other car that beats it on profit margins is the Ferrari F8 Tributo, which has a 50 percent profit margin. 

However, the F8 Tributo makes up a mere 17 percent of Ferrari’s new vehicle contribution. That’s likely due to annual volumes. A total of 4,000 sales of the F8 Tributo looks insignificant, compared with the 38,000+ 911s that are built in a year. Sales of the 911 in 2018 alone – yes before the 992 – outstripped everything from Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari and Lamborghini, combined.

That’s some volume, especially when 47 percent of that take is profit. 

Porsche 911 most profitable car

That’s only on Carrera models, too, which are always the first out of the showroom for a new 911. More expensive variants such as the Turbo and GT3 are predicted to come with still-higher margins.

Michael Dean is the automotive equity research analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence, the publisher of these figures. He called the earnings on these high-margin cars “disproportionately high”.

“It’s a very simple calculation: the 911 is very profitable in its own form, and when you add the variations, the margins became immense,” Dean said.

“If you assume they sell 10,000 Turbos anyway, plus GT3 and Turbo S, just the Turbo variants of the 911 alone could actually mean half a billion dollars in terms of profit for Porsche.”

Porsche 911 most profitable car

Porsche spoke of how pleased it is with the strong performance of the 911 in a company sales report.

“The 911 capacity to fascinate is stronger than ever,” said Porsche executive board member Detlev von Platen. 

“We just celebrated the world premiere of the new 911 at the end of the year at the Los Angeles auto show, and yet our sports car icon once again inspired more customers in 2018 than in the previous year.”

Porsche Taycan EV makes gaming debut in Gran Turismo Sport

Porsche Taycan Gran Turismo Sport

The Porsche Taycan has just been revealed at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show – but before anyone drives it, you could get behind the wheel digitally. Porsche’s first electric car is coming to Gran Turismo Sport, as part of an extended partnership. 

The Taycan Turbo S will star in the latest Gran Turismo game, along with the 917 Living Legend design study. The Taycan will appear with a free content update next month (October 2019). 

Porsche Taycan Gran Turismo Sport

The 917 will take a little longer. It’s due to appear in-game within the first half of next year. Porsche is also currently working on a ‘Vision Gran Turismo’ digital concept car. That will appear in the game by the end of next year.

“Motorsport is part of our DNA and racing games offer great opportunities to drive a Porsche yourself on the racetrack,” said Kjell Gruner, vice president of marketing at Porsche. 

Porsche Gran Turismo Sport

“The multi-award-winning Gran Turismo franchise is the perfect partner for offering our fans the opportunity of having a Porsche experience in racing games.”

Porsche and game developer Polyphony have been working closely on recreating the Taycan for Gran Turismo so soon after release. It’s taken nine months, with even the Porsche ‘Electric Sport Sound’ simulated for the game.

Porsche Taycan Gran Turismo Sport

“By integrating the Taycan Turbo S and the 917 Living Legend car in Gran Turismo Sport, and by working on the Porsche Vision Gran Turismo project, we are further strengthening our partnership,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, president of Polyphony Digital.

Cyclist hits 174mph record with help from Porsche

Porsche cyclist speed record

British cyclist Neil Campbell has claimed a new world record, achieving a speed of 174.333mph while in the slipstream of the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid.

The record took place at Elvington airfield in Yorkshire, where, a year earlier, Campbell first got a helping hand from a Cayenne to a record European speed record of 149mph.

Since then, aerodynamicists from Harper Adams University in Shropshire have been developing a unique tail extension for the Cayenne within which Neil could ride.

Not just a free ride

Porsche cyclist speed record

If you’re wondering whether a cycling speed record with a tow from a car is a bit of a cop-out, fear not. For the record to count, Neil had to pass through the timing beams under his own steam during his run down the two-mile runway.

It’s not like the 680hp Cayenne wasn’t breaking a sweat either. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is good for a top speed of 183mph, so had just 9mph to go before running out of puff.

“I am thrilled and relieved – it’s an incredible feeling,” said Mr Campbell.

“The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is incredible, an absolute beast of a car. I can’t believe how powerful it is. The extra hybrid power combined with the new aerodynamic cowl from Harper Adams added up to a winning combination – I just had to pedal like mad to keep up!”

The original attempt

Porsche cyclist speed record

There is, of course, an element of an homage to the original, and perhaps coolest, Porsche-towed bike record attempt in 1977.

Cyclist Jean-Claude Rude wanted to crack 150mph with the assistance of a modified 800hp Porsche 935 racing car.

It was not to be, though, after the bike lost its rear tyre and wheel. Jean-Claude was fine in spite of not achieving his goal. Regardless, the attempt was a fascinating moment in history.

Porsche Taycan is the world’s first car with built-in Apple Music

Porsche Taycan gets build-in Apple Music

The anticipation surrounding the launch of the Porsche Taycan is palpable. What performance will it deliver? How much will it cost? How far will it go? These are all headline questions. As for the more day-to-day stuff, an interesting tidbit to report is that it’ll be the first car to come with Apple Music built-in.

In reality, regardless of the hype and hysteria, this is the kind of thing buyers will actually care about long-term.

Apple Music and Porsche explained

Porsche Taycan gets build-in Apple Music

Think of Apple Music as the tech giant’s response to Spotify. For subscribers, it carries over 50 million songs ad-free, thousands of curated playlists and its own radio station called Beats 1.

In addition, Taycan buyers will also get access to playlists made by Porsche. New and existing Porsche owners can also get up to six months free use of Apple Music. All Taycans will also come with in-car internet for three years, including an external antenna and roaming package.

You can cultivate a quality music listening environment with your Taycan, too. Optional is a Burmeister surround sound system, which can be combined with Apple’s Digital Masters service to listen to music in high quality.

2019 Porsche Taycan electric orders

“Porsche and Apple Music fit perfectly,” said Detlev von Platen, member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche.

“We share common values, and the same relentless attitude to user experience, to quality engineering, to design, to innovation. Together, we bring innovative digital entertainment technologies in our high-performance sports cars, starting with our fully electric Taycan.”

Porsche launches world’s most powerful SUV – and it’s a hybrid

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

There’s a new king of the super SUVs. The Lamborghini Urus has been toppled, and its attacker comes from within the Volkswagen Group. Meet the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid – an SUV with 680hp.

The flagship Cayenne also serves up a monstrous 663lb ft of torque: good for 0-62mph in 3.6 seconds and a (limited) top speed of 183mph.

Supercar speed in an SUV

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

Standard equipment on the Turbo S E-Hybrid includes carbon-ceramic brakes, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus and, of course, the Sport Chrono package.

Given this rip-snorting SUV is one of the fastest cars Porsche makes, a set of supercar stoppers seems apt. What isn’t standard, however, is rear-axle steering.

Electrifying performancePorsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

Less headline-grabbing, but no less interesting, is the fact that the Turbo S E-Hybrid will drive 25 miles at speeds of up to 84mph without using a single drop of petrol. That’s thanks to the plug-in hybrid system, which uses a 14.1kWh battery. This can be fully charged in just under two-and-a-half hours via a 7.2kW AC charger. 

Indeed, while the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine provides 548hp, the electric motor serves up an extra 135hp for that 680hp total output. A couple of horses are lost in the combination process, apparently.

Three hybrid Cayennes on offer

Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid

The Cayenne also comes with a price tag befitting a supercar. For the honour of Turbo S E-Hybrid ownership, you’ll part with £123,349, and that’s before options. For comparison, the regular Cayenne Turbo is about £23,000 cheaper.

The Turbo S E-Hybrid is just one of three hybrid Cayennes revealed today, with the new Coupe variant also packing the same punch.

The standard Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe brings up the rear, with a relatively modest 455hp from its 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 in combination with an electric motor.

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