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Tech company to help autonomous Porsche cars to see in the dark

Porsche partners with Israeli company to help cars see in the dark

TriEye, an Israeli startup company specialising in infrared sensor technology is collaborating with Porsche to develop its autonomous driving systems.

The plan is to improve the company’s cars’ ability to see, adding to its Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS).

Porsche partners with Israeli company to help cars see in the dark

Radar, lidar and cameras make for an adequate sensory arsenal most of the time. However, the capability is far from perfect in the dark and in poor weather. Infrared systems will be able to help with a car’s awareness of its surroundings when visibility is low.

Porsche wants to use a development of TriEye’s CMOS-based short wave infrared camera to fortify ADAS systems for when the going gets gloomy, dark or rainy.

Porsche partners with Israeli company to help cars see in the dark

“Our collaboration with Porsche has been exceptional from day one and we look forward to growing this potential,” said Avi Bakal, CEO and co-founder of TriEye.

“The fact that Porsche, a leading car manufacturer, has decided to invest in TriEye and evaluate TriEye’s CMOS-based SWIR camera to help further improve Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is a significant vote of confidence in our technology.”

Porsche partners with Israeli company to help cars see in the dark

As for what cars we’ll be seeing these new systems in – it’s hard to say, though it’s fairly easy to determine that Porsche is going after Tesla’s Autopilot capability.

Porsche’s counter attack on Tesla began with the release of the Taycan electric super-saloon, and will continue with its electric-powered Model Y-rivalling Macan replacement.

In terms of seeing this tech appear in the short term, it could appear in ADAS systems on current models, improving emergency braking, assisted cruise control and lane-keep systems.

Auf wiedersehen, Porsche: the last 991 is finally built

Last Porsche 991 has been built

Even though the current ‘992’ Porsche 911 has been with us for more than a year, the previous 991 remained in production, albeit only the very special versions. The final 991 to be made is a Speedster, a limited model that pays homage to Porsche’s 70-year heritage, and is based on the GT3.

This Speedster is the last of 233,540 991s produced since 2011. This represents just under a quarter of all the 911s ever produced. The one-millionth 911 was made during the 991’s tenure, too. Porsche challenged its fans to spec the milestone model.

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“Porsche stands for both tradition and innovation,” said Michael Steiner, chief research and development officer at Porsche.

“This is reflected nowhere more clearly than in the core of the brand – the 911. The 911 replaced the 356 in 1963 and, in the decades that followed, our rear-engine model grew into an unrivalled sports car icon.

“The 991 generation in particular has set new standards in terms of performance, drivability and efficiency. It fills me with pride, as well as a touch of sadness, to have to send it off into retirement. For myself, I can say that the 991 has given me enormous pleasure.”

Last Porsche 991 has been built

The 991had many challenges to overcome in its lifetime. Electric steering, a lack of manual gearboxes, fires, and the arrival of turbocharging, are perhaps some of the greatest obstacles the 911 has faced.

Somehow, they did it. Some variants of the 991 will go down in history with the 911 greats. It also birthed some of the fastest 911s ever made, including a fettled version of the GT2 RS that continues to hold the production car lap record around the Nurburgring.

Last Porsche 991 has been built

The 991 was well-represented in racing as well, with the outgoing RSR winning its class at Le Mans (in the famous ‘Pink Pig’ livery, and filling La Sarthe with a searing flat-six soundtrack on the way).

The 991, with the odds initially stacked against it, will be remembered fondly.

Electric Porsche Taycan falls short in range tests

Porsche Taycan Turbo EPA range

The Porsche Taycan has been one of the most hotly-anticipated cars of 2019, mooted as the electric car to teach Tesla a lesson. Recent testing by America’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), however, indicates Porsche still has something to learn from Mr Musk’s upstart effort.

Porsche’s range estimate of 280 miles for the Taycan Turbo, which is also close to the WLTP tested figure, is well beyond that achieved by the EPA. It has given the Turbo a 201-mile rating.

For context, the Porsche’s 93.6kWh battery pack compares to a 100kWh battery in the Tesla Model S Long Range, which manages 373 miles of range.

As Car & Driver reports, the Porsche’s 69 MPGe rating is poor for a modern electric car. It’s worse even than GM’s 1996 EV1 experimental electric car, which managed 85 MPGe.

Porsche Taycan Turbo EPA range

The Taycan has been impressing reviewers with its sporty dynamics, however. And Porsche is at pains to point out its 800-volt architecture is a revolution for the industry, allowing quicker charging and repeatable performance.

The Nurburgring is the commute of very few, however. As an everyday proposition, there were worries about the Taycan from the outset, and this EPA revelation builds on those.

Porsche has recognised this chink in the Taycan’s armour, and commissioned an independent range review from AMCI Testing. By their reckoning, the Taycan Turbo should be good fo 275 miles over mixed driving, including cities and motorways. In ‘Range Mode’, that jumps to 288 miles.

Some details of AMCI’s testing: ‘The Taycan Turbo was operated in Normal Mode with Regen set to Auto and HVAC to Eco. Driving was precisely coordinated at the speed of traffic up to and including the legal speed limit during city driving, and up to 5mph over the legal limit on highways’.

As many have reported, the Taycan 4S could prove to be the smart buy of the range. It offers the best range and a still-impressive power figure of 522hp, or 563hp in the more powerful version. We await the EPA test of the 4S with interest.

Porsche Cayman T review: cut-price GT4 just adds lightness

Porsche Cayman T

For Porsche fans, the letter ‘T’ has mixed meanings. In 1967, the 911T debuted as Stuttgart’s entry-level sports car, replacing the four-cylinder 912. Six years later, Porsche launched the 911 Carrera 2.7 RS. In T-for-Touring spec, it was the exact opposite: a more luxurious take on the flagship road racer. Then, in 2017, came a new 911T, this time a mid-range model focused on pared-back performance. Confused? You’re right to be.

The 718 Cayman T follows the lead of that recent 911: no extra power, but less weight and a sportier chassis. A budget GT4, if you will. Additional kit includes adjustable suspension, a mechanical limited-slip diff, torque vectoring, the Sport Chrono pack, sport mode for the stability control and a ‘loud’ button for the exhaust.

You also get 20-inch alloys, retro sill stripes that evoke the classic RS, plus the all-important fabric interior door straps. They probably save the weight of a crisp packet, but reek of motorsport cool.

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Tick all those options on a basic 2.0-litre Cayman and Porsche says you’ll pay 10 percent more than the £7,265 premium for the T. Notionally it’s good value, then. On the downside, that elevates it to within £1,691 of the 2.5-litre Cayman S. So which one to buy? Let’s settle this with a race…

Porsche Cayman T

OK, full disclosure: this isn’t Top Gear and I’m not Jeremy Clarkson. So I won’t be racing the Stig up a runway. Nonetheless, I’ve set my alarm unsociably early and planned a long, cross-country loop on favourite Kent and Surrey B-roads. Frankly, if the Cayman T can’t shine here, it doesn’t deserve those stripes. Or straps.

My Cayman T came with the £2,303 paddle-shift auto gearbox, which seems less aligned with its hardcore ethos than the six-speed manual. Then again, the PDK ’box – it stands for Porschedoppelkupplung, if you must know – is telepathically intuitive and whipcrack-quick, so I hardly feel short-changed. It’s good enough for the 911 GT3 RS, after all.

Other extras fitted included cruise control, park assist and dynamic LED headlights, boosting the price from £54,358 to £66,761. Not quite such good value now…

Thankfully, none of the add-ons are really necessary; this Porsche is all about driving. Mid-engined and beautifully balanced, it’s one of the finest handling cars on sale. It corners flat and focused, its angle of attack adjusted by your right foot as well as your hands. The weighty steering, powerful brakes and modest dimensions all imbue instant confidence. Hedge-lined lanes that feel narrow in a new ‘992’ 911 are a perfect fit for the compact Cayman.

The oft-heard complaint about the 718 concerns its flat-four engine, which sounds a bit, well, like a Subaru. Pressing a button to open the exhaust baffles doesn’t change that – it simply adds volume – but it’s less of an issue than some suggest. Nonetheless, while the 300hp T feels brisk, and offers plenty of turbocharged torque, it only really comes alive beyond 4,000rpm. I’d certainly welcome the extra oomph of the 350hp Cayman S.

Porsche Cayman T

I’m not totally sold on the T’s stiffer and 20mm lower suspension either. Combined with rubber-band 25-profile tyres, its ride in the sport setting is to brittle for British tarmac. Doubtless it would be brilliant on-track, or indeed in Germany. But the more supple standard car is better suited to our roads.

And there’s the rub. Like the letter ‘T’ in Porsche folklore, this Cayman can’t decide what it wants to be. It has flashes of brilliance, yet feels compromised for daily driving. Even so, the Cayman is still the £50k sports car I’d choose, despite rivals such as the Alpine A110 and Toyota GR Supra looming large in its mirrors. Just forgo a couple of options and buy the S instead.

Price: £54,358

0-62mph: 4.7 secs

Top speed: 170mph

CO2 G/KM: 180

MPG combined: 32.8

Porsche Cayman T: in pictures

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Practical Porsche: one-off transforms Boxster into shooting brake

Custom Porsche shooting brake

Looking at this customised Porsche, you might wonder whether it’s a 911 – and if so, which generation. Actually, it’s a ‘986’ Boxster – the original Boxster – that is gradually becoming a shooting brake-style estate. The project is the work of Van Thull Development, a specialist in composite bodywork and car customisation.

Despite the 986 being one of the cheaper, less glamorous Porsches, this car has the potential for a very bespoke and premium look. That’s because it borrows a lot from newer, higher-end Porsches.

At the front, it’s all ‘997’ 911 GT3 RS, while the rear side windows also look very 997-esque. Moving round to the rear, previous-generation ‘991’ 911 lights are used, in combination with a custom lower bumper that evokes the 997 GT3 RS.

Custom Porsche shooting brake

The shooting brake bodywork has been custom-made for this Boxster, while the rear window is borrowed from a humble Peugeot 407 SW wagon.

The engine specification is still unknown. Judging by the restorations and tune-ups the Dutch company performs on other Porsches, though, expect this Boxster to be a bit quicker than a typical 986.

This is a far more comprehensive build than Van Thull has attempted before. However, the primary cost here will be man-hours, given tidy 986 Boxsters can be bought for less than five figures in the UK.

Custom Porsche shooting brake

Most shooting brakes are very expensive niche products, from the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo to the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake.

If you don’t have those funds, this might be a more affordable ticket into the niche world of the performance shooting brake. We’ll continue to watch this one closely.

This patchwork Porsche 911 is a one-off prototype

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

When is a mongrel actually a pedigree? When a patchwork quilt of classic Porsche 911 parts is revealed to be an early prototype, a taproot model for future iconic versions, and the former company car of the man in charge.

Far from being a bodge job, this 1974 911 ‘2.7’ is genesis, a one-off, a factory-built hot-rod.

Ordinarily, pre-1975 Porsche 911s came with neither the enormous (and now iconic) ‘Turbo’ ducktail wing, nor a 3.0-litre flat-six engine. But this is no ordinary 1974 911, even beyond its slightly garish Lemon leather interior.

It’s far from being a cut and shut, as Porsche connoisseur and dealer Walter Hoffmann feared in 2008 when he was scouting for projects. He was even prepared to swap in what he believed to be a more authentic 2.7-litre engine once he got the car home.

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

But no. Any other older 911 with this mish-mash of parts from later cars could rightly be dismissed as such. Hoffmann’s instincts said otherwise of this 74 car.

A little more digging revealed it to be a prototype wearing to-be-productionised parts. The 190hp 3.0-litre engine was a precursor to both the naturally-aspirated 200hp variant that would go into production a year later, as well as the legendary 911 Turbo due at the same time.

It even came fitted with a then- state-of-the-art Bosch K-tronic fuel injection system. This was designed to improve efficiency in the face of the oil crisis. Likewise, as above, that wing must have looked out of place in 1974. A year before anyone had seen a Turbo badge on the rump of a 911.

Porsche 911 prototype 1974

A Porsche prototype is quite a cool thing on its own, even if it’s a mule the research and development department accidentally sold. This car, however, had a bit more time at the top of the tree.

See, it was the company car of the first person without Porsche in their name to take charge of the sports car manufacturer. From July 1974 to January 1976, it was in regular use by Dr Ernst Fuhrmann, the first chairman of the executive board of Porsche. Yes, the same Fuhrmann of the famous ‘Fuhrmann’ 356 engines. The man behind the powerplant of Porsche’s breakout racer and sports car.

Once in charge at Porsche in 1976, he would go on to press for the development of the 924 and 928 transaxle models, and as a result was even accused of wanting to ‘bury’ the 911. Are these ideas the product of time Fuhrmann spent escaping in his 911? The pedigree mongrel of a patchwork 911? To by a fly on the headliner. We’ll never know just how significant this car really is.

 

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.

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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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