A busy time for Porsche

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New Macan and electric Taycan… plus a sneak preview of the next 911

In a busy month for Porsche, the firm has released images of the second-generation Macan. This is a lightly facelifted version of the original but with more modern powertrains and minor suspension and steering revisions to go with modest cosmetic enhancements.

The basic Macan comes with a 2-litre four cylinder engine based on that used in the VW Golf GTI and it is likely to play a far larger role in the car’s future now Porsche has purged its ranges of diesel engines for the foreseeable.

The Macan S will drop its old 3.6-litre motor for a more modern 3.0 V6 with far better fuel consumption and around 355bhp, while the Macan Turbo will have a 2.9-litre version of the same engine (the reduction in capacity resulting from a beefed-up crankshaft) with approximately 434bhp.

Inside, the car will benefit from most of the interior changes seen on the Panamera and Cayenne, including a new nav screen and touch-sensitive pressure pads replacing many buttons. Outside the car will be most readily distinguished from its predecessor by its wraparound tail lights. Sales in the UK will start before the end of the year.

Porsche has also released further details of its first all-electric car, the Taycan, first mentioned in our June issue. Those hoping for performance figures to transcend anything yet seen in this arena should manage expectations: Porsche has confirmed the Taycan will hit 62mph from rest in under 3.5sec, which is pretty rapid by most standards but still several tenths adrift of the fastest Tesla. Even so, remember that Porsche is always conservative with its claims. Porsche also says the Taycan will reach 124mph (200kph) from rest in under 12sec – which is approximately the pace of a current 911 GTS. Its range on the NEC cycle is ‘more than 300 miles’ – competitive but not ground-breaking.

Additionally, the clearest images yet of Porsche’s new 911 have surfaced on the internet. They show the car in what even Porsche insiders concede is almost completely undisguised form and reveal that, as ever, its silhouette is almost entirely unchanged.

Code-named 992, the car sits on an evolved version of the extant 991’s hybrid steel and aluminium platform, but is believed to include increased aluminium content to offset weight gained in other areas. Most notable among these will be a hybrid drive system that, while not available at the car’s launch in November, will certainly arrive within a year or two. It is understood that much of the engineering challenge behind the car has been finding a way of incorporating the batteries and electric motors without losing significant amounts of interior or luggage space and, indeed, adding significant mass.

At launch, then, expect the car to be unveiled in Carrera and Carrera S form, as per Porsche tradition. These will likely retain the 3-litre, flat-six turbo motors of the current car, but with their outputs raised slightly but significantly from 365bhp and 414bhp. If Porsche then runs true to form, the next car to be unveiled will be the Turbo, followed by a GT3 and other niche models like the T and GTS. When it comes the GT3 is believed to be the first Porsche to wear that badge not to feature a normally aspirated engine, so for the first time all 911s will be turbocharged.

Z4 TO STAR IN PARIS

There is much talk about which cars will headline this year’s Paris Motor Show.

One undoubted star will be the all-new BMW Z4, designed and engineered in conjunction with Toyota (which will spin a new Supra off the same platform). The Z4 will have been formally unveiled at Pebble Beach by the time you read this, but its full technical specification is believed to have been held back for Paris.

Expect the car to be available only as a convertible and powered by a range of 2-litre four- and 3-litre six-cylinder engines. Although a warm M40i version is expected in the same style as the current M240i, there is no news as yet of a ‘proper’ M version.

In the meantime, Mercedes-Benz will show a new AMG version of the A-class. Designed to fill the yawning chasm between the ‘normal’ A-class and the monster A45 AMG, this new A35 AMG will offer a VW Golf R-rivalling 300bhp powerplant.

Those waiting for the new A45 will need to be patient: it’s not scheduled for introduction until some time into 2019.

10 MILLION MUSTANGS

Ford has celebrated the production of its 10-millionth Mustang. It claims the original ‘pony car’ is the best-selling sports car of the last half-century, has been in more films and has more Facebook followers than any other car of any kind in the world.

The landmark car was a Wimbledon white convertible. Its 5-litre V8 might be similar in size to the 4.3 V8 in the early cars, but with 460bhp and six forward gears provides rather different performance to the original, with its 164bhp and three-speed auto transmission.

VW/AUDI ROW LATEST

Suspended Audi boss Rupert Stadler is facing a lengthy term in prison after his appeal for release was turned down by a court in Munich. He was first arrested in June on suspicion of allowing certain Audis to continue to be sold after he became aware of potential issues with their emissions equipment.

BIG PLANS FOR LOTUS

Bloomberg has reported that Lotus parent company Geely is planning a £1.5 billion investment in the company. As long ago as March I said that Lotus might be well served to open a new factory in the Midlands, a suggestion dismissed as “gossip” and “idle speculation” by its former CEO Jean-Marc Gales. But according to Bloomberg, not only is a new factory planned for precisely that part of the world, it is to be joined by a design and innovation centre, possibly located in Coventry. And of course none of this would affect the standing of Hethel as the true home of Lotus, whose staff and facilities are to be further expanded under the plan.

Geely’s only official comment on the report is to say that it is “fully committed to restoring Lotus into being a leading global luxury brand”, which is exciting enough: anyone who’s followed Volvo’s progress under Geely’s stewardship will know the Chinese giant tends to back its words with action.

FERRARI DROPS A HINT

Ferrari has released a teaser sketch with the line “Icona Ferrari” and the date of September 17. It is rumoured that the car is a special edition of the 812 Superfast flagship, possibly a convertible like the 599 SA Aperta of 2010, maybe carrying the Monza name. If so it is likely to be built in very small numbers (there were 80 Apertas) and all should be sold before the car is formally unveiled. The date is significant because it marks the day when new CEO Louis Camilleri presents Ferrari’s five-year plan, just weeks after the death of his predecessor Sergio Marchionne.