Porsche 911 997 Turbo and 911 Turbo S Coupé and Cabriolet Brochure 2010
The 911 Turbo concept
Were those moments when you exercised moderation always the crucial ones?
The efficiency of the 911 Turbo model concept.
According to the definition, this day. efficiency is the ratio of work input to work output. If something is highly efficient, it keeps work input low, whilst maximising work output.
A principle that unreservedly applies to any 911 Turbo. But not necessarily to the work that went into developing it.
To understand the evolution of the 911 Turbo, you have to go back to 1974. To France, and the Paris Motor Show. To the first turbocharged 911. The wrong car at the wrong time. At least that’s what some journalists, doubters and waverers thought. Were those moments when you exercised moderation always the crucial ones? The efficiency of the 911 Turbo model concept.
Their reservations were entirely understandable. After all, times were hard and oil was in short supply. Then Porsche launched a car that anticipated the concept of the super sportscar, with its power output of 260 hp, maximum torque of 343 Nm and 5.5-second sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph).
What on earth was going on at Zuffenhausen? Was it a lack of understanding of the needs of the market? A blinkered desire for power? Perhaps even over-confidence and a lack of awareness?
Certainly the desire for power could not be denied. But it had a goal. And the way to that goal followed a unique path. A glance at the data sheet was enough. Alongside the fabled engine output, torque, acceleration and top speed figures were other, no less impressive figures.
A 3-litre displacement and six cylinders in a boxer configuration were all that the first 911 Turbo needed to turn the sportscar world (where the motto was ‘size equals power’) upside down.
In other words, the car on show on the stand in Paris wasn’t just a car bursting with power. Here was an idea, an opportunity.
To get more from less. To optimise the ratio of work input to work output. In short, efficiency demands performance. That was the principle. And it still stands to According to the definition, this day.
The car was made technically possible by an invention from 1905. The Swiss engineer, Dr. Büchi, utilised the energy of the flow of exhaust gases to increase the efficiency of combustion engines.
You don’t need to be an engineer to understand the practical benefits of this. Turbo charging means a tremendous gain in power for comparatively small engine displacements. The advantage of small-displacement engines is particularly felt in the lower and middle load ranges – in other words, during everyday driving on the road. In these conditions, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures are significantly lower than those for larger engines.
Another advantage is the compact engine size which reduces weight. The engine takes up less space and keeps the overall vehicle weight down. In short, agility and dynamic performance are increased and fuel consumption is decreased. Of course, in 1974, the technology was still in its infancy. The idea needed to mature, but the fact remained that it worked. What started out as a scheduled production run of 400 vehicles has become a lifetime’s work.
Over the years, alongside continual increases in power output, the 911 Turbo has seen the introduction of a wide variety of technologies to improve handling and dynamic performance as well as fuel consumption and efficiency.
Examples from 1977 include above all the intercooler, which improved turbocharger efficiency, and the cross-drilled brake discs, which increased braking performance and reduced unsprung masses. In 1990, the 911 Turbo based on the Type 964 was the first to be equipped with a regulated catalytic converter as standard.
The twin-turbo engine introduced in 1995 performed excellently, delivering a significantly more harmonious build-up of power and making the 911 Turbo a much more composed and thereby more fuel-efficient vehicle. All-wheel drive was introduced for the first time, increasing both traction and safety.
A major step towards greater efficiency was achieved in 2000 with the launch of the 911 Turbo based on the Type 996. This saw the use of technologies that are also to be found on the latest 911 Turbo generation. VarioCam Plus reduced fuel consumption drastically, whilst the extending rear wing, through its ability to change position, complemented the already exemplary aerodynamic performance.
In 2006, the launch of the 911 Turbo based on the Type 997 revealed a revolution in turbocharging, with the advent of Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG). More power. More torque. Less fuel. Less CO2. Porsche was the first car manufacturer that was able to use this technology in standard-production petrol engines. And so far is the only one to do so. And today? The principle behind the 911 Turbo is still one of power and efficiency and consequently is just as valid as ever.
Direct fuel injection (DFI) improves power output, torque and engine response whilst also reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. The Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK), or double-clutch gearbox, shortens gearshift times, eliminates any interruption in the flow of power and increases efficiency thanks to the long-ratioed 7th gear. Also doing their bit are the expansion intake manifold and on-demand oil pump.
Let’s get down to the details.