Get ready for the biggest change in automobiles since 1999.
I could end that sentence by adding, “if you’re a Porsche fan,” but honestly, this change signifies something that’s happening industrywide.
Only Porsche purists will feel its immediate impact. These are the same people who chastised the Cayenne as blasphemy, pooh-poohed the Panamera for diluting the brand, and fought outright outrage when Porsche moved to liquid-cooled engines back in 1999.
Things change in the auto world, much to the chagrin of people who like them to stay the same. What’s this newest change that’s sure to rile up the crowds?
The Porsche 911 will drop its naturally aspirated 6-cylinder engine in favor a smaller turbocharged six across its entire lineup. This is a big deal because natural aspiration has been used since the 911’s introduction in 1963.
Turbo 911s are not new, but the technology so far has been used only on the most high-performance models.
The point is to do more with less—continue offering superlative performance while easing fuel consumption and therefore emissions. Turbochargers are an effective way of doing this; they boost power by forcing more air into the engine, using a fan turned by the exhaust. More air means more powerful combustion, without wasting too much fuel.
Doing more with less is a common theme in today’s world, and this move by Porsche strongly symbolizes it. Ferrari has made a similar move, and turbochargers can now be found on everything from a Hyundai Sonata to a Ford F-150. We may reach a point where turbocharged engines become standard fare, since they’re so good at balancing power and fuel efficiency.
Regular car buyers won’t mind, because many of them don’t care, or even know, what engines their cars have. Buyers of performance cars appreciate the added torque offered by turbos, but detest the small gap between putting the pedal down and experiencing the rush of acceleration. That turbo lag can never be removed completely, and immediate throttle response is a hallmark of Porsche performance.
I’m not one to stand in the way of progress, but unless Porsche has figured out a way to make a turbo engine feel (and sound) like a naturally aspirated one, it might be used Porsches for me from here on out.
Will your next car have a turbocharged engine?