Porsche is looking for more engineers to boost its car development and keep up with investments in new models. Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche’s R&D chief, told Automotive News Europe that the company’s rapid growth prompted the carmaker to hire 300 engineers in 2011. But Porsche will hire 300 more engineers this year, on top of the 3,500 employees working at the company’s Weissach development center.
The carmaker is spending big time for development of new models, allocating more than 10% of its revenue for R&D, Hatz said. Porsche will be launching its Boxster, 911 convertible and Panamera GTS this year, and the Cayman, the 918 Spyder and the Cajun compact SUV in 2013.
Porsche is currently under a joint development agreement with Volkswagen Group, ahead of its planned merger. The companies have agreed to jointly build the Porsche Cayenne, VW Touareg and Audi Q7 on the same platform. Hatz said the technologies used in the joint agreement will provide good opportunities for a single development approach.
Under the deal, Porsche will be responsible for developing VW's rear-wheel MSB (modular standard toolkit), while Audi will take charge of the company's front-wheel-drive MLB (modular longitudinal toolkit).
VW, meanwhile, will develop the MQB (modular transverse toolkit). Porsche expects to post global sales of more than 115,000 units in 2011, and 200,000 units in 2018.
Porsche has long been known to have innovative features in its models. Take its new 911 Carrera for example. It comes with the manual seven-speed transmission equipped as standard, the first passenger car to do so. Mainly based on the 7-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe module, or PDK, the virtual overdrive qualities of the seventh gears allow for further fuel economy.
In addition, since gears one to six have a close ratio, it means that driver is able to access exceptional acceleration capability. Further, as the brand is known for its Porsche Intelligent Performance, the new 911 Carrera is expected to bring new benchmarks for this feature.
Indeed, with the use on its body of lightweight aluminum-steel coupled with a number of new functions and components, the 911 Carrera has both excellent driving dynamics and efficiency. This is not all as the brand fitted this new model with the Auto Start/Stop function, a first for a sports car.
The system is paired not only with the manual transmission but the PDK as well. Under this system, the 911 Carrera can save fuel according to the New European Driving Cycle, by as much as 0.6 liters per 1/100 km.
By having the electrical system recuperation inside with the joint thermal management system of the transmission and the engine, it can reduce fuel use by an additional 0.35 liters per 1/100 km. Helping with the performance is the new cooling design, which removes the need for the underbody to have ventilation openings and therefore benefit aerodynamics.
For those who decide to opt for the PDK transmission, they will get to experience another first which is the sailing function. What this does is that when the driver stops pressing the accelerator, the engine is automatically disconnected to the transmission and the vehicle continues to move with the engine idling. This is, of course, also dependent on what the present driving condition is.
Still, when running at high speeds, it helps enhance fuel economy. Using this function, it is possible on a daily drive to save fuel by as much as a liter for every 100 kilometers.
The style of the 911 Carrera is new as well as this can be seen no matter where one looks. Starting at the front section, it has been made wider in order to accommodate the new headlights as well as the side air intakes which are now larger. Going to the sides, making the windscreen more convex and putting in the larger alloy wheels that come with a new style give it a quality comparable to a coupe.
At the back, the variably extending spoiler is also wider putting focus on the fact that this new model has a higher power output. Rounding off the design in the rear section are the rear lights with its new design and its use of LED technology. Combined with a number of features whose aerodynamics has been optimized, good cd value is maintained while lift is reduced significantly.