Ever conscious of the changing landscape around them, Porsche has always found new ways to stay innovative and ahead of the curve. But for the entirety of the 911’s life cycle, it remained the ultimate purist sports car, staying naturally-aspirated save for the top-of-the-line Turbo models.
That long story is now over.
Debuting at the 2015 IAA in Frankfurt was the face-lifted 991 911; but now, the entire range will be turbocharged instead of just the ultra-performance models. The 911’s historic evolution has now coincided with the demand for efficiency, and the result is a flat-six that is 20 horsepower more powerful than its predecessor, yet said to be 12% more efficient in its new 3-liter form. Fuel efficiency would likely be somewhat limited at the car’s new top speed of 191, however!
While the character of the newest 911 is now drastically different, the outward presence of the car remains true to style. Changes include a slightly revised front fascia with a cleaner LED running light setup, small vents behind the rear wheels similar to the previous Turbo models, a dual-center exhaust setup on the base Carrera as well as other slightly more aggressive tweaks such as a lowered and widened driving stance. Instead of rounding out any rough edges, Porsche sharpened them to give the 991.2 generation a look of subtle potency that matches the new power plant.
Though Porsche unveiled this breakthrough shift at IAA this year, it wasn’t nearly the biggest surprise the brand had in store, because Porsche was on a mission.
Let’s call it “Mission E.”
The Mission E is, put simply, an electric car concept. This in itself is not ground-breaking, as several brands have dabbled with the idea and few companies have actually succeeded with it. But Porsche is always pushing the boundaries further — just look at the 918 Spyder — and its newest venture takes the newest fascinations and injects pure Porsche DNA to create its latest stunning concept.
On the surface, Mission E has an entirely vision-like appearance; it seems as though it’s a work of fiction for a fantasy movie. But with its swooping, sportback style being led by the distinctive four-point LED headlamps, it is no doubt Porsche design.
And as striking as it is from the outside, that’s just the beginning for this new concept.
The technology underpinning the Mission E is unlike anything else in its class or beyond. While traditional electric vehicles operate at 400 volts, Porsche is the frontrunner with 800-volt technology, allowing the batteries to charge significantly quicker, as much as 80% of a full charge in just 15 minutes. Fully charged, it is capable of more than 300 miles of range.
While practicality is high on the list of priorities for the Mission E, it wouldn’t be a Porsche without the benchmark performance. And in that category, it hits hard. 600-plus horsepower with an all-wheel drive platform catapults the Mission E to 60 miles an hour in 3.5 seconds and conquered the Nurburgring, the most demanding track in the world, in less than eight minutes.
The Mission E is taking in all the demands of the automotive industry, and even if it only remains in concept form, Porsche will assuredly deliver its bold characteristics to the rest of its lineup to keep them at the head of the technological race.