New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Porsche confirms new 7-Eleven

2011-07-20 14:00

SEVEN-ELEVEN: Porsche engineers discuss the intricacy of the 911’s seven-speed manual transmission, after sampling (another) Cape mountain pass. Picture gallery.

The world’s most iconic performance car, the Porsche 911, will debut a radical new seven-speed manual transmission when it’s officially revealed at the Frankfurt auto show in September.

Thanks to a teaser video, filmed entirely in on location in the Western Cape (did you spot them?), a host of previously rumoured details concerning the next-generation 911 can now be confirmed.

Porsche’s latest rendition of the most successful sports car of all time carries the internal design code 991.


The first 911 to be launched under VW ownership won’t radically alter shape (which 911 ever has?) yet some very clever engineering has been integrated.

Despite being slightly larger overall, the new 911 will be lighter courtesy of a new aluminium/composite body that should trim 45kg in stock Carrera form, rendering a 1370kg kerb weight.

In terms of detailing, Michael Mauer’s styling team has altered the head and tail lights slightly and embellished the 991’s illumination with new LED graphics.

Airflow management improves with a tweak to the rear spoiler.

The new car’s rear axle moves 76mm backwards (elongating the wheelbase by 110mm); a change sure to benefit both cabin space and high-speed stability.

Usability improves as the 911's nose area luggage capacity increases from 135 to 140 litres and cabin ergonomics gain a cleaner feel with the presence of a push-button parking brake to replace the classic girdle-actuated system. Porsche’s stylish Panamera-sourced centre console (finally) brings the 911's ergonomics to a standard comparable with contemporary performance cars.


The water-cooled flat-six engine line-up is carried over. The familiar 3.6 has, however, been downsized to 3.4 litres, and the "S" configuration 3.8 engine retains its full capacity from the current 911.

Optimisation with the aim of lowering emissions (courtesy of advanced direct injection) will result in more efficient combustion which should benefit performance too.

Porsche’s classic 3.6 flat-six (though shrunken to 3.4-litres) gains 3kW to 257kW), supported by 400Nm.

The 3.8 engine powering the Carrera S has been reworked to produce a noteworthy improvement of 11kW over the current model, peaking at 294kW. Torque swells to 440Nm from the current car’s 420Nm.

Porsche’s best-kept engineering secret in many a year can now be confirmed to debut with the 991: one of the most elaborate dog-leg H-gate transmission systems yet offered in a road car, featuring seven gears, will debut in the 991. The seven-speed manual transmission’s existence was confirmed in the teaser video where the off-set seventh gear can be seen engraved on the chromed shifter ball.

SENSIBLE SUPERCAR: South Africa’s dirt roads are the hot weather durability testing ground of choice for Porsche engineers. The new 911 feels right at home in the Karoo…

Porsche's more popular (for those drivers who can’t be bothered to do their own rev-matching when downshifting) dual-pedal seven-speed PDK option is carried over from the current range.

Stop/start technology and brake energy recuperation features are integrated in the suite of mechanical features to ensure the new 911 returns stellar fuel consumption figures and has as low an emission signature as possible.

Shoring up the 911’s fabled agility will be a redesigned multi-link rear suspension, an electronically managed locking rear differential and (controversially) a switch to electro-mechanical steering. That last engineering change (adding electronic assistance to the helm) will be the most (potentially) upsetting to 911 purists...

When the Carrera 4S arrives by October 2012 expect it to sport the latest in torque-vectoring technology (enabled by interplay between the all-wheel drive system and individual brake rotor pulse technology) to sharpen up the driving experience even more.

The best part of it all? Well, if you're a potential South African customer at least you know the 911 is tough enough to blast along the best Karoo mountain passes (and dirt roads) in 39-degree heat without any issues whatsoever.

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