The eighth generation of the
sports car classic Porsche 911 will be launched in Europe at the beginning of
2019. Prior to this, the prototypes’ engines get revved up to complete the
final stages of a global testing programme which put the new sports cars under
a great deal of stress.
Test vehicles are moving
between climate zones with temperature differences of up to 85 degrees Celsius;
sprinting across elevation changes spanning more than four kilometres; enduring
lengthy traffic jams in major cities and setting new records on race tracks.
Despite those gruelling tests, every component of the car must function as
reliably as it did at the outset.
“In addition to its
outstanding performance, it’s the 911’s suitability for daily use that has
always put it in a class of its own,” comments Andreas Pröbstle, Project
Manager for the Complete Vehicle of the 911. “That’s why we test the vehicle
under all conditions, and in every type of weather. The vehicles’ drivetrain
must function as flawlessly as the fluids, systems, operating processes and
displays. It’s the only way we can be certain that the car can be driven in all
regions of the world without any issues,” he adds.
The testing focuses first on
Porsche’s traditional core areas of expertise, such as the chassis and engine,
which have been enhanced even further to increase both performance and everyday
use. Additionally, there are functional checks and stress tests for the
entirely new operating concept in the cockpit, as well as instruments and
displays. The new driver assistance systems and enhanced connectivity must also
be assessed as part of the strenuous testing phase.
In hot regions, such as the
Middle East or Death Valley in the USA, the air conditioning, thermal
management, and combustion behaviour need to pass functional checks in
temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius. Interior components must not expand or
contract and make noises when exposed to extreme heat. In Finland’s 35 degrees
Celsius below freezing point, testing focuses on functions such as cold start,
heating, traction, handling and braking behaviour, as well as the response
speed of the control systems related to driving dynamics. Endurance runs saw
the new 911 test cars on China’s roads in country-typical traffic situations,
and proved the fact that they can run reliably on different quality fuels.
The vehicles reach their
geographically lowest point in Death Valley, which descends to around 90 metres
below sea level; while the thin air on Mount Evans, Colorado, with a height of
4,300 metres, challenges the biturbo charging and the fuel system. By the time
testing is complete, the cars have been driven for around three million
kilometres in total.
A less spectacular component
of testing, albeit no less important, is customer-oriented everyday driving on
public roads through cities and across the countryside to ensure that the
vehicle and all systems are durable for daily use. This phase also sees
significant mileage being covered, while complying with all traffic rules, with
the common goal that the eighth generation of this sports car icon continues
the tradition of being the best 911 of all time.
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