Porsche: Next-Gen 911 GT3 Could Be PDK-Only…?

February 14, 2012

I’ve just read an article originating from Insideline that tells of the threat (yes, it’s ridiculous enough news to warrant it as such) according to Porsche 911 project chief, August Achleitner, that the next-gen Porsche 911 GT3 – remember now, the hardcore purists choice of 911 – could very well come with a PDK-only transmission…

According to Achleitner, both manual and PDK transmissions are being ‘evaluated’ for consideration in the next GT3 (and here’s where I roll my eyes) but apparently only one transmission will be chosen in the end for the hardcore GT3 and he reckons the boring-as-mud, poseur PDK will get the nod. Achleitner continues to blither on with false numbers and ridiculous statements, one of which being that ‘only’ 30% of 911 sales are manual stick-shift so therefore PDK is a no-brainer… huh..? That’s just poor business sense if you ask me.

The new 991-gen 911 - oh, how I squint further at thee...

The embarrassment continues when Achleitner says “When we launched the 911 Turbo S, we did not offer a manual, but we have not had a single complaint”. Sure you didn’t Achleitner… But then again, of course he’d say that as Porsche charges (and makes) a load of extra cash on each 911 that is ordered with the PDK. By that token then, I’d think I’d be safe in reminding Porsche that 100% of previous-gen 997 GT3 sales were manual transmission…? Despite what Porsche may think, not every 911 owner spends their time bragging about 0-60 times and impressing their friends with launch-control.

Seeing as how the next-gen GT2 and GT3 will also be fitted with the new (and highly-controversial) electromechanical power steering set-up that has already come under heavy criticism for its lack of ‘feel’ and reportedly synthetic feedback qualities, it seems an unnecessarily brash move against Porsche driving-purists (and proper drivers, in general) to come out swinging with this silly threat of ‘you can have this, or nothing at all’ type of statement.

Could there not be anything more 'wrong' in the sportscar realm than a Porsche 911 without a manual option...?

I call BS on the whole story – this is just Porsche, once again, ruffling-up the feathers of the automotive world and heaving mass attention in their direction for the sake of headlines and discussion…. Does Porsche really, I mean really, think that GT3 buyers will be happy as lambs with electromechanical power steering and PDK-only…? C’mon…

Porsche has been developing (and offering) a new 7-speed manual transmission for the new 991-based 911 already so I don’t exactly buy into Achleitner’s claims that this ‘populist’ PDK-only option/threat has any weight behind it at all.

The GT3 RS 4.0 - the last proper 911 aimed at driving purists/enthusiasts...?

And my friends actually wonder why the new plethora of sportscars continue to fail in exciting me anymore… So thank you, to all the flappy-paddle posers… you have now successfully contributed to the ruination of, what used to be, one of the greatest driver’s cars ever.

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


BMW ///M-Diesels: Frugal Mass For The Performance Poser

January 16, 2012

It was not too long ago that I lightly bemused with a BMW upper-management employee type at one of our city’s annual Auto Shows over how the used-to-be-motorsport-derived ///M Division had now been (seemingly) handed over to the brand’s Marketing Division, full-stop. He admittedly hinted that ///M has indeed ‘expanded’ its overall outlook and that, yes, the X6M and X5M were designed and marketed towards ‘a certain type of landscape navigator’. But when I (somewhat jokingly) asked how far this open throwing about of M-badges will go (seeing as how it was/has already damaged the ///M brand from a driver’s/petrolhead’s point of view) if the Marketing heads keep having their way with the family silver, it was at that exact moment when he freakishly morphed himself back into Company Robot Mode and started spouting off the familiar company-line commercial BS about ‘joy’ and ‘excitement’ and ‘no limits’ and other such robotic drivel…

After he was done, I half-laughingly said, “So, I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised then to see M-Diesels on the roads one day… eh.. ? Hardy har har…? ?”, as I chuckled, smiled, shook his hand and walked away… He just shrugged his shoulders and smirked.

That shrug and smirk made me feel uneasy back then for a reason… It’s official now folks: BMW ///M is now doing tri-turbo Diesels. Granted, this Diesel nonsense has been widely known/threatened for a few months now, what with ominous paper printouts and ‘mysterious’ BMW ads with chunky X6’s being hauled around in a ‘sportingly economical’ way, whatever that is…

...Because all X6 SUV owners readily pound the racetrack... mm, hmm.

The entire Diesel project has been unimaginitively dubbed ‘BMW Performance Automobiles’ (seriously) and will make its grand unveiling at the Geneva Show in March of this year. On tap to roll out will be the 5-series derived M550d xDrive followed by the much-maligned X6 M50d SUV of which both will feature 4-wheel drive and BMWs new 381hp, 546lb ft tri-turbo diesel engine. Combined fuel consumption for the 5-series variant is a quoted 44.8 mpg, but as we all know, those figures are never real-world figures.

The X6M - the answer to a question that no one asked.

Seeing as how these two new ‘Performance Automobile’ leviathans will weigh in excess of 2000 kg, it simply baffles the brain as to who, exactly, these cars are aimed at… Obviously, the none-too-bright and (as BMWs Marketing Division is well aware of) those that fit nicely within the ‘There’s one born every minute’ frame… and die-hard one-arm-stretched-out-over-the-wheel posers… of which there are many of in this confusing world.

The man helping to put the ///M into Marketing

Or, as M Division boss Dr. Friedrich Nitschke plummets – “We are targeting our efforts at customers looking for more emotionality and more performance, but who don’t want to forgo the everyday usability of their cars.” Riiiiiight…. thanks robot.

Well done BMW ///M – cha-ching..!

-Blake J.
AutoInjected.com


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