Home / Drives / Porsche Track Experience – Apex Predators

 

Braking (971 Turbo S)

Porsche Track Experience

A two-tonne luxury barge is not supposed to pick itself up and run that quickly and get up to fast speeds in barely three seconds, yet, there it is! And, the same barge should not be able to stop as quickly and surely. Accelerate hard towards the cones, brake hard, evade, stop—I check my face for rearrangement following the barks of tyre squeal from stamping on the brake pedal at triple-digit speed—get going again and go around to the start.

Yes, the Panamera Turbo S is new with its non-hybrid turbo V8 petrol engine making 630 hp and 820 Nm and it weighs 1,995 kg without me in it. The purpose of the exercise was to illustrate how different—yet similar—the bigger Porsche models feel to drive, yet how astonishingly quickly and surely they can put a stopper on things in when needed. Impressive, to say the very least. More on the Pan Turbo S later from the track experience.

Need to Know – Porsche Panamera Turbo S

Price: Rs 2.31 crore (ex-showroom), Rs 2.89 crore (as tested)
Engine: 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8, petrol DI
Output: 630 hp, 820 Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed, dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Weight: 1,995 kg


Cornering (Macan)

Porsche Track Experience

All right. Going fast is one thing, but why do we need to slow down to take a corner like a three-wheeled contraption. These are Porsches. Even the big plus-size models like their share of action and get it they would. Maintaining speed as much as possible is key to a fast lap and sometimes going fast means looking slow. Smooth can be quick too. And we’d have a first-hand experience.

Our car for this session was the updated Macan. The reihen-vier, or “R4” in-line four model only in India, is now packing a higher 265 hp and 400 Nm—up 13 hp and 30 Nm from its predecessor. It still weighs a portly 1,845 kg so getting up to three figures, braking, and tossing it towards the apex of Turn 16, the tight left-hander—marked with a cone—at highway speed-equivalent seemed rather amusing at first as it poses a different sort of challenge. It proved to be daunting, however, especially as I misjudged the turn-in point for the brake marker and ran very, very wide. The car did not break. And neither did I. Attempt number two was less number two and far better. I walked away happier than before. The Macan is a sprightly thing. Even with a four-cylinder Audi engine.

Need to Know – Porsche Macan

Price: Rs 83.21 lakh (ex-showroom)
Engine: 2.0-litre, in-line four, turbo-petrol DI
Output: 265 hp, 400 Nm
Transmission: Seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic, all-wheel drive
Weight: 1,845 kg


Track (All)

Porsche Track Experience

Right. The big one. The actual Porsche Track Experience. We’d drive seven cars back to back, for two laps each. Brilliant. That’s 5.12 x 14 kilometres, not to mention six driver swaps. I’d start with the Taycan.

It’s quick. Doubtless. Anyone can see, and feel, that. The swift whisking off the line in silence is unnerving at first. And I’d driven it before, too. I can imagine how those who drove it for the first time felt then. It’s electric quick. Which means instant torque off the line—345 Nm at one rpm—and a sudden acceleration which tapers and flattens just as suddenly. It’s sharp, darts in and has excellent steering feel. Yes, it’s a proper Porsche based on the tangible and tactile elements. And, yes, it could be cleaner based on the type of electricity generation, but I’m not convinced on soul. Essence, yes. It’s exciting to look at, it feels like a resident of future Stuttgart and it even has the modes, lines, buttons, numbers so on and so forth. But it’s not the same As a woefully amateur drummer, it’s not wired plates and improvised sounds I crave from an electronic drum kit. Yes, the sound is just as much and the results are there to match but the soul, the depth, is missing. Like I read on the internet: a microwave oven will cook the contents of a burger better than an old-school barbecue grille, but how many really want a microwaved burger?

Need to Know – Porsche Taycan

Price: Rs 1.50 crore (ex-showroom), Rs 1.78 crore (as tested)
Engine: Electric motor, 79.2-kWh battery pack
Output: 326-408 hp, 345 Nm
Transmission: Two-speed, automatic, rear-wheel drive
Weight: 2,050 kg

More on page 3 >

 

About the author: Jim Gorde

 

Deputy Editor at Car India and Bike India.
Believes that learning never stops, and that diesel plug-in hybrids are the only feasible future.
t: @CarIndia/@BikeIndia
IG: @carindia_mag/@bikeindia

 

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