Tag Archives: Rear Wheels

Porsche GTS

What does a trip down memory lane have to do with the 911 Carrera GTS? It comes from Stuttgart, not Detroit, and it sure isn’t V8-powered, true. But that big-displacement (for a Porsche) 3.8-litre boxer-six, unfettered by a turbocharger a la 911 Turbo, pounds out a very Detroit-like 408 horsepower which is sent to the massive rear wheels. And since the engine is sitting over that same grippy rubber, hookup is instantaneous. With the optional Sport Chrono Package and Sport mode engaged, the 1,420-kilogram GTS will blister to 100 kilometers an hour in less than 4.5 seconds.

While nobody will mistake the banshee wail of the boxer engine in flight with the basso profundo of a seven-litre V8, the electrical charge it sends to your nerve endings is just as visceral.

The thing about the GTS is not just the fact it is one of the most potent non-turbo production 911s, but that it also satisfies the requirements I have come to appreciate with that aforementioned maturity. Yes, I cursed like a sailor when I had to fill up – 93 octane or better is required – but the 13.3 litres per 100 kilometres I averaged for the week wasn’t horrid for something with the GTS’s performance bona fides. Much of the enjoyment comes from interacting with the six-speed manual tranny. Yes, Porsche’s PDK double-clutch manumatic gearbox is as slick as they come – and will actually hasten the GTS to 100 km/h in less time than with the manual – but there is just something proper about doing it yourself. While the sports car is perfectly compliant when puttering about town, there is some notchiness when sliding the stubby shifter gate to gate. It’s when you get a little more authoritarian with the Porsche that the action becomes fluid as the engine/transmission duo finds its sweet spot. The musicality of the boxer engine sitting behind you rises with the revs; a quick dab of the clutch and a perfectly slotted shift provide the requisite push back in the deeply bolstered, Alcantara-swathed sport bucket seat.

Marry this powertrain with the GTS’s wider track – two millimeters at the front, 32 mm at the rear over a regular 911 – fat rubber and optional Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system and the car will slice corners with the keenness of a carving knife.

Before you fork over the $1,090 for PASM, though, consider the roads on which you normally drive. The GTS is already stiffly sprung; switching to the Sport mode ramps up the stiffness.

 

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Prelude

RATING: Recommended. A totally revamped, reliable sporty compact.

GENERAL COMMENTS: Having undergone a major redesign for 1992 – the fourth since its debut in 1979, the Prelude has always been a bookkeeper’s sports coupe: it’s complete,functional and rational without any hint of aggression in its styling or performance components. The 92 model carries on this tradition but adds a few body styling tweaks that make the car shorter, lower and wider, giving it the air of a sensual and sporty Integra in front and Legend in the rear. Other refinements this year are improved engine balance shafts that reduce vibration and noise, an innovative, electronically controlled four-wheel steering system that improves high-speed response and decreases the turning radius, and a 20 percent increase in fuel economy with the addition of twenty more horses. Two engines are offered: A sixteen-valve SOHC 2.2L and a sixteen-valve DOHC 2.3L that is 100 cc larger (through bigger bores) and produces twenty-five extra horsepower. The Prelude’s four-wheel steering (4WS) system, an option with the Si, allows the rear wheels to turn slightly along with the front. This is meant to improve both highway handling and parking ability in town. This year, the 4WS steering goes completely electronic. Nevertheless, the Prelude handles so well that it’s hard to justify the addition of 4WS. Most driver’s wouldn’t notice a substantial improvement on the highway. Parking is easier, of course, but the Prelude is small and nimble enough to make parking easy anyway. Four-wheel steering is an expensive proposition: it adds about $2000 to the price of the car, increases electronic complexity and produces little benefit.

The Prelude should be considered among the better buys in the sporty car class. The standard warranty is one of the best. Used Preludes command high prices on the used car market.

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Where Does All the Horsepower Go?

When a car manufacturer  advertises that a V-8 engine delivers 250 horsepower, what does this mean? Technically, the term horsepower means the capability for doing so much work in so much time. One horsepower is defined as 33,000 foot-pounds of work per minute. So, the power necessary to lift 33,000 pounds one foot in one minute is equivalent to one horsepower. Suppose you weigh 200 pounds fully clothed. If you were to climb a stairway 10 feet high in slightly over 3 1/2 seconds, you would be developing about one horsepower.

Advertised horsepower, the figure you find in brochures and tabulations of data, is measured at the maximum power output point on a curve of horsepower vs. engine rpm. Normally, power output increases with engine speed up to a maximum. At higher speeds, the friction and flow losses cause power output to fall off. However, a car that advertises 250 horsepower may deliver only about half of that power to the rear wheels. Where does the rest of the power go? When rated for output, an engine is stripped. Accessories and power train elements subtract from this maximum power until, by the time the power reaches the driving wheels, half of the available engine power has been drained away. Some of the power-robbing elements include:

  • Dual mufflers reduce power output by roughly 7 per cent at high speed – single mufflers  by roughly 14 to 15 per cent.
  • Air cleaner subtracts another 3 per cent at high speed. Muffler and air cleaner losses are proportionately less at low speeds.
  • Heat-riser valve to speed warm up it takes its bit out of the horsepower pool to the tune of 2 to 5 per cent.

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Wheels

Strong and light, the standard 19-inch forged alloy wheels were engineered to extract every ounce of the 911 Turbo’s thrilling performance potential. Their new design features a two-tone finish that further distinguishes the Turbo from other 911 models: The sides of each spoke are painted in a titanium tone, while the entire front surface, including the flange, has a polished finish.

And yet what is a guy to do but drive to the Porsche dealership at the Waverley Winnipeg mega vehicle mall. The front wheel dimensions are 8.5J x 19, and are shod with 235/35 ZR 19 tires. As befits the car’s rear bias, the rear wheels are a wider specification, 11J x 19, with 305/30 ZR 19 performance tires. A range of optional 18- and 19-inch winter wheels (all snow chain-compatible) are available from Porsche test Equipment. Vehicles equipped with the optional Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake  (PCCB) may only be fitted with the larger 19-inch winter wheels.

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