RUMOUR HAS IT...
Is this the new 911?
Coming up with a replacement for the current 911 is no mean feat. But replace it Porsche must and these are the first renderings of the next generation
The current 991 generation received a batch of 991.2 updates in 2015, including a new family of turbocharged engines. It was originally launched back in 2011.
The upcoming eighth-generation 911 will be built around a new modular platform and feature a wider range of powertrains — expected to include, for the first time, a hybrid setup.
While Porsche is working on a pure-electric production version Mission E for a 2020 debut, other cars in its range — such as the new Panamera and this all-new Porsche 911 — will supplement their engines with electric power to boost both performance and efficiency.
Porsche’s chairman Oliver Blume says the 911 is a likely candidate for hybrid power too.
"For the simple reason that electrification still carries a substantial weight penalty, sports cars will hold on to classic propulsion solutions a little longer than other vehicle types. But even the 911 must eventually adjust, and according to analysts and the media, even plug-in supercars are making headway," he says.
That won’t spell an end to traditional-style 911s, though. The 911’s idiosyncratic character will be preserved even more carefully. "Porsche needs to launch purist racing cars like the 911 — we will go to both strategies, new and old," Blume says.
So, don’t be surprised to see naturally aspirated, manual gearbox models like the current 911R keep a place in the next-generation 911 family.
We have been receiving spy pictures of the next-generation Ford Focus for some time, but were surprised to receive new images of a car featuring a marketing wrap with the slogan #TimeToFocus.
The images show the car is closer to production than we expected and could even be unveiled as early as the Detroit Auto Show in January, which could see it in SA late in 2018.
The new model will be a little larger than the outgoing generation and feature new LED headlights with a far more upmarket design. The grille will also become posher with more use of chrome, while the rear will get a C-pillar and window outline similar to that of the BMW 1 Series.
Land Rover is continuing with work on the next generation of its game-changing Evoque, codenamed L551.
So far prototypes have given little away when it comes to styling, but Autocar magazine is reporting that the new Evoque will get Velar styling up front. We also know that the second generation will get some of the tech from the Velar, so expect the dual-screen infotainment system that is also due to feature in the upgraded Range Rovers.
The Evoque will get much more connectivity to match its urban status, but will retain its legendary off-road ability.
It has been a busy week for acquisitions. One of the big news items is that Jaguar Land Rover’s (JLR) parent company, Tata, has bought a 10% stake in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Faraday.
It is an interesting decision given that JLR is already moving into the EV market with its I-Pace in 2018. It will be interesting to see what the partnership evolves.
Meanwhile, Volvo’s parent Geely has jumped, or rather launched, head first into a future world of the flying car. The Chinese car maker has purchased US company Terrafugia, which has already received a licence from the US Federal Aviation Administration to certify its Transition flying car as a light sport aircraft.
Geely also appears to be working with US military and contract vehicle manufacturer AM General.
AM is one of five companies competing to provide the next generation of US Postal Service delivery vehicles and prototypes.
Our Stateside sources have spotted a Volvo influence on the interior, including the steering wheel, switchgear and touchscreen infotainment system. They also tell us that the Geely/Volvo partnership could provide engines for the model if AM General wins the lucrative contract.
Two giants of their fields are coming together to explore ways of moving quantum computing from theory into the cars people drive every day.
Google and Volkswagen are investigating ways of using the surge in processing speed from quantum computers to help with traffic flows and autonomous driving, the two companies have announced.
While quantum computing is still in its infancy, it employs some of the less intuitive processes of quantum physics to accelerate computer calculations to speeds far faster than conventional technology, which is approaching the limits of Moore’s Law.
Volkswagen’s IT department wants to use the extra processing speed to develop new structures for high-performance battery materials, artificial intelligence and machine learning and traffic flows for self-driving cars.
"Quantum computing technology opens up new dimensions and represents the fast-track for future-oriented topics," Volkswagen Group chief information officer Martin Hofmann says.
"We want to be among the first to use quantum computing for corporate processes as soon as this technology is commercially available. Thanks to our co-operation with Google, we have taken a major step towards this goal."