April 29, 2014
2015 Porsche Macan, Porsche Twin-Turbo V6 in the 2014 Porsche Panamera 4S. Click image to enlarge
Review and photos by Justin Pritchard
The latest Porsche powerplant is a V8 – well, in the sense that V8 engines are being replaced by boosted V6 engines left, right and centre. In the same way that high-end automakers have largely done away with 10 and 12 cylinder engines in favour of twin-turbo V8 mills, the industry is now shifting towards boosted V6 engines in favour of bigger, thirstier V8’s, too.
On our shores, Ford’s been onto this downsizing stuff for years with their EcoBoost lineup. Cadillac has just launched a twin-turbo V6 as a V8 alternative for select models. The Kia Optima, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Sonata don’t even offer a V6 anymore, as they use a turbocharged four-cylinder instead. More examples exist.
Readers who dabble in stock markets are advised to purchase shares in companies that manufacture turbochargers, as this trend is going to stick around.
Case in point? A new breed of twin-turbo V6 is coming soon to a Porsche engine bay near you. Our Lesley Wimbush tried two out in the new Macan crossover, which will offer a 340 horsepower 3.0L mill of this unit, running 14.5 PSI of boost. A bigger 3.6 litre V6, also with twin turbos, will develop 400 hp in the Macan Turbo. Don’t be too surprised to see one or both of these new boosted sixes land between the front wheels of the Porsche Cayenne, either. And, as it goes with factory forced-induction engines, either could be boosted up and down to suit a variety of efficiency and performance targets for other models that may be in the pipeline, too.
Like the newly-facelifted-for-2014 Panamera 4S. Your writer tried the new three-point-oh in this application, where it’s calibrated for 420 horses and boots the naturally-aspirated 4.8 litre V8 out of the engine room for model year 2014—offering more power and better mileage.
Not that there was anything wrong with the 4.8L V8 under Panamera’s hood last year. In fact, a hopped-up, naturally-aspirated version of this unit still lives on in the carry-over Panamera GTS, and twin-turbocharged versions of it are available in the almighty face-peeling rocket-yachts Porsche calls the Panamera Turbo and Turbo S.
The 400 hp V8 bolted between the front wheels of the initial Panamera models was a flexible base engine. On one hand, it was happy to dawdle through traffic at 1,000 rpm in near silence, the seven-speed PDK gearbox responding to light throttle inputs and capitalizing on the low-end torque by upshifting into seventh gear by 70 km/h, imperceptibly.
2014 Porsche Panamera 4S. Click image to enlarge
Comfy and docile was only half of the equation. Dial in some Ram Jam on the satellite radio, engage Sport Plus mode and start firing off some full-throttle, millisecond gear shifts with the paddles, and the V8 charged ahead with a peaky surge of torque, eagerly revving to 7,000 rpm and making many drivers question what Porsche were feeding the Panamera’s horses, if there were really only 400 of them.
Sound effects, especially with the optional sports exhaust and even moreso in the Panamera GTS, see this four-point-eight make a full-rip noise that rivals some of Detroit’s finest for saturating, throbbing exhaust that sound like your favourite automatic weapon.
The new boosted six changes some of these attributes, and mostly for the better. When fired up, the engine announces its ignition with a shrill bark and then quiets down into a distinctive, quivering hum. Full-rip sound effects change from a lusty, pulsating, testosterone-pumping roar to a smooth, mellow, exotic howl. The sound isn’t as aggressive or jaw-dropping – it’s more refined and advanced sounding – but it’s a pleasing noise, even if for different reasons.