Porsche endured some fury from enthusiasts for putting a four-cylinder motor in the 718 Cayman and Boxster but has promised it will never downsize engines to be smaller than 2.0-liters.
The catch is that it doesn’t make sense from a performance standpoint to downsize the internal combustion engine to that point, so the alternative would be to go the full electric powertrain route, Michael Steiner, member of the executive board for research and development of Porsche, said during an interview at the 2017 L.A. Auto Show.
“We could do more downsizing, even below 2.0-liters, but if you would like to have good performance and very precise and fast reaction to any movement of the gas pedal, you need torque, not only power,” Steiner said, adding that hybridization would be a solution for supplying torque. “At some point, it would make no more sense to downsize the combustion engine and put more and more electric energy into the vehicle. You come to the point where it doesn’t make sense anymore, so we would do a full electric.”
Steiner explains that downsizing more is possible, as the 919 race car has proved, even as small as 1.0-liter, but the application doesn’t make as much sense for road-going production cars.
“From an engineering point of view, we did our experiment on the racetrack with the 919. This engine is downsized to the extreme,” he said. The 919 engine displaced just 2.0-liters but output more than 900 horsepower. This was only made possible because of the electrified powertrain, which is able to supply loads of torque. The system would just be too heavy and complicated for a road car, so a fully electric would make more sense to get purer Porsche performance.
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