What’s Porsche Planning With This High-Performance Engine?

With a growing lineup of performance automobiles, you can bet that at any moment, the powertrain engineers at Porsche are working on some new engine to motivate them. But this project has our interest piqued more than usual.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, in a report cited by Motor1.com, Porsche is working on some sort of new high-performance engine. It isn’t saying what it’s for, but the people working on it may give us a clue.

Apparently this mysterious new engine is being developed by the same engineers who worked on Porsche’s LMP1 program, which the automaker shut down recently.

“Like other manufacturers, after the invitation from the FIA, we are participating in discussions about the future of F1 for power units,” Porsche’s R&D chief Michael Steiner told Auto Motor und Sport. “Our team in Weissach is not working on an F1 engine at the moment but on a highly efficient engine from, but we have not decided what we will do with this engine.”

This is the first confirmation we’ve seen in some time that Porsche is even considering participating in grand prix racing, after years upon years of rumors that its parent Volkswagen Group was weighing a potential F1 program. Aston Martin and Cosworth have also reportedly taken part in the powertrain strategy sessions Steiner mentions, and given the trickle of information, we’d bet there’ve been others involved as well. Toyota, Ford, BMW, and PSA have all supplied engines to Formula One in recent history but don’t currently, while major automakers like Hyundai, General Motors, and Mazda have not – nor have any of the Chinese automakers eager to break out of their domestic market, for that matter, but we’re just spit-balling here.

Ultimately Porsche could be working with an eye towards F1, but divert the engine program towards something else – like a successor, for example, to the 918 Spyder. After all, the Carrera GT that preceded it essentially grew out of an aborted LMP1 program. But with Porsche’s expertise being applied all across the VW group, there’s no telling where this secretive engine could end up being used.

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  • Ron P

    I think they are planning to make a car go quite fast.

  • SteersUright

    Instead, work on properly outsourcing your Horrendous electronic systems so that they become as reliable as is expected on such expensive cars like Porsches. I’ve had 3 in my possession recently, and the electronics wouldn’t pass the first stage of say Lexus, Honda, or shoot, even Dodge’s quality control. Otherwise, Porsche’s are spectacularly exciting cars. Just wishing they’d head towards becoming as reliable as they are exciting. Whoever thinks they are, hasn’t owned many and doesn’t know about the long list of expensive issues that come along with own thing them. Heard of the door panel lift issue which costs $2500 per door to fix on 991/981’s? Didn’t think so.

    • Infinite1

      Dam, that sucks man.

    • Auf Wiedersehen

      I have had several and not one has given me a moments REAL trouble. Sure the occasional radio glitch (996/986) quickly fixed with a new head unit but nothing, not one thing that would cause me to be worried. Never had an IMS/RMS issue with any and my current car, a 981 Cayman, has been nothing short of stellar. Even though NO brand is 100% perfect you must be horrendously unlucky. And no, I have never heard of any kind of door panel lift… Care to elaborate.

      • SteersUright

        Im happy you have had good fortune, but the anecdotal evidence of one doesn’t excuse a company thats had class actions against is for way too many issues. Just browse the owner forums. German cars, particularly, Audi, Porsche, and BMW, are known to be amazing cars their owners love when they work. They’re also known to be of highly questionable reliability and to me, in 2017, there’s no excuses that are acceptable. We have the precision softwares, tooling, and ability today to produce dead reliable products. Lets be honest though, why spend the money if the cars sell/lease anyhow? Well Toyota does. Honda does. Shoot, I’d venture to say any Japanese/Korean car is more reliable than the Germans nowadays. Does that stop me from lusting over a Porsche? Don’t be silly. Does it frustrate me as I wish the quality and reliability of these wonderful cars could live up to their price tag? Yes. Of course, I drive the snot out of mine, 12k miles per year+. If your’s is a garage queen you like to just look at, then you may not face the same issues as Porsche owners who actually drive their cars like, well, a car.

        Some issues of note:
        1. PCM (porsche infotainment): notoriously difficult to use. Often can’t connect to bluetooth sound, get confused if any USB is plugged in at same time. Can throw tons of error codes when battery is low voltage, necessitating expensive dealer visits and sometimes entirely new computers. Also, just try to use the damn thing. Entering a destination on the Nav is an exercise in frustration. Thus the 2017 move to Apple Car Play.
        2. IMS RMS bearing. Requires a new engine ($15-$25k). Even the retrofits can fail. I would personally avoid all 996 and some 997 (2005-2008).
        3. 991/981: door panel can lift at the top as the glue fails. No way to repair. Porsche wants $2500 per door to fix. Happened on the 911 and Cayman.
        4. PDK: clutches begin to slip with miles, as expected, giving more and more drastic hesitation off the line. Only there’s no easy way to replace them unlike traditional manual. A fresh PDK can be $10-$15k, a rebuild about $7500.
        5. Porsche console sticky buttons. With time, many of the buttons stick and stop working. Like everything Porsche, not cheap to replace/repair. This never happens on old Hondas/Toyotas, or actually, even much older Porsches.
        6. Tranmission sensor failure (2009+) and as they’re embedded within, they require a rebuild or, more often, a new transmission.
        7. Auto Start/Stop Failure (electronic issue, doesn’t actually fail, but doesn’t work nonetheless).
        8. Automatic Handbrake failure (electronic issue, doesn’t actually fail, but doesn’t work nonetheless).
        9. and I can go on and on…

        Everyone who’s owned late gen Porsches knows, they’re mechanical masterpieces with some of the most special engines and driving experiences around. They’re also loaded with electrical gremlins just like any cheap VW, where I imagine the newer Porches get many of their hidden parts, sensors, electronics, etc.. However, a Porsche isn’t a VW. And at its price, I posit that they should outsource software to the experts and ramp up the QA big time. Just imagine a Porsche GT3 that doesn’t need a 10yr extended warranty publicity campaign because, you know, the engine doesn’t actually break on your $150k+ car as it was properly tested at the factory before being released.

        • Auf Wiedersehen

          “If your’s is a garage queen you like to just look at, then you may not face the same issues as Porsche owners who actually drive their cars like, well, a car.”

          Nope. I put almost 12k a year. Only thing that stops me from driving more is winter. And not because it can’t do it, but rather because I don’t trust other drivers.

          “1. PCM (porsche infotainment): notoriously difficult to use. Often can’t connect to bluetooth sound, get confused if any USB is plugged in at same time. Can throw tons of error codes when battery is low voltage, necessitating expensive dealer visits and sometimes entirely new computers. Also, just try to use the damn thing. Entering a destination on the Nav is an exercise in frustration. Thus the 2017 move to Apple Car Play.”

          I have/have had PCM and have no issues, at all. The Nav works better than any of the other cars I have used nav. Owned(VW) or rentals(various).

          “2. IMS RMS bearing. Requires a new engine ($15-$25k). Even the retrofits can fail. I would personally avoid all 996 and some 997 (2005-2008).”

          My 986 and 987 had zero IMS issues in 40k and 58k miles respectively. Dripping seals, sure…but not he end of the world.

          “3. 991/981: door panel can lift at the top as the glue fails. No way to repair. Porsche wants $2500 per door to fix. Happened on the 911 and Cayman.”

          Not sure about this one because I’m not really sure what part you are talking about. I will research but if it’s the material (leather/foam) releasing from the panel itself, I have had nothing like that. Besides, if it ever does, I woudl have a high end trim shop recover them for FAR less than $2500.

          “4. PDK: clutches begin to slip with miles, as expected, giving more and more drastic hesitation off the line. Only there’s no easy way to replace them unlike traditional manual. A fresh PDK can be $10-$15k, a rebuild about $7500.”

          Mine have all been manual transmissions so I can’t comment, but the manuals have been flawless.

          “5. Porsche console sticky buttons. With time, many of the buttons stick and stop working. Like everything Porsche, not cheap to replace/repair. This never happens on old Hondas/Toyotas, or actually, even much older Porsches.”

          Again, have never experienced this. Now 987/997 button surface/texture failure, sure. I’ll give you that one.

          “6. Tranmission sensor failure (2009+) and as they’re embedded within, they require a rebuild or, more often, a new transmission.”

          Can’t comment

          7. Auto Start/Stop Failure (electronic issue, doesn’t actually fail, but doesn’t work nonetheless).

          This one I will give you too. It’s a feature I have no idea why they would add it to cars like these. I turn it off and it defaults off every time I drive.

          “8. Automatic Handbrake failure (electronic issue, doesn’t actually fail, but doesn’t work nonetheless).”

          I’ve had zero problems with the electronic brake.

          “They’re also loaded with electrical gremlins just like any cheap VW, where I imagine the newer Porches get many of their hidden parts, sensors, electronics, etc.”

          It’s funny you mention VW because I have not had any major issues with any of the 6 VWs I have had along side my 3 Porsches. I must be one lucky SOB. I better stop on my way home for a lottery ticket. But seriously, I am fanatical about my cars and maintenance…not that you aren’t, you may be, I don’t know you. I just know I have never had a serious problem with any of my VW or Porsche or worried about reliability as the web chatter would lead to believe.

          I argue that these problems are not unusual in mass produced cars. In fact there are some current models of other brands FAR worse. Let’s face it, all cars are machinery that fails. Add in software, temperamental electronics and sensitive sensors out the wazzoo and it’s not surprising when they fail. And it’s no fun when you are the poor schlub who owns the one that does. But by and large modern German cars are as reliable as the next country’s offering. More so in some cases and in the case of some domestic brands.

          • SteersUright

            Wow, I think we took up more space than all other comments combined! lol.
            I hear you and Im happy you’ve had no issues. I wish most Porsche cars operated like yours. Nowadays, after 2 years, newer Porsches even get the VW “crayon” smell which I suspect is due to using the same glues/plastics as the rest of the VW conglomerate, another majorly bad move. I leave VW’s alone, you’re getting a lot of German car for little money and should lease them. But at Porsche price tags, I get irked at the many quality issues they suffer. Same with BMW’s. So why not just go Japanese then? They simply dont have many options to choose from. I’d buy a Camaro SS 1LE in a heartbeat given its stupendous performance but I sat in one and outward visibility wasnt bad, it was abysmal. Also, it just doesn’t look all that good to me. The Mustang is beautiful to my eyes, but I drove a GT Perf Pack and it was just WAY too loose and sloppy. So, I bought the 2014 2.7 Cayman PDK while feels like a little, light, race car and keeping my fingers crossed! I can already see one door panel lifting though and the PDK already stalls a bit off the line!

          • Auf Wiedersehen

            Haha! You’re right!
            My Porsches have all had the interior smell…it’s actually one of the things I like about German cars. They all smell like that, all the way to my 92 Corrado. My Jettas, GTIs, Boxsters, my Cayman…all of them.
            I agree with you on the Camaro and I just can’t bring myself to buy another GM ever. Once I started buying German cars in the early 90s, I have never looked back. The Mustang is my favorite domestic right now but my boss has the GT PP and has already had to have a clutch replaced. And they are so plastic(y) and rattle(y).
            My Cayman is a 14 also, but manual, and I have had it for coming up on three years now and not a single issue, and I’ve not noticed anything wrong with the door panels. I suspect and HOPE you’ll have the same experience. It is a fantastic car!

          • SteersUright

            The door panel lift issue is the glue at the top reacting to a combo of high humidity and heat. Even worse if actually water (like rain) get in there. We have a ton of all of that in Florida so its much more prevalent here. All cars have issues and I’d even overlook this if Porsche was reasonable about it. But they’ve never fixed it, even the new Porsches reportedly still have this problem and they want $2400/door to fix which is utterly preposterous. If they addressed their flaws and issues more reasonably I’d be a much, much bigger fan of the brand. For example, Porsche know that so many lovers of the brand buy 996’s and 997’s. Why didn’t the company themselves offer and IMS solution instead of leaving it to the questionable aftermarket?

          • Auf Wiedersehen

            “If they addressed their flaws and issues more reasonably I’d be a much, much bigger fan of the brand.”

            This I totally agree with you on. They will never show blame unless it hits the upper echelon of customers, buying GT3s or 918s. it would show weakness and bad press. As far as they are concerned the IMS issue isn’t bad press because they haven’t admitted any fault. I still love the brand, their cars and their design philosophy and have been lucky to not have any IMS issues (or any issue) with my 986, 987 or any new issues with my 981.

  • Vassilis

    Really hope they join F1!