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Porsche on Fire

THE WORLD OF PORSCHE IS SET ABLAZE — 2019 is one of the biggest, most significant in all of the German automaker’s 70 years and the heat intensified at last month’s Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

Porsche Cars Canada took this opportunity to debut the track-bred, race-ready 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the sporting GTS variant of the Panamera. Also on display in Toronto but revealed weeks earlier in Montreal were the completely new but still quite familiar 992 version of the iconic 911, refreshed top-selling Macan SUV, as well as the Cayenne Turbo SUV.

Purists rejoice! The flat-six returns to the Cayman. Packing a 425-horsepower 3.8-litre flat-six in the middle of its nimble chassis, the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport comes available in “track” and “competition” trims, the former for the amateur racer, the latter for national and international racing. Power routes to the rear wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Pricing is $216,500 for the track version and $242,000 for the competition, which will compete in the GT3 Cup Challenge Canada series.

In any given year Porsche announces several new introductions, whether it be simply a GT or GTS trim of an existing generation – something more thoroughly redesigned and reengineered – or a completely new vehicle from the ground up.

With our appetites whetted, we regular civilians must now wait for the anticipated road-going version of the flat-six’s return to the Cayman — the GT4 — as well as the convertible derivative — the Boxster Spyder.

As with GTS trims of its other models, Porsche has decked out the Panamera GTS with a bundle of go-fast goodies — a 453-horsepower twin-turbo V8 mated to an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, Sport Chrono package, chassis lowered by 10 millimetres and featuring Porsche Active Suspension Management, big brakes and a sports exhaust system.

The Panamera GTS comfortably accommodates four people who do not necessarily need to be astronauts but nonetheless can be rocketed from zero to 100 kilometres per hour in just 4.1 seconds, on their way to a stratospheric top speed of 292 KPH. To test this ability, it’s best to tick the box for European delivery and find the nearest Autobahn on-ramp. Or maybe join the PCA UCR Discover Porsche and Germany Trip. And maybe don an astronaut diaper.

Prices are set at $146,200 for the Panamera GTS sedan, $153,300 for the Sport Turismo wagon.

Hitting dealerships soon, the new 911 comes, for now, as a Carrera S and Carrera 4S, both motivated by a revised twin-turbo 443-horsepower flat-six, the latter with all-wheel drive. The only transmission at launch is an eight-speed dual-clutch PDK, a manual comes later.

From the front, the new 911 appears near-identical to the outgoing model, the rear is where differences abound — a fresh new fascia with a red LED light stretching across the entire width, also-full-width speed-sensitive spoiler, sleek new integrated exhaust pipes, plus a vertical double-prong third brake light embedded in the engine’s grille slats.

Inside is a big new 10.9-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dash and five toggles below, with screens also flanking the only mechanical dial now remaining in front of the driver, the trademark centre tachometer.

In any given year Porsche announces several new introductions, whether it be simply a GT or GTS trim of an existing generation, such as the Panamera GTS, or something more such as a thoroughly redesigned and reengineered model like the new 911, or — very rare for a small company like Porsche that after so many years still has only five model lines — a completely new vehicle from the ground up with a revolutionary new powertrain that has never been used before.

And so 2019’s bonfire burns on, the flames dancing higher, set to erupt and explode when Porsche’s first all-electric vehicle, the all-new Taycan, is finally revealed, promising 800 horsepower, a 480-kilometre range, advanced quick-charging 800-volt system and other innovative highlights.

Story and photos by Stefan Walther, Social Media Editor

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