PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 July, 2008, 12:00am

Porsche unveils all-wheel-drive 911s

Porsche last week unveiled the four-wheel-drive versions of its new-look 911s, the Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S (below), says Porsche Centre Hong Kong spokeswoman Mabel Wong. Due for their China launch in October, the yet-to-be-priced all-wheel-drive 911s seem safer than their traditional counterparts on Hong Kong's twisties, particularly in the wet. The latest versions have more vroom with new flat-six 3.6-litre and 3.8-litre engines, direct fuel injection and the option of the Doppelkupplungs double-clutch gearbox (PDK), the dealer says.

'Depending on the model, the new all-wheel-drive Carrera offers up to 8.5 per cent more power, up to 12.9 per cent better fuel economy and 15.4 per cent lower CO2 emissions' than their predecessors, Wong says. 'Output of the 3.6-litre power unit is up by 20 brake horsepower to 345bhp. A Carrera 4 coupe with PDK, for example, consumes a mere 10.1 litres of fuel per

100km [28mpg]. The 3.8-litre 911 Carrera 4S bangs out 385bhp, an increase of 30bhp, and 'overall fuel consumption [is] down in the Carrera 4S Cabriolet with PDK to 10.7 litres/100km', the dealer says.

The new Carrera 4 and Carrera 4S are also fitted with the electronically controlled Porsche Traction Management [PTM], a system that was developed for the 911 Turbo and modified for the Carrera models, Wong says.

PTM feeds torque through an electronically controlled multiple-plate clutch to the front wheels, supplementing the flow of power to the rear wheels.

'Combined with the highly dynamic PTM control system, this clutch delivers a precise distribution of power and torque to the front and rear axles as road and driving conditions change,' Porsche says.

'The previous clutch could only deliver up to 40 per cent of torque to the front axle.'

The new PTM system 'delivers an infinitely variable torque split, able to distribute up to 100 per cent of traction to the front or rear wheels' according to Porsche. This provides a faster, more precise transmission of power for a more stable and responsive drive.

The latest four-wheel-drive 911s can be fitted with a six-speed manual box but we expect the marque's new Doppelkupplung system to sell well among Hong Kong's gadget-mad rich. Replacing the former Tiptronic S automatic converter transmission, the seven-gear system offers a faster gearshift on less fuel, the dealer says.

The new Carrera models also have bi-xenon headlights and new LED daytime driving lights.

The all-wheel drive models are 44mm wider at the back end than the two-wheel-drive versions.

The Porsche Communication Management system has also been tweaked, the dealer says. 'Its touch-sensitive screen improves operation of information and audio systems, and PCM is now compatible with Bluetooth, USB and iPod requirements,' says Wong.

Smart stuff misses cramming mark

When we learned that 13 contortionists (above, right) had crammed into a Smart ForTwo in Weybridge, England, this month, we wondered whether Hong Kong's lithest were ready for a similar challenge, say in a shopping centre this summer. The two-seater is roomy but Hong Kong contenders might have to lay off the noodles to match the world Smart-stuffing record, set by 18 people from Bad Abbach, Germany, in October 2002, and highlighted on the Record-Klub Saxonia website. The site also says 42 of the Moss Bay Majorettes packed a Jaguar XJS in Jacksonville, US, in August 1984; 32 members of Phonix Soccer Club Wildau piled into a Trabant 601 in November 1998; and Gira Bagri and his 41 teammates squeezed into a Maruti in India, on February 26, 1995. Interested? E-mail

Plugged into current trials

We were impressed with the Vectrix electric bike used by Glasgow airport police. But we hear London's Metropolitan Police Service is trying out Smart's electric, Smart ed (electric drive, above, left) in the city and Heathrow Airport.

The electric runabout sounds perfect for Hong Kong. Charged via a standard three-pin plug, the Smart ed has a top speed of about 100km/h and a range of 110km between charges and is fitted with anti-lock brakes, electronic stability program, airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners.

It emits no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons or particulate matter and 'can achieve the equivalent of around 300 miles per gallon', according to Smart.

So we hope Smart invites the Hong Kong police to test its electric drive model and our Transport officials monitor the three electric jeepneys (below) that began work trials in Makati on Tuesday. The

E-jeepneys' success could lead to the introduction of up to 50 in Manila's financial district. They sound like the perfect mode of transport for places such as Macau and Discovery Bay.

Have you ever ridden in one of the electric Jeepneys? Tell us at