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Video: 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo stays slippery at speed with moving active aerodynamics system

Among the many tech tricks on the 2014 911 Turbo is active aerodynamics, something Porsche was eager to show off in this video. While Porsche has had rear spoilers that deploy at speed in the past, the new system takes it a step further.

When designing cars, engineers usually play with two aerodynamic phenomena: downforce and drag. Downforce is the opposite of lift; it pushes a moving vehicle down onto the road instead of lifting it up like an airplane.

Downforce maximizes grip by keeping the tires pressed into the road surface. However, it also causes drag, which slows the car down and reduces top speed. At lower speeds, typically under 60mph, theses are not huge concerns on modern cars.

When cars go above 60mph – sometimes far above it – carmakers have to balance aerodynamic efficiency (low drag) with grip (downforce) by altering the shape of a car’s body with spoilers and ducts. Porsche has gone one step further by making everything adjustable on the fly.

A front chin spoiler and large rear wing spoiler move up and down automatically depending on conditions and driver preference. For high-speed highway cruising, they retract to reduce drag, making it easier for the 911 Turbo to punch a hole in the air. That’s why the Toyota Prius and Volkswagen XL1 don’t have giant spoilers, they’re designed to minimize drag and maximize efficiency as opposed to turning hot lap times on a track. Now if only we could do away with drag-producing rear view mirrors.

Out on the track, the 911’s spoilers raise to catch more air and produce more downforce, increasing traction and allowing the Turbo to corner more vigorously. 

On a practical note, the front spoiler can also be raised for better clearance on steep driveways. That huge rear wing may make driving in reverse at high speed difficult, though.

Porsche says the spoilers, along with massive front air intakes and Turbo-signature side inlets, are also ideally sculpted to provide cooling air to the engine and brakes. The bottom of the car is also sculpted and shielded to produce less drag.

After all, with a 0 to 60 mph time of 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 198 mph (for the Turbo S), both car and driver need to stay cool.

The 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo is powered by a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged flat-six, with 520 horsepower in the standard Turbo and 560 hp in the Turbo S. Both version’s come with Porsche’s seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission.

The 911 Turbo goes on sale later this year. Until then, see it in it’s computer-generated and dramatically voiced glory in the video below.

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