Porsche promises it will be one of the last brands to ditch the steering wheel

Porsche
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
The automotive industry’s shift toward autonomous cars is a frightening transformation for enthusiasts who genuinely like to drive. The technology promises to turn the commonly accepted idea of a car on its head and swat driving enjoyment like a fly against a kitchen counter. Porsche has joined the shift, but it stresses technology won’t dilute its cars’ performance genes.

“Driving yourself will hopefully remain the most important thing at Porsche for a very long time. The Porsche sports car will be one of the last automobiles with a steering wheel,” opined Lutz Meschke, Porsche’s board member for finance and IT, in a statement.

That’s good news, at least if you have the means to buy a Porsche. The German firm nonetheless concedes it needs to bake an increasing amount of technology into its models in order to satisfy demand from buyers in key markets, and keep up with its main rivals. Meschke points out traffic jam assist systems that take complete control of the car in dense traffic will become necessary moving forward, as will systems that allow the car to park itself. The company predicts both of these features will soon be must-haves in the luxury segment.

As it stands, Porsche’s most advanced driving aid is called InnoDrive. We recently tested the system on the roads around the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. It’s a super-cruise control system that doesn’t neuter a car’s performance genes. It can sling you into a curve just like a human driver would. It also analyzes data from onboard sensors and navigation information to remain about two miles ahead of the car at all times. It knows when there’s a hill, when there’s a bend, and where the speed limit drops.

InnoDrive is currently only available on the Panamera and the brand-new third-generation Cayenne, which are the more family-oriented models in the Porsche lineup. Meschke said that trend will continue into the future. Some models will be offered with more tech features and a greater level of autonomy while others will be appreciably more basic. But even in a car like the GT2 RS, full autonomy could come in handy to show rookie racers the fastest way around a track.

Meschke also predicted Porsche will make a huge leap with the Mission E, its first all-electric model. It’s tentatively scheduled to arrive in showrooms in 2019. When it does, an over-the-air updating system will give buyers the possibility to upgrade their car whenever they want, even if they only need a feature for a day, a week, or a month.

“Imagine that you could use a software update to download [more horsepower] over-the-air at short notice if you want to head to the racetrack on the weekend – or dynamic headlights if you are headed for a long night drive,” he said. Tech is expensive, so Porsche is spending a considerable amount of money on bringing it to the market in a timely and reliable manner. Rest assured, though; the brand isn’t following Google’s Waymo brand into the world of fully autonomous pods.

Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Cars

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.