Completely hypnotic. An air-cooled inline six-cylinder that behaves with such ferocity, intensity, response and precision – and produces such an intoxicating sound – that you drive it and you are instantly convinced that it is the zenith, the best internal combustion engine for the road that humanity has had. not designed yet. There have been some over the years. A reminder about one of them (the V12s from the Ferrari F50 or the McLaren F1, the straight-six from the BMW E46 M3 CSL, the 4.5-litre V8 from the 458 Speciale, the V10 from the Lexus LFA, maybe even a four-cylinder from Honda or Alfa) convinced you that this is the best of all.
What is not in doubt is that the new Flat Six at the rear of the DLS is up there with all that came before it (not to mention the one or two Flat Sixes that Porsche has developed). But Porsche couldn’t do what Singer has done now. He got rid of air-cooled engines when the 993-generation 911 died 25 years ago, too expensive to get more power and efficiency from. Singer applied the cost.
DLS is what happens when F1 technology and process are applied to a Porsche 964, not just the engine, but every aspect, down to the amazing detail. Singer’s reputation for detail precedes him, he has now worked with advanced engineering firm Williams F1 and a host of other suppliers and leading people; one of my favorite tidbits is that two true Porsche legends, motoring guru Hans Mezger (who sadly passed away last year) and legendary engineer Norbert Singer (yes, that’s where the name came from) both consulted on the DLS. This is a Porsche 911 delivered at, well, 11.
Tell us about it.
It can’t be completely complete or you’d be reading War and Peace, but for now let’s get on with the engine. Heat management is more difficult with air-cooled engines. Without a pumped water jacket, they are lighter and more compact, but the large fan on the back of the motor can’t blow enough air to remove all the heat under heavy use. In road engines, Porsche has never dared to install more than two valves per cylinder: more air speeds through the engine and heat quickly builds up and eventually melts. To combat this, you need to throw more fuel and more exotic materials at it.
It’s infinitely more complex and nuanced than what we’ve just described, but the DLS is powered by throttle bodies with two injectors per cylinder and four valve heads. The valves are sodium-filled titanium, the exhaust is Inconel and titanium, the fan is magnesium. The same goes for the case where it rotates.
To improve weight distribution and de-stress the engine, Singer installed a high-capacity lithium-ion battery under the hood to run the air conditioning and hydraulic power steering. Neither takes its power directly from the engine and, in fact, the alternator is only charged when the six-cylinder has a reserve charge, that is, it is not used intensively. The intention is that there is nothing between you and getting absolutely everything from a naturally aspirated engine that spins at 9,300 rpm and seems capable of stroking every nerve ending you have.
In essence, the chassis and subframes are the same. But the DLS is 60% stiffer. Not only has a 40mm FIA roll cage been (mostly) hidden, but the carbon fiber body panels are structural and add rigidity. And Singer came up with the same front axle solution as Porsche themselves.
This, like the last GT3, features double-wishbone front suspension, which improves cornering, grip and precision, useful when the rear axle is a fulcrum, with the engine behind the front-facing lever. up. Something Singer was able to combat: by shrinking the gearbox housing, he was able to move the motor a few inches forward. Here’s another revealing detail: the dampers come from Exe-TC, the same firm that backed Seb Loeb in most of his WRC championships, which is indicative of how Singer envisions this car. It is not a locked corridor, but it is designed to be useful and comfortable.
And then there is the aerodynamics. The entire car underwent a comprehensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program. Apparently, except for a little more stability, the ducktail spoiler at the rear of the famous 1973 Carrera RS didn’t really do much. To make it efficient enough, the roofline has been lowered by 20mm. It’s disguised as a slim deck spoiler that also serves to channel air into the plexiglass rear screen and into a ducktail that’s 22mm taller, straighter and has an integrated 5mm stretcher flap. This is balanced by a front splitter and clever underbody aerodynamics.
I could go on: the effort here is ridiculous. But look at it this way. The diligence and care with which Singer has always handled the aesthetics of the 964 – the truth contained in “reimagined” – has now been applied to the engineering. In the words of Singer founder Rob Dickinson, the plan was “no strings attached, how awesome can an old air-cooled 911 be?”
And what is the answer?
Absolutely gorgeous. From start to finish, it’s endlessly absorbing, definitely not a car you need to go fast to enjoy. The process of changing gears in the Hewland six-speed manual transmission. To lift the heavy clutch and roll. To feel the way rally shocks cushion the road while communicating surface texture. To let the motor start to climb. You get all that and more at low speeds, it’s an indulgence from start to finish.
But really smart things happen when you go faster. Open the taps third and the response is so instant, so forceful in a car that weighs so little, it’s overkill the first few times. It all happens simultaneously: the induction air is swallowed, the rear squats down, the seat sinks into you, the speed starts to pick up. Stick with it and the noise, almost entirely from induction rather than exhaust, becomes the main event. it’s glorious. So present, unfiltered and yet melodious, so automotive. It feels, sounds and drives like a racing engine. It revs up and down in an instant, but somehow every heel-to-toe downshift is perfect. At one point, I checked to see if there was a rev beep accompanying my footwork. There weren’t any, the pedals just make it easier.
Weighing less than 1,100kg (nearly 1,000kg if you ditch this car’s front end, air conditioning and subwoofers), the DLS is very, very fast, but beyond Williams’ calculations that it will hit the 210 mph, Singer has no idea. What could the acceleration be? it’s irrelevant. They know it’s fast and for a car meant to celebrate driving, that’s good enough.
It also doesn’t seek to correct the 964’s driving characteristics, but to make them more reassuring and flattering. Take off as you spin and the tail moves quickly but gradually. This famous feature is present and correct, but now you have a choice. With super-precise throttle, you can choose to exploit this, in which case you’ll find the DLS chassis has a mile-wide yaw sweet spot. Or you can work both axles more evenly, in which case what will surprise you is how confident you feel up front and how nice it is to have real-feeling steering and linear handling that isn’t super sharp just in the center.
Enter a corner in second gear with a balanced throttle, squeeze it and it’ll be the front wheels that give way first, spinning into understeer, but that’s what an old 911 is all about – understanding the dynamics and balance of the car, then getting the best out of it. . of that. The CCM-R Brembo brakes are incredibly powerful, their performance, speed and grip state-of-the-art, but the underlying chassis specs are 30 years old.
And that’s a drawback, right?
No, there is nothing wrong with that. It’s not quite as clean, polished and unforgiving as a modern supercar or hypercar, but it shows (as many restomods do) why we love cars like this. You’re not locked in a battle of numbers that has so little to do with the actual driving experience. Instead, it’s an old 911 living its best life.
What’s the verdict?
Singer’s dynamic and illuminating study is indulgent, rewarding and intense, an even greater advance than we expected from any of his normal restorations. But even beyond Singer’s usual standout assets, the engine stands proud. Not just the heart and soul, but the making of the DLS.
Yes, it’s a huge, titanic sum of money, but is it inherently worth less than a Bugatti Chiron or a Rimac Refrigerator simply because it’s slower? Because, I’ll tell you what, I’d rather drive this on a good road or track than either. This is the Porsche 911 reinvented by Singer, reinvented again. A car that delights, glories in driving and nothing more.
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Source : topgear.com