You've got options, Part III: Porsche Torque Vectoring

You've got options, Part III: Porsche Torque Vectoring 1
Photo courtesy Porsche

So you’ve chosen the Porsche you want to buy, but don’t know which performance-enhancing options to check. Complicating matters, many of the most popular and useful factory performance upgrades — ceramic composite brakes, electronic anti-roll bars, air suspension — cost thousands of dollars each. How do you know which options work for you?

Be prepared when you walk into the dealership for a test drive: Educate yourself. Knowing the functions of the various optional equipment is crucial to knowing what you need and what you want. If you have a clear understanding of your needs in a Porsche, you can specify the car that best fits your lifestyle — and stays within your budget. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of what we think are the five most valuable performance options for the money, their prices, and a description of how they work. Last week we covered Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. We’ll roll the rest out in coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Porsche Torque Vectoring & Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV & PTV Plus)
911 Carrera: $1,320 (PTV) & $1,490 (PTV Plus)
911 Carrera S: $1,320 (PTV) & $1,490 (PTV Plus)
Boxster & Boxster S: $1,320 (PTV)
Cayman & Cayman S: $1,320 (PTV)
Cayenne models: $1,490 (PTV Plus)
Panamera models: $5,000 (PTV Plus only offered in conjunction with PDCC)*

Why don’t we hear about limited-slip differentials in new Porsches anymore? Because torque-vectoring systems have taken over. A limited-slip diff responds to wheel slip and transfers torque to the driven wheel with more traction (in a turn, for example, torque is transferred from inside wheel to outside wheel); a torque vectoring system does this as well, but also brakes the inside rear wheel as soon as you drive into a corner, helping to initiate turn-in. This results in crisp corner entry and stable corner exit with little or no unwanted understeer or oversteer. A Porsche ordered without the PTV or PTV Plus options will have an open differential, which does not transfer torque to the driven wheel with more traction, decreasing the car’s traction and stability.

The main difference between PTV and PTV Plus is a matter of mechanical versus electronic operation of the differential lock. Because PTV Plus has an electronically operated diff lock, its torque distribution is infinitely variable and, consequently, more dynamically capable than PTV, which relies on a mechanical limited-slip differential. Our experiences with torque vectoring all have been positive because it significantly enhances handling – but you may not notice the difference it makes unless you’ve driven the same car without it.

Which torque-vectoring system customers can opt for in each of Porsche’s models can be confusing, because it’s largely dependent on the model in question and its transmission. So we’ve gathered here the option combinations required to get PTV or PTV Plus (where applicable) in each of Porsche’s models. In the new 911, whether you can opt for PTV or PTV Plus is based on the transmission. Choose the manual gearbox and PTV is your only option; choose PDK and you’re limited to PTV Plus. The new Boxster and Cayman can only be ordered with PTV, regardless of transmission choice. The Panamera, which only comes with PDK (in the U.S., anyway), is limited to PTV Plus. In addition, PTV Plus is packaged with PDCC in the Panamera, and PDCC can only be had paired with the air suspension. PTV Plus can be had as a standalone option in the automatic-transmission-only Cayenne.

*Panamera models must have the air suspension to be equipped with PTV Plus

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