All-wheel drive (AWD) technology has long been a hallmark of high-performance Porsche models. First applied in experimental form on the low-volume 959 supercar, Porsche then applied what it had learned to the 911 Carrera 4 (Type 964) in 1988, the first series production Porsche with all-wheel drive. And ever since, all-wheel drive has been engineered into every generation of 911, for over three decades.
But while the primary objective of offering AWD technology is improving driving dynamics and on-road traction, Porsche is also keen on demonstrating how its AWD technology, augmented by its latest-generation Porsche Traction Management (PTM) gives the 911 an uncanny ability to go places most sports cars would shy away from.
In a gritty video by Porsche, we see a 911 go where no car has gone before, spanning the greatest changes in elevation in the UK.
The weapon of choice is the 911 Turbo S (991.2), which starts its journey at Holme in Lincolnshire; at 10 feet below sea level, it is the lowest point in the UK. The Turbo S then heads drive to Glenshee in the Scottish Highlands, taking in a mix of roads and weather conditions, culminating in sub-zero, snow-laden surfaces, and dramatic changes in elevation.
The final stretch would prove most daunting, as the 911 Turbo S would have to drive up the steep ski slope at Glenshee Ski Centre, in the Cairngorms National Park. The goal: to reach the top, some 2,460 feet above sea level.
The only concession to these special conditions was specific, Porsche-approved winter tyres - otherwise, the 911 Turbo S was as it left the showroom floors.
At the heart of the Porsche Traction Management (PTM) is an electromagnetic clutch, with friction plates which are able to distribute engine drive torque from the rear axle to the front within 100 milliseconds. Through this, it is able to maintain the optimum spread of engine power to the wheels.
The fully variable distribution of drive torque between the two axles delays the onset of wheel slip, which in turn reduces the need for intervention of the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) system.