Porsche Wet Mode Integrates Tech Under One Umbrella
Porsche’s new “listening” Wet Mode for the 911 enhances safety in potential aquaplaning conditions.
Porsche has provided detail on its new Wet Mode technology for its latest, eighth-generation (aka 992) 911 coupe. The assistance system, which “listens” for potential wet road danger indicators, has been developed to detect significant wet conditions and deliver a solution for increased driving stability. Described as a “world first” it is a contribution to safety, and something that drivers of early air-cooled 911s (which could present very rapid oversteer situations) would have welcomed with relief.
Unlike some overly enthusiastic ESC systems that can become intrusive – taking the edge off the true dynamic capabilities of a chassis and dulling driver enjoyment – Porsche has undertaken to achieve a “grown-up” solution that supports the driver but doesn’t become intrusively dominant.
August Achleitner, internationally known as “Mr. 911” (and until his semi-retirement early this year head of 911 series), explained: “It does not restrict the maximum power of the engine or limit the top speed, and should therefore also not be used as insurance for driving too fast in very wet conditions. Instead, it should be seen as an assistance system in the truest sense.”
Aquaplaning is an event that will concentrate the driver’s mind in any vehicle, but particularly so with very high-performance sports cars. The new system can automatically detect a wet road and via acoustic sensors in the front wheel housings that register “swirled-up spray” and warn the driver of the potential risk. This makes it fundamentally different from windshield-wiper rain sensors, which only react to water droplets on the windshield independently of road conditions, stated Porsche.
Although the rain may have stopped, Wet Mode will detect standing water (and the possibility of aquaplaning), with the Porsche Stability Management (PSM) and Porsche Traction Management (PTM) systems responding “earlier and more sensitively” than in less challenging conditions. The driver receives a visual warning positioned alongside the car’s centrally positioned tachometer and has the option of switching on Wet Mode via buttons either on the center console or on the steering wheel, integrated in the mode switch for the optional Sport Chrono Package.
Once activated, the system integrates beneath one technology management umbrella. The PSM, PTM, adaptive aerodynamics and optional Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) Plus all coordinate to support driving stability. Also, from 56mph (90km/h), the 911’s rear spoiler deploys to a “performance position”, engine cooling air flaps open, the accelerator pedal action changes and the PSM Off function and Sport mode can no longer be activated.
There’s more: Engine mapping is also modified with torque delivery becoming more smoothly linear, and the shift strategy of the optional eight-speed PDK transmission is suitably adapted. The AWD 911 Carrera 4S adds to this list, with torque bias favoring the front axle to support added stability. Reduced locking ratios of the electronically controlled rear limited slip differential also change. Wet Mode also embraces snowy conditions with driver selection.