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Porsche hypercars have been few and far between. The 918 Spyder came out in 2013 while the Carrera GT was launched in 2004. Going further back, the 959 saw the light of day in 1986. In 2023, Mission X previewed a potential flagship model from Zuffenhausen. Later this year, a decision will be made whether to put the concept into production. If green-lighted, there’s going to be a major hardware change.

When the all-electric Mission X was unveiled in June 2023 to celebrate Porsche’s 75th anniversary, the concept was touted as having a rear-wheel-drive layout. However, a subsequent road-legal car would switch to an all-wheel-drive setup. Not to unlock extra performance but to improve efficiency. As weird as that might sound when talking about a hypercar, it makes sense. An AWD setup would significantly increase energy recovery to put more juice back into the battery and extend range.

Speaking with Australian magazine Which Car, Mission X project manager Michael Behr explained why AWD would be adopted: “It’s an electric car and you need a four-wheel-driven car to recuperate a lot of energy [for the battery] to have a bigger range on the Nordschleife, not just for one lap, maybe for three laps.”

That’s still an extremely low range considering the track is just under 13 miles long, so three laps would be 39 miles. However, Behr was talking about three laps performed by a driver who knows what they’re doing and can extract every drop of performance from the Mission X. Driven at a regular pace, the electric hypercar would likely have a significantly higher range.

That said, it’s obvious Porsche doesn’t want to cram in a huge battery to extend range since that would add weight and hurt performance. It would be difficult to install a supersized battery anyway since the concept was only 177.1 inches long, so there would be packaging constraints. Behr mentioned the wheelbase would be altered for a production version compared to the concept, which measured 107.5 inches between the axles.

In the concept, the battery was mounted centrally behind the seats and featured direct oil cooling. Porsche developed the Mission X with a 900-volt system architecture to enable charging speeds about twice as quickly as the pre-facelift Taycan Turbo S. The updated electric sedan now supports 320-kW charging power instead of 270 kW and can replenish the battery from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes.

During the same interview, Behr suggested the production version is likely to be sold strictly with a left-hand-drive layout to reduce complexity. He added it would have more headroom than the 918 Spyder, enabling drivers to comfortably use a helmet. This will be possible by fitting doors that open upwards and forward in the same vein as on the 917 Le Mans racer, which also had the curved glass extending onto the roof.

Porsche has previously said it will approve the Mission X for production only if it meets certain criteria. It must generate more downforce than the 911 GT3 RS and feature a power-to-weight ratio of 1 to 1. In addition, it must double the charging speed of a Taycan Turbo S. Most importantly, it must set a record for a street-legal production car around the Nürburgring. The title currently belongs to the Mercedes-AMG One with a lap time of 6 minutes and 35.18 seconds.

Porsche holds the outright record around the Green Hell with the track-only 919 Hybrid Evo and an incredible 5:19.55 lap.

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