1. Porsche does concept cars properly
Most concept cars are little more than window dressing – pretty props to roll onto your motor show stand so the world has something to look at as your CEO rattles through his speech.
Porsche is different. Its last two electric concept cars, the Mission E and Mission E Cross Turismo, are now both on sale, as the Taycan and Taycan Cross Turismo respectively.
So, while officially the Mission R is a motorsport concept – a glimpse at the kind of car Porsche might offer via its customer racing programme come the middle of the decade – it also offers some tantalising clues about the battery-electric Cayman and Boxster, expected in 2023.
2. It’s much more than a design exercise
Most show cars are so conceptual they can’t even be pushed around a photography studio without falling apart, let alone move under their own power.
The Mission R is different. Porsche’s senior engineers have revealed they’ve been testing prototypes with the same engineering package (one electric motor per axle, and the battery in a lump behind the cockpit, where you’d find the engine in a Cayman) for a full decade now.
And more recently the Mission R’s been pounding Porsche’s test track in development form, gathering data and validating the concept. All of which bodes well for Porsche’s imminent all-electric sports cars.
3. It’s pretty
Porsche’s design philosophy is more joined-up than most and, under the stewardship of design boss Michael Mauer, rarely trips up.
In part this is because it doesn’t take big risks. But it’s also testament to the soundness of Mauer’s logic: evolve, but don’t go radical just because you’re switching from petrol to electric power.
When it comes to the Mission R, the divide between motorsport concept and future production car is the horizontal line that runs around the middle of the car. Everything beneath this line – the jutting front splitter, track-scraping side skirts and evil-looking diffuser – is eye candy. Everything above this line, including the headlights, the shape of the windows and the upper-body silhouette, is likely to live on in road cars at some point.
At the back there’s good news and bad news. The bad news: the awesome rear wing, pinched straight from the 911 RSR race car, is pure show car. But the gorgeous new taillight, an evolution of the light-bar design on the current 911, looks set to stay.
4. The electric future won’t be slow
The Mission R is fast. The concept claims 1073bhp in qualifying trim or 671bhp for races. It promises to launch 0-62mph in just 2.5sec (eek) and power on past 186mph in a cacophony of tyre road and gear whine. (Porsche motorsport insiders claim it’s anything but silent.)
While the production cars it previews almost certainly won’t generate the same power outputs, they should be similarly lightweight for an EV. The Mission R weighs less than 1500kg, giving it something like the power-to-weight ratio of a 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. Which will do nicely.
Porsche Mission R concept: £ n/a, 1073bhp/671bhp twin e-motors, 2.5sec 0-62mph, 186mph+