Porsche distills its best road & Le Mans DNA into Mission X hypercar
The 959. The Carrera GT. The 918 Spyder. All Porsches bring a level of prestige, but some nameplates mean more than others. Previewing the next up in that particular lineage, Porsche has presented the Mission X, an automotive marvel crafted with the highest levels of Porsche's motorsport and road engineering know-how. Designed to carry one metric horsepower for each and every kilogram, the 900-V Rocket Metallic-tinged dream machine squares its sights around the all-out Nürburgring Nordschleife record for street-legal cars ... assuming it gets the production go-ahead.
Porsche argues that the thick, voluptuous curves and sculptural shaping it applies to the Mission X proves that hypercars don't have to look aggressive. We beg to disagree, though, because while the Mission X doesn't have the "knife in your face" aggression of a track car loaded with razor-sharp, contrast-carbon aerodynamic components, its bulging muscles, cab-forward stance, burrowing inlets and outlets, lower aero elements and glassy cockpit make very clear that the car plans to absolutely dominate and humiliate every non-race-spec four-wheeled vessel located in the same time zone. And those mirrored slashed LED headlights give it the look of zen focus, like it's ready to do so at any millisecond.
Just like the 959, Carrera GT and 918 Spyder before it, the Mission X definitely sets itself up as the alpha of the modern Porsche road fleet and a snapshot of the most advanced automotive technological capabilities of the era at hand.
To help cut weight toward its goal of one metric horsepower per kilo, Porsche uses a unique exoskeleton structure with a carbon fiber beam extending back from the windshield surround. The beam holds the large-windowed butterfly doors with help from the A-pillars, providing a fittingly dramatic entry and exit inspired by the great Le Mans-winning 917.
For now, the Mission X is primarily a styling exercise for a potential all-electric Porsche hypercar of the future (i.e. no real hard powertrain or performance specs are given). However, Porsche does say that the car comes powered by the same style of permanently excited synchronous motors (PSMs) used on the 1,073-hp Mission R concept, driving the wheels through a weight-optimized single-speed transmission. The battery is integrated into the load-bearing structure behind the seats, helping to center mass and give the car its mid-engine-like stance.
Porsche has developed the Mission X design study within the framework of a 900-V electrical architecture that would allow it to charge roughly twice as quickly as the Taycan Turbo S – not exactly a slouch itself with an estimated five to 80 percent charging time as low as 22.5 minutes, or 62 miles (100 km) per 5.5 minutes of hookup. A Mission X production car charging to 80 percent in just over 11 minutes would really be pushing close to an EV that competes with the convenience of an ICE in terms of refueling during the journey.
That ultra fast-charging would undoubtedly be used and used often because this is a car that's going to get pushed to its limits around the track, lap after lap, day after day. Porsche makes clear that any serial production version that may or may not arise from the project would be developed with the goal of being the fastest street-legal car ever to circle the Nürburgring. That record is unsurprisingly a point of pride for Porsche, and the automaker has set it several times over the past decade, losing it late last year when Mercedes' own groundbreaking hypercar wrested it away from the 911 GT2 RS with both hands.
Porsche has carefully integrated aerodynamics into the Mission X design, including adaptive aero elements around and under the body. These manage drag and downforce based on the mode, speed and lateral acceleration, giving the Mission X capability to surpass the modern 911 GT3 RS in downforce.
The motorsport-derived suspension is also highly active, controlled via four settings readily accessible on the steering wheel. Rebounding and compression can be individually adjusted. Staggered 20-in front and 21-in rear wheels promise improved driving dynamics, while a turbine-like aero-blade rear wheel design directs air at the brakes for efficient cooling.
Inside, the driver-centric two-seat cabin matches the skeletal structure overhead with monocoque-integrated CFRP seat shells dressed in ergonomic padding. A curved instrument cluster sits behind the open-top steering wheel, while the co-pilot focuses ahead on lap times, vital driver data and other metrics shown via a bespoke dash module featuring both analog and digital displays. An interior multi-camera system captures the drama from several angles at the push of a button on the multi-purpose driver control.
As for that 1 ps/kg (2.2 lb) goal, Porsche notes that the number is nearly double the 1 hp/1.8 kg (4 lb) power-to-weight ratio of the great 918 Spyder, a one-time Nürburgring champion itself.
The Mission X is the first Porsche vehicle to wear Stuttgart's modestly redesigned crest badge and was presented this week as part of Porsche's 75th anniversary celebration. Something tells us the concept's influence will bleed heavily into the company's 76th year and beyond.