Porsche’s approach does, however, leave me wondering what the GT car of the future looks like in the electric era.
Front-engined, rear-driven coupés such as the Aston Martin DB11 and Ferrari Roma have a different flavour of handling from cars like the 718 Cayman or Lotus Exige but it’s no less enjoyable. In fact, I think I prefer GT-car handling. With it, you can more easily and safely have fun on roads you’re sight-reading and in weather conditions that are less than ideal. The slow-in, fast-out approach with a chassis that telegraphs its intentions well is just as satisfying as driving a perfectly balanced mid-engined machine. By way of some very non-scientific postulation, I’m pretty sure most people would have more fun driving a Caterham Seven than an Ariel Atom. So the GT-car handling character is well worth preserving – but how?
Taking the same approach as Porsche and putting the battery packs where the engine would go won’t work. Even with two chunky turbochargers, Mercedes-AMG’s current 4.0-litre V8 – the one found in the nose of the Aston Martin Vantage – has a dry weight of around 210kg compared with what would probably be two times that for a battery pack capable of yielding the sort of driving range necessary for a GT sports car. You might be able to get away with putting so much weight well between the axles, as will be the case with the next-gen 718 models, but having it lapping up against the front axle will destroy the handling balance. The car would be dangerously understeery, and you’d probably need front tyres pretty much the same width as those at the back, in which case you may as well also go for four-wheel drive.