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Glossary of Porsche Related Terms

Making sense of all the fun Porsche names, terms and abbreviations

Porsche Glossary of Terms

Porsche Terms

The world of Porsche is filled with all kinds of names, terms and abbreviations and it’s hard for even a passionate enthusiast to remember them all. That’s why we’ve put together the following. If you find anything amiss or have anything to add, don’t hesitate to give us a shout.


The name for the new open top model in the 1990’s was created simply from the BOXer engine and roadSTER body it utilised.


Cayenne is the name given to the SUV launched for the 2002 model year. The name has multiple meanings: the capital of French Guiana is called Cayenne and so is the famous pepper.
Carrera is a spanish word and stands for “race”. Porsche started using the name on the 356 series, to show homage to Carrera Panamericana, a border-to-border race held in Mexico from 1950 to 1954. The Carrera name has been added to many racing and race-ready models since 1955: the 356, 904, 906, 911 up to 1977 and the 924. In 1984, with the 911 G-model being in production for a decade already, Porsche’s marketing department started using the Carrera name for a basic model to boost sales. The name was also used for the Carrera GT supercar.


Macan means ”tiger” in both Indonesian and Malaysian languages. In addition, in Serbo-Croatian the very close form of màcan is used for a tomcat. Macan is the final name for the smaller SUV, originally rumored to be the ”Cajun“.


The word doesn’t mean anything specific and is derived from Panamericana, a highway system where the Carrera Panamericana road race took place.
Porsche Active Suspension Management. The shock absorbers have electrically adjustable valves in them making it possible to control the amount of oil moving from compartment to compartment and this way making it possible to change the stiffness of the absorbers.

PASM© Porsche
Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes. A ceramic brake technology, introduced in IAA Frankfurt 2001 as a standard equipment for the 996 GT2. PCCB disc is made from a carbon fibre/ceramic compound that is silicated in a high-vacuum process, resulting in a disc that is considerably lighter and theoretically more resistant to temperature. PCCB discs are quite fragile though, even a small stone can damage the disc.
Porsche Doppelkupplung getriebe in German, it means a Porsche double clutch gearbox. Its mechanics are more similar to the construction of a manual gearbox, but as it is electromechanically actuated, it is an automatic gearbox for the driver. PDK is a development of the 1980’s and Porsche used it first time in 1984 in a 956 racing car and even in a 944 Turbo prototype, but the idea was put on shelves. Dual-clutch gearboxes are not Porsche’s invention, the idea is actually from the time before WWII. In 1985 Ferdinand Piëch’s Audi S1 rallycar also used this tehnology. The technology of a dual clutch gearbox is actually quite simple and surely ingenius – imagine two gearboxes with both having its own clutch put together in one housing. The power is shifted from one clutch to the other as needed. For example, one gearbox has gears for speeds 1-3-5-7 and the other for speeds 2-4-6. Now imagine you run on first gear, the second gear is already chosen and the gearchange is actually a clutch-change. While the 1st gear is declutched it engages 3rd gear and waits for the clutch change from the other gearbox which is running with the 2nd gear engaged. Porsche introduced the PDK for its series production cars in 2008 for the 9×7.2 cars. The gearchanges are very quick, but like an automatic gearbox, it kills the driving fun and acts unpredictably in fast corners.

1980s PDK transmission
In 1983 a PDK gearbox was tested in the 956 racing car. It had 5 gears, 3 for one clutch and 2 for the other© Porsche
Porsche Stability Management. Developed as a safety measure for the less skilled drivers. First introduced for the Boxster in 1996. As the button reads “PSM OFF”, the afficionados called it the “Please Switch Me Off”-button.


RS stands for Rennsport, German for “racing”. The first car to bear the letters was the 1973 911 Carrera RS. As the Carrera means Racing in Spanish and RS means Racing in German, the 1973 car can be called 911 Racing Racing in English. How would you translate the evolution model, the 911 Carrera RSR into English?
Even further developed racing car compared to the RS.


SC was the final version of the 356 C. It meant Super C. What does it mean for the 911, is sort of unclear. Some think it means Super Carrera, but it surely isn’t true as the pre-1978 911 Carreras were more powerful than the 911 SC introduced for 1978. We believe the 911 SC was meant as the final evolution of the 911, like was the SC for the 356. The 928, which was created to replace 911, didn’t succeed in that task and so the 911 SC wasn’t the last 911 as initially planned.
Sportomatic was a manual gearbox that used automatic clutch function and therefore didn’t have the clutch pedal. For smooth take-offs the unit was equipped with hydraulic torque converter used in automatic gearboxes. When it was time to change the gear, a pressure on the gear stick connected an electrical contact, which initiated the vacuum operated actuation of the on/off clutch mechanism. The 4 -speed sportomatic was first available for the 911 in June 1967 and later also offered for the 914/6. From model year 1976 the sportomatic had only 3 gears.

Sportomatic=regular gear stick but no clutch pedal© Porsche
Spider phaeton was originally a lightweight horse carriage. Auto manufacturers adapted the word for lightweight open top racing cars. While Italian automakers use Spider, Porsche has used Spyder for its models. The designation was used for the first time for the 1953 550 and then for the 718, 904, 908, 909, 910, 917 and 2005 RS Spyder racing cars. The marketing department picked it up and used it for the 2010 lighter weight Boxster Spyder. And for the 2013 918 Spyder which is the heaviest Porsche sports cars ever. Go figure.


Following the Porsche’s first overall victory at the 1966 Targa Florio road race, the abbrevation was used for the integrated rollbar open top 911 of 1967, As the 356 Cabriolet was discontinued in 1965, Porsche didn’t have a full cabriolet until 1983 and during that time the 911/912 Targa and the 914 served as the open top models. The Targa has a removable roof panel and that’s the reason 924’s, 944’s and 968’s which were equipped with the large removable roof panel are sometimes called Targa’s, too.
Automatic gearbox with manual gearchange control. The first Tiptronic was introduced for the 1990 964 Carrera 2 and it had 4 speeds. Later 5-, 6- and 8-speed units have been used in different models. Tiptronic gearbox was important for Porsche marketing department in coaxing customers from Mercedes and other luxury car brands. Tiptronic is patented by Porsche. Audi has used Porsche’s patent on its models from early on.

Tiptronic gearbox© Porsche


For the reason of cutting fuel consumption, Porsche created the variable valve lift technology in 1991. It was first used for the 968 models. The intake valve timing is varied by adjusting the tension in the timing chain.
VarioCam Plus
An advanced development of VarioCam that combines variable valve timing with two-stage lift on the intake side. The first Porsche engine to receive this was the 2001 996 Turbo.

VarioCam Plus© Porsche
VTG turbo
Variable Turbine Geometry means the turboscharger has blades that move depending on the engine speed. This way the main problem with the turbo engines, the turbo lag, is minimized. Porsche first used the VTG turbos in the 911 997 Turbo released in 2006. Porsche is not the inventor of VTG. Porsche is the first company to use VTG turbos in conjunction with gasoline engines where the turbine temperatures are higher than in diesel engines for which the VTG was developed in the 1990’s. Thanks to space technology materials that can tolerate 1000° C temperatures, the VTG technology was adapted for the Porsche gasoline engine.

VTG turbo