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The New Porsche 911 “Wet Mode” Feature Can Hear Raindrops

Fender-mounted sensors actively listen and respond—so you can drive like Senna in the rain.

The eighth generation Porsche 911. Courtesy of Porsche

The brand new 2020 Porsche 911 has ears—and it’s actually listening to hear if it’s raining. If so, the car can adjust a number of settings all in hopes of giving you the best grip possible. Yes, seriously. 

The eighth-gen edition of its flagship car, the 911, boasts a new driver assistance feature, dubbed “wet mode,” that marries fender-mounted sensors to the car’s ECU. Some are acoustic, which the 992 uses to detect the splashing of water droplets, akin to how rain-sensing wipers work. Any bit of water flung up from the wheel would be detected, and the 911 will monitor the situation to ascertain how wet the conditions are. If the roads or track are indeed drenched, the 911 will alert the driver that the asphalt surface is less than ideal and suggest switching into wet mode. 

Follow the car’s prompt, and turn the knob on the steering wheel to “wet mode” and a number of handling characteristics change instantaneously. The torque curve is tweaked via a smoothing of the throttle response, and dual-clutch PDK-equipped models will deploy a modified shift strategy to mesh perfectly with the new torque curve. The distribution of torque also changes, with the 911 pushing more yank frontwards. The thresholds for the ABS and stability control increase in sensitivity, in a bid to help keep the 911 moving in the right direction. 

Some alterations to the aerodynamics can occur, too, should the car decide it’s necessary. Cooling slats in the 911’s front end can be manipulated, as can the rear spoiler, to help diminish the possibility of understeer or oversteer. 

Porsche stresses that the Wet Mode system is a support system, able to help the driver, but because it’s not a full nanny that restricts the total amount of power or reduces the top speed, you still have to know what you’re doing behind the wheel in the rain. It won’t save you from a wipeout if you’re driving poorly. But it’s a nice addition to an already-incredible machine and will likely be appreciated by future 2020 911 owners. 

 

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