PORSCHE 911/993, Carrera 2, 6-spd manual

Who would set out to improve on the 'best of the best'? Surely Porsche with all its experience must have programmed the black box with the 'ultimate' settings. YES and NO. Porsche is no different to any other manufacturer when it comes to meeting emissions standards or engineering for 'safe' engine performance. Of course any mistakes made in over-boosting performance, could prove mightily expensive at the warranty claim end of the business. So, once again, the settings tend to be 'conservative' - even for Porsche.

THE CHIP

Powerchip claims a 33 horsepower gain over the standard engine with significant increases in low-end torque. The chip has been remapped for both part the full-throttle settings for improved driveability. The standard fuel overrun cut-off fuel completely when you lift

your foot off the accelerator, producing good fuel economy, but hesitant pickup and driveline shunt. With the chip, this is removed. The Powerchip program also increases fuel flow for better dynamic response and increased power. A slight increase in fuel consumption overall, for a significant improvement in power. Cost $650.00. The car was also equipped with a Fitzgerald Racing custom exhaust system.

THE TEST

Back-to-back standing start tests conducted on a dump track revealed the Porsche was quicker in standard trim to 100km/h, and slightly quicker over the standing quarter. However, the standard exhaust note was ragged and blurty, suggesting some mild form of 'traction control' built into the standard ECU. Certainly the car did not spin the wheels on getaway as easily as it did with the

reprogrammed chip.

In-gear figures were another matter. The replacement chip provided handy gains in almost every speed interval in every gear - including a full second in fifth in the crucial 80-120km/h bracket. The car was noticeably smoother on up and down shifts with less rpm 'drop off'.

At the top end of the power curve, the reprogrammed chip provided around 450 more rpm peaking at 6250rpm as apposed to the standard 5800rpm.

This car is always a joy to drive, but is now smoother and slightly quicker in the passing ranges. For less than 0.5% of the purchase price, the replacement chip looks like sound value for money. It does not adversely affect emissions, shows only a minimal increase in fuel consumption and passed through a Porsche service without comment.

PORSCHE 911/993, Carrera 2, 6-spd manual
Std Powerchip
0-100km/h 5.72 5.85
S 1/4 13.83 13.93
60-100km/h (3rd gear) 4.39 3.45
60-100km/h (4th gear) 5.73 5.15
80-120km/h (4th gear) 5.48 4.52
80-120km/h (5th gear) 7.26 6.68
*Standard times performed in the dry - Powerchip figures in the wet.

HOLDEN VS Commodore, V6, Auto

A bread-and-butter family car, the 3.8-litre Commodore V6 auto is not a bad package on the road, the result of a continuous refinement program. Today's Commodore is far removed from the first models introduced back in the late '70s, but just the same took on a new lease of life with the addition of a chip, replacement air filter and new cold-air induction box.

THE CHIP

Nine kW is the power boost claimed from Powerchip for the VS Commodore - lifting the engine's output from 147kW to 156kW. Not too significant we hear you say - but what the chip does is completely reprogram the electronic

transmission in the auto to resemble that of the HSV models with harder, firmer shifts for better acceleration.

The changes also provide higher lockup points in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears. The Chip provides better fuelling and more spark advance to add power in both the mid and top-end ranges while smoothing out the idle - probably Commodore's most annoying drawback. The Powerchip MemCal replacement costs just $340 - you also keep the original MemCal.

THE TEST

In the back-to-back tests using our electronic equipment, the Powerchip-

equipped Commodore (running in Power Mode) showed significant gains in both the 60-100km/h passing ranges.

However, it was on the oval track of the Thunderdome that the real significance of the changes showed up. The car was a full 20km/h faster coming of the back straight on the Thunderdome Bowl than when equipped with standard MemCal. In fact, the difference in driveable performance was so great we re-run the tests again just to be sure. The result was unchanged.

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