The new 911 is coming and the re will be a hybrid model… New Porsche 992 911 is almost ready. Redesigned model range appears later this year. Hybrid model will be most powerful 911 yet, while GT3 could retain natural aspiration.
Porsche’s next 911 is nearly upon us. Codenamed 992, the new model will likely be shown in final production trim at the Los Angeles auto show in November, with UK sales kicking off early in 2019. More power and performance are a given. But it’s the 992’s broader package of features and technology, from digital instruments to a super-hot hybrid model, that will define what could be the most radical 911 yet. The least surprising elements of the new 992 range will come at launch in the form of the Carrera and Carrera S models. Powered by a revised version of the 3.0-litre motor introduced in the second generation Type-991 911 (991.2), the new base Carrera’s output is expected to swell 20hp to around 390 metric horsepower. The Carrera gets a 30hp boost for a nice, round 450hp – the same output as the current Carrera GTS.
Later in 2019, Porsche will roll out the new 911 Turbo with at least 600hp. Enough to match the outgoing Turbo S with the Exclusive Package, in other words. If all that is fairly predictable, it’s everything else that will represent a revolution for the iconic 911. First up are the related topics of hybrid power and platform technology.
Opinions are divided regarding the car’s core architecture. The UK’s Autocar magazine recently published details claiming the 992 is set to be built on a brand new architecture known as SAZ and shared with sibling marques in the larger VW Group, Audi and Lamborghini. Indeed, Autocar reckons the platform sharing has lead to conflict within the group concerning the location of the fuel tank. Traditionally it’s up front on the 911, while the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracan situate the tank behind the rear bulkhead.
However, Autocar’s version of events also includes Porsche continuing to use its composite aluminium and hot-formed steel architecture. That technology applied to the R8 and Huracan would require those models abandon their more advanced, in material terms, aluminium-carbon structures. The more likely alternative, perhaps, is that the 992 is based on a refreshed variant of the current 992 platform, just as the seemingly all-new Type-997 model was actually based on a heavily revised 996 platform. Only when the 992 is itself replaced will Porsche move to a shared architecture. If so, mark the 992 down as the very last 911 to be produced on a bespoke Porsche platform.
But what about hybrid power? Porsche’s head honcho Oliver Blume has confirmed in public that the new 992 has been engineered for plug-in hybrid capability. However, he also indicated that the hybrid 992 won’t be available immediately at launch but will appear at some point in the model’s life cycle. What he did reveal is that, just like the latest Panamera range, the hybrid model will sit atop the 911 range and be the most ‘powerful 911 ever’. Given the existence of the 700hp GT2 RS, that is quite a statement.
Inside, the 992 will feature a combo of throwback design elements and modern features. The driver’s instruments are wrapped in a binnacle that recalls the early air-cooled cars, as does a bold horizontal beam right across the dash. That’s counterpointed by high tech features like a central analogue rev counter flanked by a pair of high def displays, a further large LCD panel atop the central console and Panamera-style capacitive touch controls panels surrounding the gear selector.
Speaking of the latter, 992 development mules have been photographed with manual gear levers, so it seems likely that DIY gear selection will survive at least one more model refresh.
GET READY FOR 9500 RPM
The new 992 won’t be turbo-only after all Question. Will the new 992 series include any naturally aspirated engines? Some suspect the current second-generation 991 will be the last to offer an atmospheric flat six. After all, such engines have already been marginalised to low-volume specials like the GT3 and GT3 RS. Moreover, increasingly strict emissions regs and elements like the new petrol-engine particulate filter are making high-output atmospheric engines impossible, right?
Not necessarily. Head of the Porsche’s GT car engines, Thomas Mader, recently said that there’s more to come from the 4.0-litre flat six currently implemented in the GT3 and GT3 RS. “We’re working on that with our team, we’re looking at power, driveability, we’re looking towards the future,” he said, “development is going on, so we will see.” According to Mader, the 4.0-litre engine can be stroked for even greater capacity. The other alternative is even more revs, with Mader pointing out that the racing RSR uses essentially the same engine as the road GT3, but revs to 9500rpm. Mader acknowledges it won’t be straightforward to apply that technology to the road. But his overarching position is what matters. There’s a future for naturally aspirated engines.