PORSCHE is investigating a new range of turbocharged flat-six engines for the 911, with the only member of the clan likely to stick to atmo induction being the forthcoming GT3 RS.
You already know why: emissions. Although Porsche is part of Volkswagen Group when it comes to meeting the EU’s increasingly stringent CO2 targets, the sportscar brand is still committed to boosting eco performance of all its models by 15 percent generation-on-generation.
“We have to respect the legal requirements,” company R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz told journalists at the Detroit motor show, “but don’t worry, if we have a turbocharged engine it will rev, it will deliver.”
The new powerplants are likely closely related to the turbocharged flat-four engines that are being developed for the Cayman and Boxster, but while the 911 will get the turbo sixes at its mid-life refresh later this year, the four-cylinder won’t be introduced until 2017. And Hatz categorically ruled out the idea that the smaller engine might find its way into the 911 to create a modern take on the 912. “We don’t have a problem with a four-cylinder sportscar,” he said, “but never on the 911. The 911 has to remain flat-six.”
Hatz confirmed the new turbocharged sixes are closely related to the naturally aspirated motor that’s being developed for the forthcoming 911 GT3 RS, which we’ll be seeing for the first time at the Geneva motor show in March.
This looks set to be a beast, with Hatz promising it will be far more extreme when compared to the standard GT3 than the last-generation ‘997’ GT3 RS was, to the extent the company is undecided as to whether or not to produce a GT2 variant. And, although it will launch with a PDK transmission, he said that active consideration is being given to offering it with a manual gearbox later on, at least in some territories.
Of course, this means that within a couple of years the GT3 RS might be the only non-turbocharged Porsche left in production, although Hatz did say he personally believes that natural aspiration is “something very special.”
Beyond the ‘991’ 911, he also confirmed that Porsche is looking to introduce hybrid assistance to the next generation model, due in 2019 or 2020, as the only way to trim emissions further without sacrificing performance. We live in interesting times.