Despite images of official camouflaged cars having been published and numerous prototypes spotted testing, we still don’t know what the next-generation Porsche 911, the 992 model, will look like. However, a greater number of details have been announced about the new car’s engine, gearbox and body.
The new Porsche 911, which will be officially unveiled later this year at the LA motor show, will be launched in Carrera S guise with the same basic 3-litre turbocharged flat-six engine as before. However, for the new car, the S’s engine will have a similar output to the previous-generation GTS’s motor, so around 450bhp and good for an estimated 0-62mph time of 4.0sec – 0.3sec faster than the outgoing Carrera S and 0.1sec faster than the rear-wheel-drive GTS.
> Find out what the current Porsche 911 is like to drive
Porsche has made alterations to the Carrera’s engine so that it can make the desired power and meet new emissions regulations. The flat-six in the 992 features a new intake system, injectors and intercoolers as well as particulate filters in the exhausts. Despite the added bulk of the filters, Porsche has made the new car the same weight as the outgoing model with more extensive use of aluminium in its overall construction.
The first wave of 992 cars will all have PDK gearboxes – a new eight-speed dual-clutch ’box with space for an electric motor to be incorporated. The seven-speed manual taken straight from the 991 will be available next year, along with the less powerful base Carrera model with approximately 385bhp.
The Carrera line-up will be further bolstered by the 4 and 4S – the all-wheel-drive models – soon, too. However, all the 992-generation Carreras will use the same body width; there won’t be narrow-body versions for the rear-wheel-drive models, and Carreras will be as wide as the outgoing 991 GTS (1852mm). It’s expected that the Turbo models – that, along with the GT models will be unveiled in the next 12 to 18 months – will have an even wider bodyshell, just as before.
Like the current GT3 RS and GT2 RS, the Carrera S will be fitted with larger-diameter rear wheels compared to the front. As standard, the S will come with 20-inch front wheels and 21-inch rears. Porsche hasn’t revealed anything more about the chassis’ mechanical construction, but we do know there will be an extra driving mode that alters the chassis and drivetrain’s electronic control. The new mode will automatically activate when the car detects it is driving in wet weather thanks to sensors in the front wheelarches. There will also be a selectable Wet mode (along with the Normal, Sport, Sport + and Individual modes), should the driver want a greater amount of assistance in really slippery conditions.
That isn’t where the electronic assistant systems end, as on the new 911 there will be the options of lane keep assist, lane departure warning and night vision. There will be keyless entry, too, and the new flush-looking door handles will pop out when the driver approaches.
From what we’ve seen of the all-new 911, even though it is disguised by stickers and wraps, it maintains the old car’s basic aesthetic, as it has for over 50 years. However, there is cleaner, crisper detailing evident in these rudimentary images.
Under the new skin, Porsche has revealed that it won’t rule out adding an electric drivetrain to its core sports car, the 911. In an interview in Porsche’s own customer magazine, the director of the 911 model line, August Achleitner, declared his appreciation for the marque’s upcoming electric car, the Mission E.
But, Achleitner did confirm that the next-generation 911, the 992 chassis, would not be a pure electric sports car and that the flat-six engine is currently core to its character. But, as mentioned above, there is a provision, thanks to the new gearbox, to include an electric motor. In subsequent interviews, Achleitner said Porsche was not happy with the performance of the hybrid versions, specifically the batteries. Presumably, the extra weight they add negates the advantage of having the hybrid system on board.
Encouragingly, as a man in charge of Porsche’s most iconic model, Achleitner was very clear that adding new technology to the 911, like electrification and connectivity, must not come at the expense of the car’s unique feel. ‘With each innovation, the decisive factor for me is whether it suits the character of the 911.’ Even though he could see a future where the 911 is an electric car, Achleitner is less convinced there will ever be a fully autonomous version: ‘A 911 will always have a steering wheel.’
What will the next generation 2019 Porsche 911 look like?
As well as hinting what the 911 might be like in the far future, Achleitner disclosed his philosophy behind how the look of the next 911 might evolve from that of the 991. In true Porsche fashion the new car won’t be a radical departure from what we’ve seen before, but for good reason. He wants the 911 to be timeless, and he sees subtlety as the best way to achieve that: ‘Even where the public might be expecting a bigger “wow factor”, in the long run a certain aesthetic reserve pays dividends.’
Although we’ve only seen disguised shots of the next-generation 911, the 992, the biggest changes to its exterior look to be concentrated around the rear. They show the car with a light that stretches across the entire rear like on the current Carrera 4S. This car could be the next-generation Carrera 4S or, like the latest Panamera and Cayenne, it could be that every car in the 911 range will get a full-width rear light bar. It wouldn’t be the first time – both the 964 and 993 generation 911s had a similar design feature. The similarity to the 993 isn’t limited to a rear light bar, as the squared-off bonnet with matching bumper and wings is reminiscent of the ’90s 911, too.
> Click here for our passenger ride in the new Porsche Cayenne Turbo
What will the 992 Porsche 911 interior look like?
An interior shot of the next-generation Porsche 911 has emerged, showing a full view of the inside of the upcoming model with very few elements disguised. As expected, there’s a Panamera-style centre console with gloss black surfaces and very few buttons. There’s also a wide infotainment screen in the centre of the dash with the same clean, black and white graphics that made a debut on the Panamera.
> Click here for our review of the Porsche Panamera
Between the gloss black panels we can see the new PDK gear selector. Rather than the tall ball-topped lever that the current car uses, this is a small, rectangular-shaped device. It looks as though it isn’t designed to change up or down through the ratios, however, and is just used to select drive, reverse or park. The wheel-mounted paddles could be the only way to manually change gears.
On the manual-gearbox version, we hope that the location of the cup holder we can see in this latest spy shot – not far behind the PDK gear selector – is moved. It looks to be in the exact place that your elbow will sit when you’re changing gear.
The 911’s famous five-dial instruments have also changed significantly; two screens have replaced the outer four dials. These displays look, from the picture, as though they can be configured to look like four dials but we suspect the two pairs can be combined to create two bigger screens, much like the Panamera’s dash. Purists can breathe a sigh of relief, however, because the centre dial is still a proper analogue rev counter.
The design of the steering wheel has also been altered. Thankfully not dramatically, considering how well received the 918-style steering wheel has been on modern Porsches. What we can see, however, is a collection of buttons filling in the two horizontal spokes that, it’s safe to assume, control the infotainment and dash displays.