The Porsche 911 is, in automotive terms, a legend in its own time. Of course, it’s accomplished that in part by being a legend in many times past, to boot; over the course of more than five decades in continuous production, it’s slowly but continuously evolved, growing larger, more powerful and more technologically advanced with every generation. The current 992-generation represents the culmination of that trend; it’s more capable and impressive than ever, whether in basic Carrera or range-topping Turbo S form.
But in five years’ time, this recently-arrived 911 could be seen as the end of an era for the world’s most famous rear-engined sports car.
At least, that’s according to Porsche North America CEO Klaus Zellmer, who said as much to Hagerty during a recent interview. More specifically, he placed the car into the context of the many powertrain evolutions that the 911 has seen over the years.
“We knew when we changed over from the air-cooled 993 to the water-cooled 996 that it was a milestone by definition,” Zellmer said. “We knew when we changed over to the 991 generation it would not be naturally aspirated anymore…that it was a game-changer.
“I can’t tell you what the next generation after the 992 will look like, but I can say that when we look back in five years at the 991, and the 992, we might say ‘Wow, that car with that technology was actually really unique for its time’…The transition time is so compressed with new technology and the need to make radical changes, we are looking at cars coming out now that might be truly unique in five years.”
Read between the lines, and it’s not hard to see where Zellmer is going with this — especially seeing as how he also mentioned Porsche’s previously stated plan to push its lineup to 50 percent EVs and plug-in hybrids by 2025: the Porsche 911 is going hybrid.
Based on Zellner’s remarks, it sounds as though the outgoing 991 generation will be the final one to go its entire life without an electrified variant, but his inclusion of the 992 suggests that the 911s currently on sale will also be seen as unique. Considering that Porsche has made a tradition out of doing a hefty mid-life upgrade for each 911 generation that includes a revised powertrain — the 991.2 was when every 911 save the GT3 added turbochargers to its flat-six, for example — our educated guess is that the 992.2 refresh will bring a hybrid variant.
To be fair, perhaps this big twist should be phrased less as “the Porsche 911 is going hybrid” and more as “the Porsche 911 is finally going hybrid.” Rumors and reports have swirled for years about the Neun Elfer adding electric power to its capabilities; after all, the company first tested the waters with a hybrid 911 race car a full decade ago. Indeed, we’ve been waiting so long, Porsche tuner Vonnen took matters into its own hands and offers a seamless hybrid add-on kit for the 911.
What sort of hybrid setup the 911 will boast, however, remains to be seen. Porsche’s own messaging has been mixed on it. August Achleitner, the recently-retired man in charge of the 911 product line, suggested it would be a plug-in hybrid last year, as did Zellmer himself back in 2018. But late last year, CEO Oliver Blume spun a different tale to Top Gear, saying “It won’t have the extra weight of batteries, it will be a non-plug-in hybrid.”
Given both the recency and superiority of the latter source, we’re inclined to believe the 911 hybrid will indeed be a simple hybrid, more in line with the 919 Hybrid race car. As Blume also said the hybrid version “will be the highest-performance 911 of all,” it seems possible that the company will roll it out in one of its track-ready RS models — either the 911 GT3 RS or the turbocharged 911 GT2 RS.
With the Taycan already redefining expectations as to what a Porsche (and an electric car) can be, the Cayenne and Panamera lineups topped with PHEV Turbo S models, and the Macan (and possibly 718 Boxster and Cayman) poised to turn into EVs in the near future, the idea that the 911 should be left behind seems practically absurd. And considering that Porsche has been relentlessly improving its icon for 56 years already…we’re excited to see what the next improvement will bring.
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