Porsche, in developing the newest version of their signature sports car, wanted to ensure that it would be the most adaptable and future-facing of its lineage. Calibrated for the needs of today but ready for a potential upheaval in the way personal mobility is interpreted and most definitely what powers it.
Though it might not look like it from a casual glance, this 911 is from an all-new generation, succeeding the 991 that was introduced in 2011, here we are seven years on and only just acquainted with the 992.
From this point, all mainstream versions of the 911 Carrera will be turbocharged from the get-go, a change that was instrumented during its predecessor’s reign, but the pursuit of cleaner emissions and improved fuel efficiency has necessitated Porsche to look in a direction it has been eyeing up for some time.
Resultantly, each new 911 will have been built upon a platform ripe to take advantage of mild-hybrid technology as well as plug-in hybrid drivetrains to augment its 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged flat-six petrol engine. In the limited run 918 Spyder hypercar, Zuffenhausen proved that electrification could open doors to new dimensions of high performance if implemented correctly.
In an interview with UK’s Autocar, the company’s head of sports car development, August Achleitner, shed more light on what we can expect to see in upcoming variants of the 992, including the inevitable arrival of a series production version not powered exclusively by internal combustion, even groundwork that could lead to a full battery-powered 911 EV.
With the 992, Porsche had to make substantial reconfigurations of the 911’s mechanical components to free up enough space in its already tight rear drivetrain cavity for a disc-shaped electric motor sandwiched next to the dual-clutch automatic gearbox produced by ZF.
Achleitner says that much of the progress there was achieved by downsizing the gearset to allow for a more compact transmission housing, freeing up a whopping 100mm over the previous car. And because electric motors only add more torque to the equation, adjustments were made to the component tolerances to safely accommodate more twist. Consequently, the new batch of PDKs are now rated for “over 800Nm”.
In addition, the driveline and all-wheel drive system had to be modified to allow for up to 50 percent of drive to be distributed to the front axle and it has ditched the electromechanical brake boosters in favour of a fully electric system that allows for much better energy recuperation to recharge its battery reserves.
In terms of performance, Achleitner was hesitant to divulge details on these electrically augmented 911s, but did point to the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid to be a fair reference point into what’s possible. Due to its 99kW electric motor aiding its 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8, the super saloon is claimed to produce a system output of 500kW and 850Nm, able to send the 2.4-tonne saloon to 100km/h in around 3.4 seconds.
With that in mind, Porsche might choose to shoehorn the same 14.1kWh lithium ion battery pack into the 911 as well. Due to its much lighter weight, a hybrid 911 should be able to greatly exceed the Panamera’s 50km fully electric range.
Naturally, batteries will be placed at the front of the vehicle for optimum packing and weight distribution, and an upside of this is a lower centre of gravity as these cells are able to be arranged and set as close to the ground as possible.