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Porsche opens up on future direction of 911

EV off agenda as Porsche says next 911 could be smaller, sportier and bigger-engined

18 May 2020

PORSCHE AG’s global 911 and 718 model lines vice-president Frank-Steffen Walliser has outlined his vision for the future of the 911 which includes making one of the world’s most iconic sportscars smaller and even sportier compared to the latest 992 series.


Bigger-displacement engines, broader applications of turbocharging and a move into electrification with hybrid powertrains are also on the agenda, but a full-electric version of the 911 is not.


Speaking to Australian journalists last week ahead of the global debut of the 992-series 911 Targa, Mr Walliser said he would like to see the 911 become even more of a driver’s car with an added emphasis on sportiness while retaining its iconic design.


“Maybe I would do it a little more sporty than the 992 in general, but I have no complaints of this model,” he said.


“If I had a wish, for sure I would make it smaller, but this is a wish.”


Mr Walliser said he could also see a return to larger engine capacities within the next six years with the implementation of Euro 7 emissions regulations.


“In 2026 the next wave of regulations will come with EU7 that will be the worldwide toughest regulations,” he said.


“EU7 means we will see a big change then again because it means for everybody new engines and we will see bigger displacements coming back.


“A lot of manufacturers will jump from four to six (cylinders), from six to eight maybe again.”


Mr Walliser said he expects an average increase in capacity of around 20 per cent and that the regulations were “completely counterproductive” to the established CO2 regulations.


“That means all new engines and especially for the 911, this gets really, really difficult, but we will never give up,” he said.


“We want to keep six cylinders for sure, but we will have to make a new engine.”


Regardless of what happens to the displacement trends and cylinder counts, Mr Walliser said Porsche sees forced induction as the only solution going forward, specifically turbocharging.


“Within the next 10 years, I expect there will come a day when we have to say, ‘Now this is the last of its kind’ and we will see what engine concepts die,” he said.


Asked whether the 911 was in line for an all-electric powertrain following the recent global launch of the Taycan – Porsche’s first all-electric model – Mr Walliser said electrification was on the agenda, but only as a hybrid at this stage.


“Can I imagine an electric 911? No, not really,” he said.


“I think six cylinders, the specific layout of the car … everything is a really, really integral part of the 911 story.


“I definitely think we can do a very, very good electric sportscar but I do not intend to make an electric 911, that for me is too much.”


He said a hybrid 911 was possible, but would have to be the “right fit for the car”.


“A hybrid would be possible, but it should be a hybrid that really fits to the character of the 911,” Mr Walliser said.


“I would not say it would be a plug-in hybrid, I’d consider this too heavy for the 911 but if we have something more clever, then…”


Another traditional aspect of the 911 that Mr Walliser said he would keep for as long as possible was a manual transmission option.


None of the 911 variants currently being offered Down Under are available with the traditional stick shifter, something Mr Walliser said he expected to be rectified in the near future.


“Manual is really important for myself to keep it as long as possible again in the 911,” he said.


“Not in every variant, that will get tough but at least I want to see some variant that still have a manual.”


Mr Walliser said he expected a manual version of the Targa 4S to eventually make its way to Australia, thereby indicating that manual versions of the standard Carrera S and 4S could also be slated for this market.


So far this year ending April, Porsche has recorded 147 911 sales, enough to see it claim top honours as the best-selling $200,000-plus sportscar with a dominant 35.2 per cent market share.

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