The sweet, sweet growl of the Porsche 911’s naturally aspirated flat-six is one of the finest sounds you can stuff into your ear-holes. Sadly, it’s about to be muffled by a turbocharger across the entire range soon, but did you know Porsche considered putting eight cylinders in their most famous car?
Yes, a flat-eight Porsche 911 was almost a thing. Or at least, Porsche’s engineers contemplated making it a thing. The UK’s Autocar reports that Porsche “seriously considered” such an engine, but scrapped it for space reasons.
Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who was previously powertrain boss at the Volkswagen Group, said a flat eight would have to be 5.0 litres in capacity and was “probably too big”.
Neusser said: “We have been in the pre-development phase with an engine like this, but we never did it.” He added that the future flat six Porsche engines would still be able to run to high revs. “Moving to turbocharging is not a problem; it will give us more freedom [in future engine design],” he said.
Damn, a 5.0-liter flat-eight 911? That sounds utterly ridiculous. I want one, hard. While Porsche has done eight-cylinder road cars before, most notably V8s in the 928, Panamera and Cayenne, the 911 range has always been six-cylinder only. (A few racing Porsches used flat-eights as well.) And now the 911 is going to turbo flat sixes across the entire range for emissions and fuel economy reasons.
Frankly, I’m amazed they considered an eight-cylinder 911 at all. Smaller and turbo-ier is the way all engines are going. Adding cylinders and displacement would be going against the grain pretty hard, even if it would have been awesome.
Guess we’re just gonna have to stick to our LS swaps if we want eight-cylinder 911s. For now. (Probably forever.)