Will they or won’t they have a manual transmission on the 911? What about the engine? Will the next 911 be mid-engine or no? But Porsche told an outlet “maybe” or “we’ll consider it” last month and they took it as the supreme gospel truth? Let’s face it, everybody, Porsche is the world’s biggest troll.
Porsche’s latest bit of trolling? Some rumblings about the 911 maybe going mid-engine, as Porsche Head of GT Cars Andreas Preuninger told Autocar:
There is nothing coming soon, but in the mid-term don’t rule [a mid-engined 911] out. I think that adding some excitement to the car in this way wouldn’t be bad.
Do note: “nothing coming soon.” Part of me wonders if this was in response to a leading question that wasn’t printed in Autocar’s article, but who wouldn’t say no to looking into a mid-engine 911? It’s neat, it’s what they race—why not?
Porsche Vice President of Motorsport Frank-Steffen Walliser also confirmed to Autocar that there had been a high level of customer interest in a mid-engine 911. This I can believe: Porsche customers always dream of owning a barely road-legal version of the brand’s flagship GT race car. Walliser also noted that Porsche has a history of responding to customer demand, as they did in adding a manual transmission back to the 2018 911 GT3.
But let’s be honest: these statements sound like a more polished version of “Yeah, sure, that sounds cool,” not unlike Dodge’s “I’d love to”-style responses they give every time they’re asked if they’re ever returning to NASCAR. That being said, this attitude from Porsche is a complete 180 from Walliser’s statement just four months ago that “no production car with this layout is planned.”
If they build it, it won’t be too hard. As Autocar notes, Porsche’s GT cars are always homologated as two-seaters, which is why cars like the 911 GT3 RS have a carpeted “parcel shelf” instead of human butt space behind the front seats. They’ve figured out the packaging on how make a mid-ship 911 RSR happen, and they’ve already raced it.
But I believe that any mid-engine 911 would have to be a limited edition akin to the GT3 and GT3 RS, as the buyers of Porsche’s less track-focused 911s often use that back seat space for everything from kid seats to groceries. They would righteously cry foul about having an engine in that space. Fortunately for these 911 buyers, spy shots taken by Motor1 of the next 911 show a clear view—not an engine—through the car’s rear windows. Don’t panic yet.
Either way, I know exactly what’s going on with this: this carefully laid out batch of maybes and mights is the trolling dance Porsche always does between models to keep their cars in the news.
A cursory glance at our previous coverage of the Porsche 911 GT3 is a good example: every time someone at Porsche says they might add, drop or otherwise tweak a feature beloved by its purist-heavy fanbase, we eat it up like internet gold. Porsche’s higher-ups know how we work, but you know what? We’re on to what they’re doing, too.
If there is a master troll at Porsche, it would certainly be Preuninger. The GT-series cars he heads up—GT2s, GT3s, and the like—are the most followed and most coveted by the Porsche faithful. Every detail about those cars is big news, so he runs his mouth even when there aren’t details to share yet. Despite the existence of a manual that would likely be easy to offer on the new GT3 RS, he’s already shot down the idea that one is coming to the next-gen RS—and yes, we ate that statement up, too. We do every time.
As far as anyone at Jalopnik can tell, Preuninger’s inability to say “no comment” on future models is just a way to build hype for the brand and keep Porsche at the forefront of every headline.
Given the fact that we’re talking about Porsches right now and our Porsche Club of America region keeps getting bigger and bigger every year, I’d say it works. Who wouldn’t want a car with this kind of rabid following?