Real Talk From Walter Röhrl On Porsche's New Smaller 911 Turbo Engines

Illustration for article titled Real Talk From Walter Röhrl On Porsche's New Smaller 911 Turbo Engines

Porsche has confirmed that pretty soon, just about every 911 will be a 911 with a turbo. (Where that leaves the 911 Turbo is unclear.) Like everyone, their engines are going smaller and turbocharged, and legendary racing driver Walter Röhrl, of all people, let loose with the details.

Speaking at an event in Sweden to Australia's Wheels Magazine, Röhrl said that testing is already underway for the facelifted 991 and its fancy new smaller turbo engines. He said he's driven them, and that the new 911 Carrera will get a 2.7-liter turbo flat six, and the Carrera S will get a 3.0-liter turbo flat six.

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That's quite a bit smaller than the current engines. A base 911 Carrera now has a 3.4-liter six, and the Carrera S has a 3.8-liter six. Both are naturally aspirated, obviously.

Röhrl also disclosed how much power the new engines will make: about 350 horsepower for the 2.7 and about 430 horsepower for the 3.0. The first is on par with the current car, and the latter is a nice 30 horsepower bump over today's Carrera S. No word on torque yet.

Porsche is downsizing for the same reason everyone else is, to boost fuel economy and reduce emissions. But like a lot of folks, Röhrl isn't too thrilled about the move to an all-turbo (save for the GT3 and GT3 RS) lineup.

"But no matter how good a turbo engine is, it can never have the pure response of a naturally aspirated engine. This is the reason I bought a Boxster Spyder, because engines like this won't be made anymore."

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Speaking of sound, he didn't have nice things to say about the forthcoming turbo flat fours in the next Cayman and Boxster, at least in their current phase:

"At least it's not a four-cylinder turbo like in the next Boxster. That sounds like a Volkswagen Beetle, I'm not kidding you! I tell the guys, 'You're joking with this sound, right?' But they just say they are working on it. I'm sure they will get it right."

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Some real talk from Walter Röhrl.

Hat tip to K-Roll-PorscheTamer on Oppotown!

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DISCUSSION

Congruent to Walter sharing with us that he's bought a Boxster Spyder - for it's pure naturally aspirated engine and unadulterated driving experience - I've began thinking very hard about buying a Cayman GT4 as both a bit of an investment (think 1M Coupe, 911 GTX cars, lightweight Ferraris,...) and to own a car that'll be one of the last beacons for driving joy as we've known it.

So yesterday I emailed my local Porsche dealer regarding available build slots for the GT4 Cayman, and the reply was that "many deposits have already been taken, there will be limited allocations, and there is no information yet on production numbers and # of build slots." I suspect the response will be another 10x less motivating for the 991 GT3 RS. The tough bit is that you can't test drive these cars. You have to put a blind order in. And the first year of production will be PDK-only, which makes it a tough decision on whether I should park my money in an already appreciating, at the bottom of their depreciation curve, 997(.2) GT3 (RS).

The way I see it,... if you have a bit of cash to burn, and you're a proper gearhead looking to potentially not lose a ton of money, you have a few choices: Ferrari Scuderia, Porsche 911 GT3 of any kind (except 2014 991 GT3), order Cayman GTS, BMW 1M Coupe, put an order in for the BMW M2, or further down the row of possibilities, a 2010+ Aston Martin Vantage S / N420 / GT Coupe 6-speed or an E92 M3 Coupe Competition package. I don't know much about American cars,... I'm sure there are a few last greats in there as well, especially the limited run massive horsepower ones.

A friend bought a 458 Speciale,... and of course that's an instant winner. I mentioned the Scuderia because they're available, and they've already risen back up in value 20-30% in 2014, and I failed to mention the Challenge Stradale because they're a real pain to maintain. Although they have surpassed the Scuderia in used value since fewer were made.

I suppose from all of my suggestions, an RS Porsche is the safest bet. Just look at what the lightweight Porsches from the 70's are at in terms of value and desireability. They're the first to get sold at the auction block. And they're not producing any more 997s... I can see the 997 RS values go up to the $300-500k range in next 10 years.

Any thoughts, Jalops?