The Most Powerful 992 Porsche 911 Could Be A Hybrid: Report

Illustration for article titled The Most Powerful 992 Porsche 911 Could Be A Hybrid: Report

The 2020 Porsche 911 unveiled at the LA Auto Show this past week doesn’t look a whole lot different from its predecessors, but it’s all-new under the skin—and much quicker. But for years there’s been rumors and reports that this generation, the 992, would be the one to get hybrid power. Now Porsche says if that happens, it’ll be a few years away on the updated version of this car, presumably called 992.2.

That’s from the UK’s Auto Express, which got this interview at the show this week:

The new 992 generation of the iconic sports car, which was launched at the LA Motor Show, has been developed to adopt hybrid technology, but 911 product line director August Achleitner has confirmed we won’t see such a model for some time. “It will be the next evolution of this car, that means at least four years from today,” Achleitner told us.

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That makes sense, and if so it’ll come at a time when a ton of other automakers—including Porsche’s cousins in the Volkswagen Group—will be going hard on electrified cars, from hybrids to full-on EVs.

But that’s not the really interesting part. That would be the possibility that the top performance 992 could be a hybrid model, almost like a smaller 918 Spyder:

However, there could be the possibility of two hybrid 911s: one to sit in the middle of the range as an alternative to the regular Carrera model, and then another positioned at the top of the range, potentially alongside the flagship 911 Turbo.

Auto Express understands there’s a passionate debate in play among Porsche engineers and decision-makers surrounding the creation of a top-flight 911 hybrid. The sports car is a precious commodity to Porsche, so comes under the biggest scrutiny of all in terms of future development.

Porsche insiders say the lessons learned from the 918 Spyder and Cayenne E-Hybrid projects will help them maintain the 911’s agility. Engineers are not currently happy the weight and performance today’s batteries would bring, hence the delay in developing such a model.

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My mind goes to the new hybrid twin-turbo Acura NSX, which is one of the most impressive and potent new cars on the market. That car feels like a Ferrari and a Tesla had a baby. If Porsche took a similar approach with the 911, it could be one hell of a performer.

Indeed, Auto Express says that top hybrid 911 won’t be like the PHEV Cayenne E-Hybrid or Panamera E-Hybrid, which are very expensive, heavy and are more focused on fuel economy and electric range than tire smoking. Your Jalopnik staff recently drove the Panamera E-Hybrid and will have a review out soon, but let’s just say it’s not the gateway drug to a Tesla-slaying Porsche Taycan like we thought it might be. A 911 hybrid would have to be a lot more hardcore, and Porsche seems to get that.

So Porsche’s got a few years to figure out how to make a 911 hybrid that its buyers will actually want, and that won’t suffer from some huge weight penalty. I’m excited to see if they can pull it off.

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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DISCUSSION

I know a lot of gearheads don’t want to hear it, but Porsche pretty much has to do this because a lot of customers that buy high performance Teslas end up getting used to the immediate torque response that no traditional powertrain can provide. Obviously a 911 is still a much better track vehicle but a lot of buyers really just drive the cars on the street so to get those buyers back they have to have provide an option that gives you that instant shove. You can already see just how many street vehicle buyers want that instant torque-60% of Panamera sales in Europe are the Hybrid model (source: https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hy-auto-show-porsche-taycan-qa-20181130-story.html).

It’s definitely tricky for Porsche here because on the 911 they can’t sacrifice the track capabilities of the car. I think they’ll be able to pull this off but the real issue is that this top end hybrid trim is probably going to be insanely expensive.