New-generation sports car gains vintage-inspired looks and high-tech features

Introduced in 2011, the 991-generation was updated in 2016 and it’s now getting ready for retirement as Porsche is preparing to roll out a brand-new version of the sports car. Called the 992, the new-generation 911 is almost ready to make its global debut, with production-ready prototypes spotted on public roads quite often in the first half of 2018.

The 992-gen 911 was somewhat of a mystery in the last couple of years, but Porsche’s recent test cars hit the streets almost camo-free. Sure, drivetrain details are still being kept in the vault, but the upcoming sports car has nothing to hide as far as design goes. Find out more about that in the speculative review below and stay tuned for updates.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2019 Porsche 911.

Spy Shots

March 28, 2017 - Next Porsche 911 caught testing at Nurburgring

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March 14, 2017 - Next Porsche 911 caught with the spoiler down

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February 1st, 2017 - Next Porsche 911 caught playing in the snow

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November 9, 2016 - Next Porsche 911 goes testing at Nurburgring

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November 25, 2015 - First testing session

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Exterior

  • Redesigned bumpers
  • Vintage-design trunk and engine lid
  • Slim taillights with full-width light bar
  • New exhaust layout
  • Aggressive rear diffuser
  • New retractable spoiler
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While early mules used the shell of the outgoing 911 and didn’t provide hints as to what will change with the redesign, the test cars that Porsche brought to the streets in 2018 had significant modifications. Not surprisingly, the new design is still highly recognizable as a 911, but certain revisions make it stand out next to the outgoing model.

The teaser provides a few more details, but the fact that car was almost completely wrapped in black-and-white swirl continued to keep some of the more important body lines hidden from the eye.

Fortunately, our paparazzi caught a camo-free car testing in the wild and the new design is now in the open.
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The new front fascia stands out through three major changes. First up, the headlamps have a new LED layout under the lens.

While it retains the four-point design, the LED lights were repositioned. The same goes for the main lights, which are stacked. Next up is the bumper, which features new surrounds for the side vents. These are finished in black and feature thin horizontal slats. They also include slender daytime running lights. The center section is different too, being narrower than on the previous model. It also has a rectangular shape, which makes the bumper look more aggressive. Finally, the trunk lid is now narrower and more angular toward the nose. This design seems inspired from the original 911.

There aren’t many changes to talk about around the sides, except from the slightly remodeled rear fenders, the new door handles, and the revised mirror caps. However, the rear section sports even more changes than the front fascia.

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The taillights are slimmer and seem based on the Mission E Concept, also featuring the thinner bar across the fascia with "Porsche" lettering.

The retractable spoiler is larger than before and extends just above the taillights. The way it moves is also unique, as it’s fully integrated into the bodywork when not in use. The hood grille has also been changed, now looking similar to the original 911. The new design also includes a red stop light in the center. The rear bumper is new, integrating a big, trapezoidal license plate recess and quad-exhaust pipes that sit closer to the center section. The black-painted apron and the way the exhaust outlets are integrated in there remind me of the Porsche 959.

The rear shot also shows that the upcoming 911 is significantly wider than the outgoing version. This should result in a more aggressive stance, as well as increased stability due to the wider tracks.

Like the current model, the next-gen car will also become available in convertible and targa body styles. Naturally, the Carrera, Turbo, and GTS models will have their own unique features on the outside.

Interior

  • Could be based on 918 Spyder
  • New sports seats
  • Premium features
  • State-of-the-art tech
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The interior of the next 911 is a complete mystery and this is where the 992 could differ significantly from the 991. Porsche will likely redesign the entire dashboard and build a new center console with a more ergonomic button layout.

The instrument cluster will also be revised, as will the steering wheel, which could be heavily based on the [18 Spyder's.

By the time the new 911 arrives, Porsche will also have developed a new infotainment system, which will bring a larger touchscreen, improved connectivity, and numerous cool features to use at the track. The seats will also be redesigned to offer improved comfort and better support during cornering.

As with most redesigns, the 992-generation 911 should come with improved, softer materials, new upholstery color combos, and enhanced customizing options. We should find out more in the first months of 2018 when near-production-ready prototypes are expected to hit the road.

Drivetrain

  • Only turbocharged engines
  • Between 380 and 610 horsepower
  • Hybrid model very likely
  • All-electric version possible
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Not much is known about the next-gen 911’s drivetrain, at least not officially, but the one thing I’m sure of is that the Carrera and Carrera S models will use the turbocharged, 3.0-liter, inline-six engine.

The mill was introduced with the 991.2 facelift in 2016 and replaced both the naturally aspirated 3.4- and 3.8-liter powerplants. Since they were brand-new for 2017, the 3.0-liter turbo will be used on the next-gen Carrera and Carrera S as well, albeit with some improvements.

In the current-gen 911, the six-cylinder pumps out 370 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque in the Carrera and 420 horsepower and 368 pound-feet of twist in the Carrera S. Both versions should crank out a bit more oomph, likely in excess of 380 and 430 horsepower, respectively. Improvement might not be massive since the new 911 will be lighter.

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Moving over to the 911 Turbo and Turbo S, things are a bit more complicated. The current versions use turbocharged, 3.8-liter flat-six mills that crank out 540 horsepower in the Turbo and 580 horses in the Turbo S. Porsche is likely to update these units for the new-generation models, but a brand-new engine design is possible as well. Whatever the case, the next Turbo should get a significant power update. Look for a 570-horsepower Turbo and a 610-horsepower Turbo S.

Although Porsche has yet to confirm it, a hybrid model is also in the works.

However, there’s no information as to what gasoline engine the German might combine with one or more electric motors. The V-6 in the Cayenne and Panamera hybrid models is an option, as the 918’s V-8 system is probably too large for the 911, but Porsche will definitely use the valuable lessons it learned while developing the supercar. One option would be the 919 race car’s hybrid drivetrain that includes a flat-four, but Porsche could also create a brand-new combo for the 911.

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Finally, there are rumors that Porsche might also offer an all-electric 911, fueled by the unveiling of the Mission E concept in 2015 and the confirmation that the four-door sedan will go into production under the name Taycan.

August Achleitner, the director of the 911 model line, actually confirmed that Porsche is indeed considering electrification, assuming that it will fit the specific character of the sports car. "I drove the prototype of our coming electric sports car, the Mission E, and it was a very compelling experience. And the performance of the Porsche LMP race cars with hybrid drive systems is quite simply sensational,” he said in a statement, adding that he can imagine an electric motor in the 911.

Prices

It’s obviously too early to talk about pricing at this point, but considering that the current 911 starts from $91,100, it’s safe to assume that the next-gen sports car will fetch nearly $100K before options. The 911 Turbo will cost at least $165,000, while the Turbo S could retail from nearly $200,000.

Competition

Jaguar F-Type

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The F-Type might come in a different engine layout that the 911, but it’s available with an array of engines and comes in both coupe and convertible guises. The fact that it’s gorgeous and powerful also makes it a proper competitor for the Porsche. In basic trim, the F-Type is offered with a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Next up is the supercharged, 3.0-liter V-6 engine delivering either 340, 380, or 400 horsepower. More power can be had with the F-Type R, which uses a supercharged, 5.0-liter V-8 rated at 550 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices include the eight-speed automatic and the newer six-speed manual. Jaguar also offers an AWD system. Though it’s not as quick as the 911 Turbo with a 0-to-60 mph sprint of 3.9 seconds, the F-Type has the advantage of being significantly more affordable thanks to its $59,900 sticker.

Find out more about the Jaguar F-Type.

Mclaren 570S

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McLaren’s first venture into this niche, the 570S was developed as a competitor for the 911 Turbo. Using a mid-mounted V-8 engine in the form of a turbocharged, 3.8-liter unit, the 570S benefits from 562 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. However, the 570S is a bit slower in a straight line, needing 3.2 seconds to hit 62 mph before topping out at 204 mph. On the flipside, the British sports car is no fewer than 642 pounds lighter than the Turbo S at 2,895 pounds. Pricing starts from $184,900.

Read more about the McLaren 570S.

Conclusion

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Granted, we don’t know much about the next-generation 911 and drawing a proper conclusion is impossible at this point. If past models are any indication, however, the 992-gen 911 should be a significant improvement over its predecessor and hit the market as one of the quickest and most powerful sports cars in this niche. Should a hybrid version be offered, the 911 will again set new benchmarks for both the iconic nameplate and for the sports car market in general. We’ll be back with updates as soon as we have them.

  • Leave it
    • * Not much is known at the moment
    • * The naturally aspirated flat-six is long gone
    • * Hybrid drivetrain might alter the 911’s heritage
    • * Expensive Turbo models

Update History

Updated 03/14/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 out for a new testing session. This time the car was caught with the spoiler down giving us the chance to have a good look at the 911´s classic profile in its new modern interpretation.

Updated 02/01/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 out for a new testing session, this time during cold winter conditions.

Updated 11/09/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche 911 out for a new testing session, this time around Nurburgring.

Press release

There’s an oft-repeated anecdote from 1990: the setting is a technical seminar in Berlin for engineers in the automotive industry. During a break, two participants are talking about the Porsche 911. One of them, a leading engineer for a major carmaker from southern Germany, says: “If I had to improve that car, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea. I think it would be incredibly difficult.” The other, a leading engineer at Porsche, regards his counterpart with incredulity—and says nothing. It still elicits a chuckle from August Achleitner today when he thinks of his befuddlement back then in Berlin. Further developing the Porsche 911 has been his job for almost twenty years. Achleitner is the director of the 911 model line and is thus something like the keeper of the Porsche grail. “The heart of the company,” he calls the 911. If one were to strip down everything that bears a Porsche logo, that exemplifies and drives the company, to reveal the core of the brand, it would look like a 911. With its unmistakable flyline—the typical roof line—the 911’s style-defining basic form retains its freshness and trailblazing spirit even today.
It’s all about that sporty note

The next 911, generation 992, will carry on that proud tradition. “We know where we’re from and where we want to go,” says Achleitner. “The decisive factor is that the 911 generates a driving feeling that no other car can impart.” That’s not meant in an arrogant way, it’s really just the nature of things: the specific seat position, the flat-six engine in the rear, its inimitable sound, the astonishing amount of space, the perfect feedback from the brakes, steering, and pedal system together with the striking suspension, the powerfully dynamic but always easily controllable burst of power, and the one-of-a-kind design that ties it all together, making this car the epitome of what it has meant to be a sports car—for fifty-five years.

Achleitner: “We know where we’re from and where we want to go.”

The riveting question is how the 911 needs to develop in the future to continue to define the brand as the gravitational core of Porsche. Automotive industry megatrends—including digitalization, electrification, and connectivity—will play a role, as well as the question of how these trends should be evaluated. “With each innovation, the decisive factor for me is whether it suits the character of the 911,” explains Achleitner. “We don’t necessarily have to be the first in this regard with the 911. What’s crucial, rather, is that every innovation be offered in a typical Porsche manifestation.” Here, it’s the designers, above all, who are called on to work their magic, according to the 911 chief. The 996, for example, was the first to feature a navigation system. When Achleitner looks at this model today, he still finds it beautiful and elegant, although he has to admit that some elements strike him as a bit outdated now. It pains him, “because the car suffers for it.” It’s therefore important, he feels, to design digital interfaces between people and machines that are as timeless as possible. “Anything but contrived,” is Achleitner’s creed. He’s convinced: “Even where the public might be expecting a bigger ‘wow factor,’ in the long run a certain aesthetic reserve pays dividends.”
The joy of driving always has to be in the foreground

But the visual packaging of new technologies is just one aspect. The other aspects involve the capabilities that they enable. “Even when it comes to the individual assistance systems, they have to fit with the 911,” underscores Achleitner. After all, no one buys a sports car because it offers adaptive cruise control or a lane-keeping assist function. “Those are convenient and useful things. But the customer has to make the choice to use them and, above all, be able to switch them off when they’re not desired.”

One thing is especially important to him: the joy of driving always has to be in the foreground. “That’s why a 911 will always have a steering wheel.” And if autonomously driving cars break through more quickly than expected? “Then the 911 will be one of the last cars to drive autonomously.”

“The decisive factor is that the 911 generates a driving feeling that no other car can impart.”

In all discussions of autonomous driving, Achleitner hews to his line: Porsche and the 911 are a bastion of stability amid the hype, which heretofore has primarily consisted of mere announcements and statements. The 911 will not change radically—and yet it does evolve. It was 1997 when the era of air-cooled engines came to an end and the age of water-cooled flat-six engines began. It was 2015 when the last naturally aspirated engine in the rear of the Carrera was completely replaced by a turbo engine. “Some fans rushed the barricades; it was all gloom and doom for many,” recalls Achleitner. “And then the same thing happened as always: nothing.” The new models have always received even more rave reviews than their predecessors. “That encourages us to think about fundamental innovations in the future as well.”
Electric drive technology? Why not?

Electric drive technology is a good example. “Two years ago I’d have said no way. Today I wouldn’t categorically rule it out,” concedes the head of the model line. Just to preclude any misunderstandings: the Porsche 911, Type 992 is not an electric sports car. But it could be an option somewhere down the line. Achleitner describes his ongoing change of heart: “I drove the prototype of our coming electric sports car, the Mission E, and it was a very compelling experience. And the performance of the Porsche LMP race cars with hybrid drive systems is quite simply sensational.” Achleitner is certain that no car with a combustion engine alone could beat them around the corner. Although he admittedly clings to the flat-six engine, he can, nowadays, imagine an electric motor in the 911. So there will be a next step in terms of drive technology—if it fits Porsche and the specific character of the 911.

The secret of the Porsche 911 could perhaps be described as follows: it’s the sportiest and most dynamic car in the company’s line-up, but also its bastion of stability. A point of orientation for which Achleitner has found a very simple development principle—which may have something to do with that short talk back in Berlin in 1990. In contrast to his counterpart that day, he does have an idea: “The new 911, too, will be the best 911 of all time.”

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