What It Is: You know what it is. Porsche is less than a year away from revealing the 992-gen 911 Carrera, and apparently feels perfectly confident running this pre-production model on a public street wearing nothing more than a few pieces of electrical tape. With it shorn of camouflage, we can spot flush door handles, a pointier snout, and a sharper-edged hood with creases that serve as a friendly hat tip to the 964. While the headlights and side profile are nearly unchanged from today’s car, what looks like two vertical LED strips atop the engine cover are a clever spin on the center high-mounted stop light. With the latest Porsches all featuring a thin band of LEDs connecting the taillights, it’s safe to assume that all 911 models-and not just Carrera 4 or Targa 4 models like with the current gen-will use this design. Save for a new bumper that has a low-mounted license plate and integrated exhaust tips, Porsche otherwise is not fussing with the 911’s classic exterior in any significant way. We’ve also already seen the interior-it has a real big cupholder, and it mirrors the Panamera’s wide touchscreen layout but employs more physical switchgear.
Why It Matters: When our children’s children’s children remember the automobile, this 911 will mark the tail end of internal combustion at its most powerful and efficient state-well, maybe, if electric cars displace the fossil-fuel-burning variety at anything like the pace that their proponents and government regulators envision. The 911 is a living time capsule, and market demand for this flat-six–powered premium sports car has never been greater. It’s also perhaps the most iconic car in the world, a model so synonymous with its maker that to screw it up would cause heads to roll in Stuttgart.
Platform: The usual rear-mounted engine layout remains with hardly a change to overall dimensions. That’s a good thing, as the 991 generation expanded the 911’s footprint so much that any major tweak would make this car difficult to place on back roads. An upgraded chassis and new electronic architecture will no doubt make this 911 the stiffest, lightest, and-excepting the upcoming all-electric Taycan-most technically advanced Porsche ever. Zooming in on this prototype’s tires reveals staggered-diameter wheels (20-inchers in front and 21s in back), which until now had been a strategy left for the GT3s and GT2s. We’re willing to bet the base Carrera will wear 19s and 20s to start.
Powertrain: The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter flat-six returns with somewhere around 400 horsepower to start, and maybe as much as 450 horsepower in the Carrera S (which would match the 991 Carrera GTS). The seven-speed manual, despite a dreadfully and disappointingly low global take rate, will return as the base transmission. An eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic should replace the current seven-cog unit. We also wouldn’t be surprised to see rear-axle steering and a 48-volt electrical subsystem (as seen in the Audi A8) come standard. A plug-in hybrid should appear sometime during the 992 generation, most likely with the mid-cycle refresh. Porsche will embrace electrification, but we expect the 911 and 718 to be the last models to yield to the inevitable. Of course, Cabriolets, Targas, GTSs, capital-t Turbos, GT3s, GT2s, and undoubtedly a few limited-edition models will fill out the 992 lineup as the eighth-generation 911 lives out its production cycle.
- 2020 Porsche 911: A Careful Redesign of a Legend
- 2020 Porsche 911 Interior Revealed-It Has a Real Cupholder!
- 2020 Porsche 911 Coupe and Convertible Spied!
Competition: Acura NSX, Audi R8, Chevrolet Corvette, Mercedes-AMG GT, McLaren 570S and 570GT, Nissan GT-R.
Estimated Arrival and Price: Expect the finished 911 to officially debut this fall and go on sale by mid 2019. As with the 911’s last redesign, the lower-level models of the new version will overlap with other variations of the older car in the showroom. The 992’s base price should fall in the $90,000-to-$100,000 range.