The eighth generation of the Porsche 911 is on the horizon. The so-called 992-generation 911 will likely be shown in production form within the next six months and released by the end of next year.
The 911 is one of the all-time great sports cars and the current 991 generation has proven to be the best yet. How can Porsche make the next generation better? In our spy shots reports, we state that the next 911 will be wider at the rear, and have more flexibility for the placement of the engine and suspension hardware. Porsche has also confirmed that at least one hybrid model will come with the next generation.
At Rennsport Reunion VI last month, I sat down with Klaus Zellmer, Porsche’s North American CEO, to talk about what’s coming for the next 911.
Q: What are the goals with the next 911 from a handling, feel, and performance standpoint?
A: To have a car where the engine sits behind the back wheels, from an engineering point of view, nobody would have this idea today. But if you look at the performance potential, the behavior of the car on the racetrack, at the limit, exceeding the limit, it’s absolutely mind-blowing that since 1963 there was a further development taking it to the next level, the next level, the next level, with prerequisites that are from an engineering point of view, challenging. So the next 911 has to just carry on doing that.
Q: Are you starting with a clean sheet for the next 911 or working from the current chassis?
A: From a technological point of view it is a pretty clean sheet, but of course we are sticking to some principles.
The flyline. Our corporate design of that car. It’s iconic that the front fenders are higher than the hood. And the principle that the chassis, with the technical embedding of engine and drivetrain, the way it is. So there are certain things we’ll of course stick to, but we’re challenging each and every aspect of the car. Everything can change but the crest, but it has to be something that people immediately associate with a further development of the 911 as we know it.
Q: How long will Porsche offer a manual transmission?
As long there as there’s customers who demand a manual transmission. We were actually on a path of fading out a manual transmission and the outcry of our customers was so loud that or course we listened and with the last GT3s…we came back with a manual, and I can share with you that two-thirds of all GT3s ordered are being ordered with a manual, and that exceeds our original planning by far.
Q: How many 911 and 911 S buyers choose a manual?
Way below 50 percent, more like 20-25 percent for manual in 911 and S.
Q: What are the advantages of the PDK?
If you want to be the fastest, the most control of the car, using the full potential of the car, there’s nothing better than the double-clutch, the PDK. It doesn’t get any better.
Q: How will a hybrid effect the 911’s driving character?
Whatever happens in regards to hybrids, it has to stay a 911 that people will want to buy and that over delivers on what people actually expect from the car. Technologically speaking, that’s a challenge.
Q: Will the 911 be the last holdout with a gasoline engine?
It’s really difficult to predict what happens in the future. It’s driven by so many factors. Not just by consumer demand, also by legislation, so let’s wait and see. But I’d like to quote our founder of the company and he once said, “The last car ever built will be a sports car.” So that might allude to what you just said, but we don’t know.