Another member of the updated Porsche 911 family has been spied testing on public roads, but this latest prototype has some curious differences to current models.
The latest in a line of spied 992-series models, this prototype features design elements from both the current Turbo and GT3.
The spied model also has a yellow hybrid sticker on its rear window, indicating this prototype is testing some sort of electrified powertrain.
Immediately obvious on the spied model are the enlarged front air intakes, which hints at this 911 needing extra cooling, with the shape and slats inside the vents seemingly inspired by the 911 Turbo.
The headlights on the spied model appear to be partially covered by black vinyl wrap, indicating the updated model will receive a redesigned light signature, although Porsche’s signature four-point LED daytime running lights remain.
Moving around to the side, not many changes have been made. Of note, though, are the centre-lock wheels.
The wheels on this prototype are optional on the regular Carrera GTS, and centre-lock wheels are not available anywhere else in the 911 range apart from GT3 and Turbo models.
There are no air intakes on the rear-quarter panels of this prototype. These are found only on the Turbo, as it demands extra cooling.
The rear of this prototype is dominated by a large rear wing fixed to the standard rear deck lid. It does not appear to feature any active aero elements.
Below the wing sits camouflaged taillights and a camouflaged bumper. The bumper appears to have been reworked, and the rear diffuser tweaked.
Compared to the current 911 Carrera GTS, the exhaust outlets have been moved further inward. The tweaked exhaust could be the result of altered packaging around hybrid drive components.
The model could reportedly be revealed early next year, as our spy photographers have seen prototypes testing regularly for a while.
However, this prototype still features racing bucket seats and a roll cage. This is typical of test cars, but suggests a release date could be further down the track than initially suspected.
In the next significant facelift to the 911, Porsche is set to update the interior to include a fully digital instrument cluster – a first for the 911, which traditionally has featured a five-gauge array centred around a prominent rev counter.
Currently, the Carrera GTS is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine that makes 353kW of power and 570Nm of torque via an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Outputs are expected to increase if hybrid technology is added, however.
We know Porsche is working on hybrid power for the 911, but what form it’ll take isn’t yet clear.
Although the Cayenne and Panamera are offered with plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), the rear-engined 911 sports car is smaller and has a more overt focus on driver engagement.
It’s therefore unlikely to feature PHEV power, and is instead likely to take inspiration from the powertrain in the 919 endurance racer, using electric power to assist rather than shadow the petrol engine.
Board member responsible for the 911 and 718 model lines, Frank-Steffen Walliser, has previously told CarExpert the move to hybrid power “could come step-by-step” as Porsche works to meet the next batch of European emissions rules expected to hit in 2026.
That suggests the first move could be to a 48V mild-hybrid system, which allows the engine to switch off at low speeds and provides a power boost when you get a move on.
Mr Walliser says the first challenge is working out how much of a boost any hybrid system would provide to the petrol engine in a 911.
“The question is: With the hybridisation, what is the right level? How much power do you put in?,” Mr Walliser asked.
“This is also not solved. In the automotive industry we see different solutions, and we will see what our solution will be. Hybridisation in general is something we are considering,” he said.