Porsche won’t be backtracking on its move to turbocharge the entire non-GT 911 range – despite reports to the contrary.
Rumours based on feedback from eagle-eared spy photographers suggested the 911 could gain the naturally-aspirated 4.0-litre engine currently featured in the 718 Cayman and Boxster GTS as an option with its mid-life facelift.
But asked if the 4.0 from the 718 GTS range will end up in the 911, Frank-Steffen Walliser, board member responsible for the 911 and 718, simply told us “no”.
The engine in question shares its displacement with the engine in the 911 GT3 and Cayman GT4 RS, but is actually a unique unit developed specifically for the 718 GTS and GT4.
Given the cost of developing and homologating an engine, it’s rare for brands to create a bespoke unit for a single, relatively low-volume model range.
Although Mr Walliser didn’t give too much away, he suggested the engine was meant to be used more broadly when development started in 2014, before rapidly-changing emissions regulations forced Porsche to change its plans.
“Knowing everything I know today, maybe we would have done something different,” Mr Walliser said.
“It was not a wrong decision, you can’t go back. The engine is a marvel, the 4.0-litre in the GTS. Customer response was over-the-moon, it really gave a second life to Boxster and Cayman,” he said.
“Things have changed, other plans have changed,” Mr Walliser said. “It will stay the single engine, the single car – a very collectible car.”
Porsche was always unlikely to slot the high-revving, naturally-aspirated engine into the Cayenne, Macan, or Panamera, making the 911 its only other logical home.
The brand committed to turbo power across the 911 Carrera line-up in 2015, with the reveal of the 991.2-generation 911.
The current 911 Carrera, Carrera S, and Carrera GTS range is powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged flat-six engine making 283kW and 450Nm in its least powerful tune, and 353kW and 570Nm in its most powerful guise.
The 718 GTS engine is up 1000cc on the turbo’d motor in the 911, and makes 309kW of power and 430Nm of torque when paired with a PDK transmission in the Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder.
Come 2024 or 2025, the engine appears headed for retirement – Porsche has confirmed the 718 will go electric.
Don’t expect the mid-engined balance and old-fashioned driver focus present in the current models to be thrown out when the next-generation car rolls around.
“The most important thing is controlling the weight of an electric car, engineering emotion from the car,” Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice-president responsible for the Porsche 911 and 718 model lines, told CarExpert.
Porsche wants to engineer that emotion by creating a “nimble, relatively small car” with “nice proportions”, according to Mr Walliser. Acceleration and outright performance won’t necessarily be the focus.