Porsche's new 992 is a great car, but it's about as far removed from the original 911 sporting heritage as it can get. As Porsche's 911 gets bigger and more powerful, it's competing with Grand Touring cars instead of sports cars. That's not to say it isn't a great car, or even a great Porsche, but perhaps it's no longer a great 911 as it was originally envisioned. One Porsche executive, namely Frank-Steffen Walliser Porsche's global head of sports cars, might agree with me. Mr. Walliser spoke to Australia's GoAuto last week and spoke (pardon the pun) frankly about his wish for a smaller 911, perhaps for the next generation.
So what does Mr. Walliser have on his wish list for the next 911?
“Maybe I would do it a little more sporty than the 992 in general, but I have no complaints of this model,” he said. “If I had a wish, for sure I would make it smaller, but this is a wish.”
Because of an increasingly stringent EU7 emissions regulation legislation coming in 2026, Walliser says he thinks a return to larger engine capacities could be possible. Because of the way these regulations work, we could see a revert to naturally aspirated cars and far fewer turbochargers, which would mean larger displacement to achieve the same level of power output.
“In 2026 the next wave of regulations will come with EU7 that will be the worldwide toughest regulations,” he said. “EU7 means we will see a big change then again because it means for everybody new engines and we will see bigger displacements coming back. A lot of manufacturers will jump from four to six (cylinders), from six to eight maybe again.”
Don't expect the next 911 to get an 8 cylinder, though. Porsche seems focused on the turbocharged flat six architecture, however, though it may mean another brand new engine.
“That means all new engines and especially for the 911, this gets really, really difficult, but we will never give up,” he said. “We want to keep six cylinders for sure, but we will have to make a new engine.”
Engine is a key word, however, as Walliser doesn't see an electric 911 coming any time soon.
“Can I imagine an electric 911? No, not really,” he said. “I think six cylinders, the specific layout of the car … everything is a really, really integral part of the 911 story. I definitely think we can do a very, very good electric sportscar but I do not intend to make an electric 911, that for me is too much. “A hybrid would be possible, but it should be a hybrid that really fits to the character of the 911. I would not say it would be a plug-in hybrid, I’d consider this too heavy for the 911 but if we have something more clever, then…”
And for those of us who still consider a manual transmission to be important, Walliser has some good news for us.
“Manual is really important for myself to keep it as long as possible again in the 911,” he said. “Not in every variant, that will get tough but at least I want to see some variant that still have a manual.”
So what have we learned? Well, not really much of anything. Walliser may have some say in the development of the next car, but it's unlikely that he'll have anything approaching veto power. Porsche will build whatever car they think can sell the most units. Sadly, that car continues to get softer and heavier and faster, but at least there are still some believers in the old ways on Porsche payroll.