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New Porsche 911 (992.2) revealed – GTS gets 3.6-litre hybrid flat-six

The Porsche 911 has gained a hybrid powertrain for the first time ever, with the GTS packing a 534bhp electrified flat-six

The internal combustion engine is dying. Those we are experiencing today will be the last and before we know it batteries and e-motors will be expected to excite our senses, encourage our juices to flow and engage us with the thrill of driving. It would seem no one told Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, who in the course of the last couple of months have either updated their internal combustion engines considerably (Ferrari) or announced all-new motors, which Lamborghini did when confirming the powertrain for its Huracán replacement. Now, Porsche has with an all-new internal combustion flat-six engine for the second generation 992-series 911

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With a larger swept volume for the engine, a larger electric-powered turbocharger and more power and performance but at no cost to efficiency, Porsche’s new T-hybrid motor will provide the basis for future 911 models from Carreras to Turbos.

Porsche has been open about the 992-generation 911 receiving some form of electrified powertrain as far back as when we drove a prototype with Dr Frank Walisser in 2018. It’s one of the reasons why the current 911 has a bit of a big bum, its body-in-white design future-proofed to accommodate a battery that would provide its flat-six motor with an electrified boost and a few miles of silent running. 

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This, however, is not the hybrid 911 you were expecting, primarily because its 1.9kWh battery - located in the front of the car where a traditional 12 volt battery is normally installed in a 911 would live - provides zero miles of electric driving. Its role, instead, is to provide more performance at no cost to efficiency and emissions. It achieves this due to the fitment of an e-motor that delivers up to 56bhp of additional power (64bhp on overboost) and an extra 111lb ft of torque to accompany the already swollen outputs of the all-new 3.6-litre flat-six engine. 

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This results in the engine generating 478bhp and the e-motor increasing this to 534bhp, with torque starting at 420lb ft and reaching a maximum peak of a 450lb ft.

Sitting 110mm lower in the engine bay than its 3-litre predecessor (the outgoing GTS’s 3-litre motor now lives in the Carrera, albeit with a 90bhp detune) the decision to develop an all new engine was to provide the 911 with the cleanest, most efficient powertrain possible. 

Swept volume aside, the biggest change is the return to a single turbo, as last seen on the 964 Turbo. With no wastegate, it is the job of an integrated electric motor to power the turbocharger by accelerating compressed air through it, eradicating lag, improving spool-up time and providing a throttle response you’d expect from a large-capacity naturally aspirated engine. The turbo itself also generates up to 11kW of energy, which is fed back to the battery that drives the e-motor.

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This process helps build engine speeds much faster than before, and even at Vmax, the system still charges the electric motor. Perhaps the clearest picture of this is that at 2000rpm the new 3.6-litre engine takes 0.8secs to reach its maximum boost of 1.8 bar compared to the 3secs it takes the 3-litre. Launch the new GTS T-hybrid against its predecessor and after 2.5secs the electrified 911 will have covered an additional 21.5 metres, the same distance a Taycan GTS reaches and 3.5 metres further than the outgoing 911 Turbo. And it will lap the 'ring in 7:16.93, more than 8-seconds quicker than a rear-drive 992 Carrera GTS. Incidentally, the new T-hybrid powertrain will be offered with rear and four-wheel drive, and in coupe, Cabriolet and Targa bodies. 

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More than five million miles of development driving have taken place to create this new flat-six engine and its design was a clean-sheet process. There’s no belt drive or starter motor, the valvetrain has roller finger followers, there’s a new exhaust system and engine mounts, and the water pump is connected to the same mechanical drive system that runs the oil pump. There are no carry over parts from the 3-litre.

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The new single turbo weighs the same as the old bi-turbo set-up at 27kg (the same weight as the battery) and overall the car is 50kg heavier than the outgoing PDK GTS at 1595kg. 10kg is saved by offering the rear seats as a no cost option across the GTS line-up. It will also only be available with an eight-speed PDK transmission – with the e-motor sandwiched between the engine and gearbox a manual isn’t available, and only two percent of all 992 Carrera models sold were ordered with a stick, with 50 percent of those sold in North America. The seven-speed manual could still be offered with a 3-litre Carrera model later down the line, most likely in the next T. At this stage Porsche hasn’t indicated if the Carrera S will make a return to the line-up. 

The new Carrera 2 GTS T-hybrid starts from £132,600, a £12,600 premium over the outgoing model, but alongside an all-new, more powerful, similarly (if not more) efficient engine, there is also more standard equipment such as rear-axle steering. There’s also the mildest of exterior redesigns (new bumpers and headlights), the interior gains a new instrument layout and along with the standard rear-axle steer, Porsche also includes it’s active anti-roll bar hardware and 20- and 21-inch wheels are fitted on the front and rear axles, the latter fitted with a wider 315/30ZR tyre (Goodyear Eagle F1 on Carrera, Pirelli’s new P Zero on the Carrera 4). 

While Porsche claims we can expect 991 GT3 levels of performance from its new Carrera GTS, the clincher will be if it drives like one, too. We will find out next month. 

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