People often say, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” However, in the case of the Porsche 911, it would be fair to say the proverb in reverse, “the more things stay the same, the more they change.” While Porsche had stuck with a rear engine layout for its flagship sports car, traditional Porsche enthusiasts began to feel betrayed as the 911 continued to evolve.
A little more than ten years ago, Porsche introduced an all-new water-cooled engine or the 911. Next, the 911 later received direct-injection and a dual-clutch paddle-shift gearbox. Project manager of the new Porsche 911 Michael Schätzle even expressed the possibility of an end to the manual transmission altogether.
The latest announcement from Porsche board member Bernhard Maier plays with the idea of a hybrid drivetrain 911. Sure to rock a few boats, Maier said, “If the environmental agencies ask us to change our sports cars in terms of power trains, then we will do it.” Maier is addressing the upcoming emissions and efficiency regulations in the United State as well as Europe. Sports car makers like Porsche will likely have a more difficult time meeting these standards, which could result to heavy fines in the future.
Porsche has been engaged in hybrid technology since the development of its radical Porsche 918 hybrid supercar concept and its 911 GT3 R hybrid race car (above). Having competed in a series of endurance races and steadily accumulating racing success, the GT3 R hybrid can help Porsche sell a hybrid system to even the most traditional of Porsche purists by providing the technology with a dash of genuine motorsport pedigree.
At the Geneva Motor Show, Maier gave a response to the recent engine downsizing trend as well. According to Maier, Porsche is not considering downsizing the 911 to a 4-cylinder engine regardless of regulations. A four-cylinder 911 is absolutely not a part of the brand’s forecast.
GALLERY: Porsche 911 GT3 R hybrid 2.o