It was only about 5 years ago when the only Porsche 911 to have a turbocharged engine was the 911 Turbo. Now, everything except the GT3 and GT3RS have twin turbocharged flat 6 engines, for better or for worse. The current 9A2 Evo engine powering the 992 911 is an engineering marvel to say the least. Just think about it. This engine extracts 450 hp out of just 3.0 liters reliably. That’s the same power that the legendary 997 GT3RS made with its 3.8 liter racing engine. But that’s the trend these days. Automakers are trying to get as much horsepower out of the least amount of displacement as emissions restrictions get stricter and stricter. Well, long story short, that’s about to change.
In order to force automakers to switch to electric powertrains, the new EU7 regulations set to go into effect by 2026, are going to set a legal limit on horsepower according to displacement. For example, a 3.0 liter engine can only make 400 hp. The only way automakers can adapt to this is by increasing engine size, and doing that will cause their engines to produce more emissions (see where this is going?).
This is bad news for our beloved Porsche 911 which only has 6 cylinders to work with. By 2026 expect the Porsche 911 to have “20 percent more displacement on average for these EU7-capable engines.” Most companies will probably switch to cheaper, electric drivetrains, but what about Porsche?
For now, we can say with confidence that a naturally aspirated base 911 is dead; there’s no way for them to make an adequate amount of power without turbos. As for the only naturally aspirated models like the GT3, they’ll be living on borrowed time, and will likely suffer the same fate as the Carrera models.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the turbo engines, but I can live with them. What worries me is the question of whether or not the 911 will be able to maintain its status as a lightweight sports car. Engines are heavy, and with these new regulations calling for bigger engines, I’m worried about whether or not Porsche will be able to keep the 911’s weight at a minimum. The 992 is the biggest and heaviest 911 yet and with these new regulations, I guess they’ll just keep getting bigger.
So I guess in this case, bigger doesn’t mean better. But there is some good news for American Porsche fans. Porsche hasn’t ruled out making different engines for countries with looser emissions regulations (i.e. America) so we might get the smallest blow. The future for Europe however, remains uncertain. So if you’re reading this in Europe, enjoy it while you still can my friend.
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One thought on “The Naturally Aspirated 911 Is Living On Borrowed Time”
By definition survival means adaptation in this case innovative
I’m sure our friends at Porsche will find a s good solution.
As always great article.