New 911 cocks a leg on one of the 'Ring's infamous twists and turns…
...which have become synonymous with testing a vehicle's mettle – performance car or otherwise
The same iconic profile remains…
…while a light bar at the rear keeps up with a growing trend in car design. Think Bugatti Chiron
A retractable spoiler also appears to sit flush with the bodywork when not raised
Being planned for the 2019 model year, the launch day is quite a long way off yet
Don't expect to see it officially and undisguised until at least the second half of 2018
The slim rear lights and indicators are far smaller than any that have so far been fitted to 911s
The test mule, when first spotted, donned some bizarre wheel arch extensions…
…suggesting the model was chassis testing
Also tipped to be under test was the new hybrid powertrain, which may have called for a wider body, hence the bolstered arches
Rest assured that the contrasting arches will not be carried through to the production model
The retractable spoiler was also in a much earlier stage of development at this time
The test mule used the bodywork from the previous 911
It was hard to distinguish the first test mule from the previous car on first glance
The de-badging and lack of centre caps on the wheels suggested a clandestine approach by Porsche, though…
...as did the strange apparatus on the filler cap
An all-digital dashboard, based on the same technology as Audi's Virtual Cockpit, will make it into the next 911
As well as the option of a hybrid model, Porsche is also considering an all-electric version of the 911 in the same vein as the Audi R8 e-tron
Recently spotted testing in cabriolet form near Porsche's Stuttgart headquarters, the next 911 has been given a more haunched back that resembles that of 2011's 997 Speedster, which itself took influence from the original 356 Speedster from 1954.
The raised rear is likely a design feature rather than a technical requirement to fit a hybrid powertrain. Although the 992-generation 911 will be the first to be offered with hybrid technology, Autocar understands that this change will have no noticeable impact on the car's exterior design.
Engines and power outputs
The future 911 range, including the GT3, will exclusively use turbocharged six-cylinder engines, marking the end of naturally aspirated units for the line-up.
The GT3 will deliver more than 500bhp, while the standard models are set to get an extra 10-15bhp over today’s Carrera and Carrera S. The current Carrera and Carrera S deliver 364bhp and 414bhp respectively, so the 992-generation 911 will produce 375-429bhp.
The hybrid 911 model will be introduced in 2020. It will run the flat-six with an electric motor, providing limited all-electric and performance-boosting functions.
The electrified powertrain has provided engineers with a packaging challenge, but product line director Erhard Mössle, now retired, previously told Autocar that "CO2 regulations in 2020" have spurred on the hybrid model's development.
The range will be headed by a 630bhp Turbo S model, powered by a ramped-up version of the current car's 3.8-litre flat-six to make it a genuine threat to the Ferrari 488 GTB. Porsche engineers have decided against including hybrid technology on the variant in a bid to save weight.
The regular Turbo model that sits beneath the S is predicted to have 592bhp, which is 61bhp more than today's 991 version. Both the Turbo and Turbo S will be capable of more than 200mph.
Performance will, therefore, be scintillating, with the 2.9sec 0-62mph time of the current Turbo S beaten and the Turbo ducking beneath the three-second mark for the first time. Of the Porsche cars in production after the 992's launch, only the electric Mission E will be quicker off the line - although it won't join the family until 2020.
The 992 911, which is the eighth generation of the sports car, will be built around an evolved MMB structure with a wider footprint than the current 991. The photographed test car above (spotted last year) wore wheel arch extensions - evidence of a wider track that will give the 992 improved high-speed stability and better space for rear passengers. The car's length will remain unchanged.
Modular design will enable the structure's use for next-generation versions of the Boxster and Cayman, while it could also influence the design and engineering of future Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracán models. The updated structure will make more extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminium in order to cut weight.
Visible on the photographed cars is a full-width retractable rear wing. This will come as part of several active aerodynamic parts tasked with enhancing stability with downforce when additional grip is required. An active front spoiler is also a possibility, although this hasn't been seen on test cars so far.
Interior and dashboard
The latest Cayenne and Panamera offer the biggest clues as to what the 992 911's dashboard design will be like. Spotted development cars have featured a central rev counter that's flanked by two digital screens, located in a cluster that curves around the centre console touchscreen.
The technology mimics the wraparound design of Volkswagen Group stablemate Audi's Virtual Cockpit but keeps a more traditional layout, with revs remaining the main focus.
Like its forebears, the 992 911 will also be produced in Targa form, although this isn't expected to arrive until later.
Sam Sheehan and Greg Kable