The new 911 cocks a leg on one of the 'Ring's infamous twists and turns…
...which have become synonymous with testing a car'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
The car's expected launch in time for the 2019 model year means it's quite a long way off yet
So don't expect to see it officially and undisguised until at least the second half of next year
The slim rear lights and indicators are far smaller than any that have so far been fitted to previous 911s
The test mule, when first spotted, donned some bizarre wheel arch extensions…
…suggesting that 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
The 2019 Porsche 911 will inherit the part-digital and part-analogue instrument cluster of the latest Cayenne and Panamera, as shown by new spy pictures of a development car's dashboard.
Caught testing in the US, the model, which is due to be revealed in late 2018 before going on sale in the following year, will retain the central rev counter of its forebears. But for the first time in a 911, it'll be 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 and its Virtual Cockpit, but keeps a more traditional layout with revs the the main focus.
Porsche's future 911 will also be the first to come with hybrid power. Speaking to Autocar last year, Porsche engineers confirmed they were working on how to package a hybrid powertrain in the 911's body - something that could also account for the wider stance of development cars.
Porsche 911 product line director Erhard Mössle, now retired, said at the time: "We have to meet the CO2 regulations in 2020. The technology available is not far away from meeting our goals for such a car in terms of range and charging speed.”
Since then, Porsche has also confirmed the arrival of a Mission E all-electric model by the end of the decade.
The car maker already has hybrid powertrains in its Cayenne SUV and Panamera saloon, with both cars using the same supercharged 3.0-litre petrol engine in combination with an electric motor. The 918 Spyder also features a hybrid powertrain, which mates a 4.6-litre V8 engine with two electric motors.
As well as the option of a hybrid model, Porsche is considering an all-electric version of the 911 in the same vein as the Audi R8 e-tron.
However, this model is not seen as a guaranteed production car. Mössle said Porsche would need to “look at what is the right time and whether there is the need for it. It’s expensive and you never know if you will get your money back.”
Base models of the 911 are expected to use the same twin-turbo 3.0-litre flat-six engine that made its debut in the facelifted 911 Carrera.
Mössle also confirmed the new 911 will sit on a modified version of the MMB platform used by today's car and feature only mild styling changes: "The 911 is always an evolution, not a revolution. It will always be step by step.”