Pictures of what looks like a Porsche 911 hybrid have emerged and thrown up an interesting question in the office - could the rear-engined icon be losing its flat-six?

Whether a hybrid 911 will appear is still largely speculation but in would seem like a logical move from Stuttgart. But with an electric power boost the 3.6- or 3.8-litre six-cylinder 911 would surely be producing too much power, placing it into GT3 territory.

The point of a hybrid is to increase the bhp of a small efficient engine, which produces less CO2. Porsche confirmed to me today on the phone the Panamera and Cayenne hybrid would be getting the V6, which produces 50bhp less than the lowest-powered 911, and will be fitted to much heavier cars.

Theoretically then Porsche will have to look for a weedier engine. The V6 might be tricky to fit but would be ready-to-go as a hybrid. A more appropriate step could be to hybridise the 2.9-litre or 3.4-litre six-cylinder units in the Boxster.

Slightly more controversial would be to stick an electric motor on the four-cylinder that is rumoured to be heading for the Boxster. This would be ultra-economical but would we really go for a four-cylinder 911? Perhaps calling it 912 would be far more appropriate.

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