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Car and Driver: Porsche Stays Committed to the Flat-Six for the 911


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2017 Porsche 911 Carrera / Carrera S

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Few things are certain beyond death and taxes. But we can tentatively add the continuance of the Porsche 911’s character-defining flat-six engine to that list.

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That’s the reassurance we take from our interview with Erhard Mossler, engineering boss for the 911 Turbo, Carrera 4, and Targa, whom we spoke to at the Detroit auto show. He was happy to give us a guarantee that the recently turbocharged flat-six engine in the 911 Carrera will not be replaced by an engine with fewer cylinders at any point in the foreseeable future. So no plans for a latter-day Porsche 912.

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Mossler admitted that the switch to turbocharging for the Carrera was “not a customer-driven decision, but one that was driven by the CO2 regulations we had to meet. We have to improve our fuel-consumption figures [and] CO2 numbers; therefore the turbocharged engine is the better solution, and we tried to do everything to make the engine feel as near as possible to a naturally aspirated engine in terms of both performance and sound.”

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The good news is that the new flat-six and its successors will be able to meet the most stringent upcoming standards without significant downsizing.

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“As far as I can see we will stay with a six-cylinder engine in the 911,” Mossler said, “we have good positioning with the 911 having six cylinders and the 718 [the revised Boxster and Cayman] having turbo four cylinder. That’s okay, I think even the six-cylinder engines have a lot of potential to reduce consumption and CO2 emissions even further.”

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Sticking with the flat-six means that Porsche will likely have to hybridize the majority of 911s sold after 2020, with Mossler also admitting that development of this technology has begun.

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