Porsche will lay the foundations for the electrification of the 911 with an advanced new GT2 RS Hybrid – a model that will be the most powerful and fastest-accelerating road-going variant of the iconic sports car yet, according to company insiders.
Due in 2026, the top-of-the-line, limited-run Porsche 911, which is expected to cost upwards of £250,000, is being engineered with a newly developed hybrid drivetrain that will target “more than 700bhp”.
This will be achieved using tech originally developed by Porsche Motorsport for the Le Mans 24 Hours-winning 919 Hybrid and further developed for its successor, the recently unveiled 963 LMDh racer.
The new petrol-electric drivetrain is envisaged to be launched in the Porsche 911 GT2 RS before being offered in other, less extreme 911 models by the end of the decade.
Contrary to earlier speculation that the 911 would get a plug-in hybrid system similar to that in the Porsche Cayenne and Porsche Panamera, Autocar can confirm that Porsche’s new 911 drivetrain is based around a mild-hybrid system, with an electric motor boosting the internal combustion engine.
The system is described as being “even more advanced” than what has been created for the new LMDh car: a 630bhp turbocharged 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine supported by a 67bhp Bosch electric motor that’s activated above 80mph.
The Porsche 911 Turbo acts as the basis for the new GT2 RS, with its twin-turbocharged 3.8-litre flat six engine being supplemented by a battery like that used by the 919 Hybrid.
How the production car will be set up underneath hasn’t yet been detailed. However, 911 Turbo prototypes fitted with the new mild-hybrid drivetrain have received a gearbox-mounted electric motor and air-cooled lithium ion battery positioned low down behind the front seats. The production car will have the battery behind the rear seats for a 39:61 weight balance.
According to patents applied for by Porsche in 2021, this cooling system – not yet confirmed for the production model – uses air from an electric turbocharger, negating the need for an additional fan.
The production battery will, without direct charging, also rely on energy recuperation for storage. Together with a multi-stage brake energy recuperation system, Porsche is said to be developing a variable-geometry turbine within the exhaust tract to allow it to generate electric energy under acceleration – a Porsche Motorsport system used by the 919 Hybrid.
Unlike the 800V electric drivetrain being developed for the upcoming fourth-generation Porsche Boxster/Porsche Cayman, the 911’s drivetrain operates via a 400V system in the interests of weight and compactness, say Autocar sources, who add that the new drivetrain will deliver “significantly more power” than the previous 690bhp GT2 RS.
While it does allow electric-only propulsion for short distances, the focus of the new mild-hybrid drivetrain is very much on “performance enhancement with an absolute minimum increase in weight”.
A target of “more than 700bhp” will be accompanied by a “significant increase in torque”, say insiders. As such, the benchmark performance figures for the new 911 are the 0-62mph time and top speed of its six-year-old predecessor: 2.8sec and 211mph.
Whether Porsche holds firm to a traditional manual gearbox rests with its ability to handle the added torque delivered by the electric motor, which is said to total more than 184lb ft.
To offset the weight of the electric motor and battery, Porsche is developing the new 911 GT2 RS Hybrid with a lightweight body with measures similar to the Weissach Package offered by its predecessor and the new Porsche 911 GT3 RS. Porsche is said to be aiming at a weight gain of no more than 100kg.