Recent spy shots showed an all-new Porsche 911 in the snow, winter testing. Next came images of the car at the Nürburgring, circuit testing. And now, Porsche has released images of a slightly disguised 2012 Porsche 911 as it was testing in South Africa.
Porsche. Porsche. Porsche. The automotive world seems to be ablaze with all things 991, the internal designation for this new 911. But I guess that’s expected when news about something as iconic as the next-generation 911 breaks. So why would you, the dedicated Roadandtrack.com visitor, give two shakes about a South African appearance? Well, even though Porsche has not released any official details about the car, we have a good idea of what the next 911 will be when it makes its debut at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show in September.
Cayman and Boxster prototypes. As for the headlights and taillights, like those 3-year-old twins with a kicking problem sitting behind you on a domestic flight, try to ignore them—they are merely translucent stickers with printed designs furtively placed as a facade. So are the vents on the rear quarter panels.
Here is where things get a bit more prophetic. The new 911 has grown, definitively. From what we’ve heard, the 991 is 2.2 in. longer than the outgoing 997, but gains favorable dimensions by means of a longer wheelbase (4 in.), shorter overhangs (1.3 in. front, 0.5 in. rear) and a lower roofline (0.5 in.). The base of the A-pillars has moved forward by 1.4 in. for a sharper windshield rake, but the coefficient of drag remains the same, at 0.29. While bigger usually means heavier, the new 911, thanks to increased use of high-strength steel, is said to be lighter than the previous model. Early figures have the 991 weighing 55 lb less than the 997.
If that isn’t brain-whetting enough, several sources have stated that the next-gen 911 will utilize the KERS hybrid system. Derived from Porsche’s 24-hour endurance race efforts, the Kinetic Energy Recover System stores energy from braking and converts it to additional on-demand power via a flywheel. Think of the efficiency gains found on a Prius, but used instead for fun (i.e. extra performance). If you’re concerned any additional horsepower gain will be washed away by the net increase in weight, don’t fret. With the use of aluminum and high-strength steel, the forthcoming hybrid model is reported to be lighter as well. If you’re planning to purchase the 911 hybrid, prepare to wait: a KERS-equipped 911 won’t make it to showrooms until perhaps 2015.