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Deep Dive: The 2016 Porsche 911 Enters the All-Turbo Era

The refreshed 911 gets new turbocharged engines.

Stuttgart, Germany - The 2016 Porsche 911 will appear at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show this fall. No, this is not yet the brand-new sports car based on the upcoming modular architecture, for which we have to wait until the third quarter of 2018. Spy pictures of the refreshed Porsche 911 show instead a mild face-lift with restyled bumpers, LED lights front and rear, ventilation louvers on the engine cover that have old-school style, and more spoilers overall. Perhaps even more significant is the revised cockpit, which boasts improved ergonomics, update connectivity and infotainment, and access to a bouquet of new active safety systems.

The updated 2016 Porsche 911 will feature a range of turbocharged powerplants that will be more potent, more drivable in performance, and yet also more fuel-efficient than the naturally aspirated engines they replace. In the beginning, we expect two different iterations: a 370-hp, twin-turbo 2.7-liter flat-six for the Carrera and a 420-hp, twin-turbo 3.0-liter variant for the Carrera S. While these output numbers are hardly headline material, both twin-turbo units promise radically beefed-up torque curves as well as significant fuel-economy savings.

While the free breathing, naturally aspirated 4.0-liter motor fitted to the current Porsche 911 GT3 RS has some potential for evolution, it will eventually be superseded by an even brawnier, lightweight Mk II engine, but without forced induction. The lightweight, no-frills Porsche 911R scheduled to appear in limited quantity next year will have a naturally aspirated 450-hp engine, which is further proof that the classic Porsche flat-six has a future in Stuttgart. There is also a lot of life still left in the current 3.8-liter flat-six installed in the 911 Turbo, as the forthcoming, 600-hp Porsche 911 Turbo will demonstrate.

At the high end of the boxer scale, there is that impressive 5.0-liter, eight-cylinder powerhouse still waiting to receive the nod for production from management. With a target output of 750-hp, this twin-turbo unit remains an exercise in high-technology design that's looking for a new platform to call its own. The prime candidate is Porsche's tentatively planned Ferrari-fighter concept that is based on the all-new modular sports car architecture, but the car keeps getting pushed further off into the future. Right now, it sits in the holding pattern for a time frame of 2020-2025.

What about alternative drivetrains, you ask? Well, there is the 475-hp, all-electric twin-motor powertrain that will appear in the MSB-based, front-engine, four-passenger car scheduled to appear in 2019. As far as a Porsche 911 hybrid goes, the conversion will have to wait until the replacement for the 991-model chassis starts rolling off the production line about five years from now.