Not everything has to be turbocharged.
The era of the naturally aspirated engine is coming to an end. For most automakers, this isn't a significant issue because NA engines weren't part of their core identity. This isn't exactly the case for Porsche. Since its earliest days, naturally aspired flat-six and flat-four engines have been synonymous with the German carmaker. As governments everywhere gradually introduce stricter fuel emissions regulations, Porsche has been forced to adopt turbocharging and hybridization, leaving NA engines to more niche extreme models like the Porsche 911 GT3. But does it always have to be this way? Apparently not.
Speaking to Autocar, head of Porsche's sports cars, Frank-Steffen Walliser, not only said the company is "very motivated" to retain its naturally aspirated engines, but, more importantly, has found a way to do so while still meeting (or perhaps even exceeding) emissions.
The solution is hybridization. You read that right. How so? Walliser explains it like this: "Low-rev electric motor torque and a high-rev normally aspirated engine would fit perfectly together. It could help a normally aspirated engine to survive."
Porsche's top executives are typically very honest when discussing what is and what isn't technically possible, so Walliser's comments should be taken seriously. At present, the 992 generation Porsche 911 Carrera comes powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged flat-six, producing 331 horsepower in base form and 443 hp when stepping up to the Carrera S. Meanwhile, the 718 Cayman GT4, 718 Boxster Spyder, 911 GT3, and 911 GT3 RS are powered by an NA 4.0-liter flat-six, which produces upwards of 520 hp in the GT3 RS.
We also know Porsche is currently at work on a 911 hybrid but details remain under wraps. Chances are it won't be a plug-in hybrid but previous reports indicate it'll likely have a turbocharged engine and an electric motor. It should debut in around two years' time. Future GT cars, however, will very likely adopt hybridization in order to retain an NA engine.
As for the rumored all-electric 911, don't hold your breath. Porsche has made clear it's in no immediate rush to do this.