By on March 15, 2017

All Porsche 911 Turbos - Image: Porsche

Meet the new Porsche 911, Porsche will say in two years, same as the old Porsche 911. Same as the 911 before that, which was same as the old 911 before that and, well, you get the picture.

If you’re looking for the kind of revolutionary design changeover seen when Ford introduced a new Mustang in 2005 or Dodge unveiled a new Ram for 1994 or Hyundai debuted the 2011 Sonata, you’re looking at the wrong automaker.

This is the Porsche 911 we’re talking about, the car that causes other automakers to believe they, too, can merely tinker with existing models to please loyalists and protect their resale values. (We’re looking at you, Chevrolet Camaro.) This is the Porsche 911, a car that still carries its engine where Camrys carry groceries. This is the Porsche 911, a vibrant $90,450–201,450 ode to success that sells more often than budget-minded Toyota sports cars and Buick convertibles.

There’s absolutely no reason to change it. As a result, the Porsche 911 that will drop in 2019, CAR Magazine has revealed, will scarcely be distinguishable from the outgoing 911.

From a purely U.S. perspective — the 911 produces more than one-quarter of its global volume in America — the slowly evolving 911 design clearly hits the mark, with Porsche reporting relatively level sales from one year to the next in a segment of the market known for severe fluctuations.

In the lead up to the 2017 model year mid-cycle refresh, U.S. 911 sales fell to a four-year low of 8,900 units in 2016. But even that drop represented only a 15-percent drop from 2013, when sales had risen to the highest point since before the recession.

Mercedes-Benz SL-Class sales plunged 47 percent during the same period; the Nissan GT-R tumbled 44 percent. Fresher than the others, Audi R8 sales in 2016 were nevertheless down 36 percent from that car’s peak. BMW i8 volume slid 30 percent, year-over-year, in 2016.

Not only have those cars suffered greater fluctuations, they don’t sell nearly as often as the 911, either. Combined, the Mercedes-Benz SL, BMW i8, Audi R8, and Nissan GT-R were outsold by the 911 by 2,151 units in calendar year 2016. For every 911 sold in the U.S. last year, the Maserati GranTurismo, Mercedes-AMG GT, Bentley Continental GT, Dodge Viper, Cadillac ELR, and Acura NSX produced three-quarters of a sale.

By the standards of other high-priced sports cars and GTs, the Porsche 911 is prodigiously popular. It is without equal. Peerless. So-called 911 fighters may be 911 fighters on paper, in buff books, and at the race track, but they’re not even eligible to fight in the same ring when it comes to the actual, real-world marketplace.

(We’re excluding the far more popular Chevrolet Corvette, which is roughly 40 percent less costly than the 911 but sells more than three times as often in America.)

Original 911 and Porsche 911 991 - Image: Porsche

The 911 that performs so well in the marketplace essentially looks the same as it always has. Sure, it’s bigger than it used to be. The current model doesn’t have the over egg headlamps from 1999. The body gracefully bulges over the rear wheels, rather than ostentatiously emerging from the body, aft the rear doors, with greater girth in the 1980s. But while wider and longer, the 911 has maintained its silhouette; its roofline has remained artfully intact.

Every few years, Porsche designers are charged with updating details, but the enlarge button on the office Xerox machine remains their greatest tool.

And why not. The formula always works. Markedly more comfortable, quieter, powerful, and efficient now than ever before, the Porsche 911 is still unmistakably a 911 on the outside — just what 911 buyers want — and undeniably a modern luxury car on the inside.

Porsche is able to charge jaw-dropping sums of money for a car that, in upcoming generation 992 form, will donate much of its architecture to the more affordable 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman. 911 profit margins, already high by industry standards, will be greatly enhanced by spreading the development costs across multiple model lines, and perhaps into other Volkswagen Group brands.

The eighth-generation Porsche 911 is likely wider while featuring more rear wing, thinner taillamps, and an available hybrid powertrain.

You’ll know it’s a 911 when you see it. Whether you know it’s the das neue 911 depends upon the amount of Porsche-branded attire in your closet.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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24 Comments on “Breaking: Next Porsche 911 Looks Exactly Like the Current Porsche 911...”


  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    The red one! That’s the one you want!

  • avatar
    ajla

    “We’re excluding the far more popular Chevrolet Corvette, which is roughly 40 percent less costly than the 911 but sells more than three times as often in America.”

    Don’t worry. GM will be putting an end to that soon.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    “(We’re excluding the far more popular Chevrolet Corvette, which is roughly 40 percent less costly than the 911 but sells more than three times as often in America.)”

    I would have used “and” rather than “but” in that sentence.
    .
    .

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Considering that Porsche loyalist seem to get off on being charged out the wazoo for ridiculous options (“$20,200 for the 911 R Bring-Your-Own-Engine Package”), I think “but” is a fair conjunction here.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I still get worked up over seeing a properly sorted SC…and the last ones rolled out of Stuttgart/Zuffenhausen in 1983!

  • avatar
    RHD

    If the 911 were an American car, it would have been a timeless classic at the outset, then made much larger in the 2nd generation, then turned into a longer, lower, wider 4 door, then a 4 door with suicide doors, then an even larger personal luxury coupe, then a soap-bar styled medium sized luxury coupe, then discontinued, only to be revived a few years later with a bland modern version of the original, which would sell very slowly, then disappear forever.
    Porsche seems to be doing something very, very right.

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      Sounds like the Thunderbird story…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I mean, Porsche seriously tried that. There were several planned replacements for the 911, a lot of which made it into production, but none of them stuck. Even the name “911” refers to a chassis code that has long expired. And I think it would have been the same whoever made the car. The allure of the 911, evidently, is such that no one could replace it.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    I don’t think Porsche gets enough credit for the continuing 911 look. It’s so easy to say that they haven’t really changed anything, but if you see an early 911 next to any reasonably current model you’re forced to realize that they’ve changed absolutely everything — and yet somehow the essence of 911-ness lives on, unmistakably and undeniably. This is a very considerable achievement.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Well, when you put the engine behind the drive axle — and that axle is the rear axle — the opportunities for radical appearance changes are limited. Just as front longitudinal engine cars and front transverse engine cars, respectively, have a sameness in their appearance. By contrast, consider the radical appearance change of the second generation Acura Legend (with a longitudinally-mounted I-6 engine) from the first (with a transverse V-6) and the third (also with a transverse V-6).

      What is remarkable is that Porsche has managed to make a bug (rear engine) into a feature. The original VW Beetle derived 4-cylinder Porsches were fun to drive, with their light air-cooled 4-cylinders. I had the privilege of driving a 356 Super C in 1969. The original 911, with the heavier air-cooled flat six was lethal to those not prepared for massive trailing throttle oversteer. Over the decades, Porsche managed to fix that with more sophisticated suspensions, staggered wheel sizes and much more capable rubber. Even to the point of accommodating the added weight of water cooling and more displacement. So, bravo for them. Form follows function in this case.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    One wonders what Porsche will do when the baby boomers who desire and can afford these cars have shuffled on.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      They’ll focus on the Boxster, Cayman, possibly a new entry level reborn 914?

      They’ll shift where the trends take them – with the SUV craze they created 2 SUVs, once the baby boomers are gone and the next generation who can’t afford a house come along they’ll probably move into smaller crossover SUVs, Golf GTi alternatives and the likes. As part of VW group they have plenty of platforms and engines to pick and mix from.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        I don’t doubt that, but I believe there is no groundswell of aspiration for Porsche in the under-50 demographic. They’ll have to slug it out with the rest of the Germans on equally unenthusiastic footing.

  • avatar

    As the owner of three 911s, I can confidently say that the new 911 is irrelevant compared to the new Cayman – unless you require back seats.

    In that case, get an M3.

    • 0 avatar
      NeilM

      Or unless you want the one that still has 6 cylinders.

    • 0 avatar
      WallMeerkat

      Unless having a bootlid constantly rattle annoys you.

      Seems to be a thing with VW group – they just don’t seem to be able to fit large hatchback bootlids correctly, I’ve heard of rattles from Caymans, Golfs, Rapids and Octavias. (RR Evoques seem to be bad for it too, as does the European Mondeo 5 door aka Fusion)

  • avatar
    tomm

    NeilM – “and yet somehow the essence of 911-ness lives on.” Well stated. Until recently, the last 911 I had owned and driven was a 1991 several years ago. I test drove a 2016 911 recently and it immediately reminded my of 1991. There is something about the seating position and location of controls that just seems to fit with me. Not overly fancy or overtly styled. And everything about the way the car drives, and the feel of the controls exudes quality and durability, IMO. It is a sports car that can easily be driven on a daily basis.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    Say what you will about the styling and design. I was just out in a GT3 RS at 175 on airstrip; and also a Turbo S out on public roads. Big grins and loads of fun. MUCH LOVE

  • avatar
    Spartan

    The 911’s timeless design is one of the reasons why I really, really want one. My stop gap car is an Audi S5 V8 6MT because I’m a sucker for a V8 and needed a backseat big enough to put my son’s Diono carseat in.

    Looking back, the S5’s backseat is probably as much of a penalty box as the 911’s backseat.

    Once I sell the S5 in a few years, I am buying a 911.

  • avatar
    5280thinair

    This strategy seems to be spreading at VAG. VW branded models undergo only modest makeovers, and the same basic look is used on multiple vehicles (e.g. Jetta and Passat, at least in the U.S.). Audi’s A4 still has styling clearly derived from the 1997 original.

    I think it’s successful when continuing the look on a model that’s been generally well-received and has a positive identity, and not so well when you’d rather forget the previous generation.

  • avatar
    hreardon

    I think that the cost and risk of alienating ones customer base is going to push automakers to do more of what Audi is doing with its model line: Keep the A4, A6, A8 fairly conservative, but leverage your architectures to profitably release body style variants such as the A5 Sportback or A7 to appeal to those looking for something a bit more unique.

    Audi charges a fair premium for the A7, which is nothing more than an A6 with a liftback.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    It could be argued that either VW groups designers are the laziest or the most skilled.

    Each generation of Golf, 911, Passat etc. looks like a tiny nip tuck of the previous.

    However at the same time, it can be difficult with iconic models with distinctive shapes – Golf, 911 etc. or even the Range Rover or 2001 MINI (both documented at AROnline) trying to freshen a look of a model without alienating customers.

    Helps with resale value too which in turn helps PCP finance which makes it an attractive proposition for private or business “buyers” – the 3 series F30 looks like an evolution of the E90 which means that the model still looks fresh, used car values all round are strenghened, finance terms are lowered because of the perspective equity in the vehicle, meaning that in the UK a 3 series or A4 (which can be really difficult to tell one generation from the next) is cheaper to finance than a Mondeo (Fusion) or Insignia (sub-premium Buick Regal)!


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