Hatch hope on Porsche

The next 911 may hatch a hatch, writes PAUL GOVER in Italy

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige News -

THE next Porsche 911, co­de­named the 991, will have ev­ery­thing from au­to­matic head­light con­trols to a new gen­er­a­tion of per­for­mance en­gines.

And there is a chance the 991 could be a hatch­back.

The new Porsche per­for­mance spear­head is sched­uled for late in 2010 and 911 boss Au­gust Ach­leit­ner re­veals there is a lot in the mix.

‘‘This will be a big change,’’ he says of the car, care­fully avoid­ing any con­fir­ma­tion of the new name, which will fol­low to­day’s 997 and the 996 that came be­fore it.

He con­firms that a new wiring sys­tem and elec­tri­cal ‘‘bus’’ will open the way for elec­tronic up­grades, in­clud­ing the auto-on head­lights notably miss­ing from the 911.

But it is the me­chan­i­cal as­pects, in­clud­ing the GT2 turbo with PDK au­to­mated man­ual gear­box that comes be­fore the change to the 991, that ex­cites him.

‘‘This will be a very good car,’’ Ach­leit­ner says.

He says there has been talk at Porsche of a per­ma­nent change to the hatch­back rear end fit­ted to the lat­est 911 Targa. It’s hinged rear win­dow im­proves rear head­room in the car’s twin jump seats and gives an ex­tra 25 litres of lug­gage space.

But there is a stum­bling block — and it has noth­ing to do with styling, cost or com­pli­ca­tion.

‘‘This is a con­cern for our motorsport col­leagues. The rear win­dow is im­por­tant for the stiff­en­ing of the body,’’ Ach­leit­ner says.

He says a rollcage would re­store much of the lost strength, but com­pe­ti­tion use is an im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion for the 911 and there could not be a hatch­back go-ahead without a work­able so­lu­tion for com­pet­ing on the track.

Targa tar­get: the hatch­back on the lat­est Targa range could be utilised in the next 911.

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