Was the 2012 Porsche 911 Leaked Intentionally?

There’s nothing I love more than looking at leaked information from every possible angle. The sensation I get from finding a tasty morsel that has fallen off an automaker’s table is truly special. Seeing a car that the automaker doesn’t want you or me to see feels exactly as fun as finding the bike you’ll get for Christmas in the middle of summer.

Sure, there’s a lot of false information out there, but analyzing and dismissing it is half the fun. And looking into leaked information provides the added benefit of correcting myself as time passes and we get closer to a model’s actual reveal.

Let’s zoom in on the new Porsche 911 that was recently unveiled and will land in Frankfurt next week for its Motor Show debut. I’ve written a lot about this car - spyshots, engines gearboxes... even the new Targa top. The quantity and quality of sightings and leaked technical specifications has generated so much attention that it raises one peculiarly interesting question. Did Porsche enjoy the attention, and could they have let a bit more slip out just to let fans know what they were up to?

To keep things clear, you can use the article I wrote when the 2012 Porsche 911 was officially revealed as a reference point from now on, and to check if the leaked info was indeed correct. Now the only thing left to do is to look at the facts:

Let’s start with the engine front, where Porsche has taken to downsizing. The 3.6-liter engine in the base Carrera, and presumably the Carrera 4, has been replaced with a 3.4-liter flat-six that’s shared with the Boxster S. The 350 horsepower output of this and the 400 horsepower the 3.8-liter of the Carrera S have been known for a while. And so has the extended wheelbase, which was evident from the numerous spyshots. Imagine my surprise when I found out these were exact figures and not rough approximations.

Rumors were circulating the Internet of the next Porsche using a hybrid drivetrain to improve economy. Given the success of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid on the track and the fact that Stuttgart already has hybrids in the range, it might seem plausible at first, but filling the nimble car with heavy electric motors or KERS systems sounded wrong somehow, and I never covered the rumors in an article. But what does Porsche do with the unfounded rumor? They deny it:

“That’s nonsense. The system is currently applied to a race car. Nothing else is planned. The new 911 will not be offered with hybrid drive for the foreseeable future. If and when it is, then it will most likely happen as a plug-in,” a high-level source says at the time (full story here).

It’s the beginning of Summer, the perfect time to consider buying a sportscar, even though the one you want will only be available this winter, right? Only concern you might have is the high gas prices. On June 1st, I learn that fuel economy was indeed a concern for the German engineers when creating the new 911, but their answer wasn’t a hybrid system. Instead, it was rumored that the sportscar will have a seven-speed manual gearbox, with the extra cog serving only to cut consumption and emissions. Sounds about right, doesn’t it?

We now have the most important specs, so the car needs a bit of charisma and heritage. Enter the rumor of the famous Targa Top returning, which hit the web before any sightings of the configuration.

Just when I thought there was nothing more to learn about the car, this video of an almost completely undisguised model popped up, showing the new lines and proportions that I was dying to see for a while. I’d also like to remind you of this particular clip that revealed the whole back end with the exception of that bevel around the taillights.

With not much else to reveal about the car, a number of official photos of both the Carrera and the Carrera S were leaked just five days before Porsche’s own, official reveal.

I don’t want to write a conspiracy theory here, and there may be plenty of coincidences, but there’s no denying that everything we’ve read about it has made the new 911 into a really cool sportscar in the minds of certain people who weren't necessarily convinced about this before. Leaking information is smart marketing...


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