Listen to this article

It's hard to believe we're already approaching the mid-cycle refresh for the 992 generation of the Porsche 911. Our first prototype glimpse was back in December with a 911 Turbo, but we don't think these latest spy photos catch a turbo in any sense of the word.

It's obvious the 911 featured isn't a Turbo trim. There's no evidence of fender vents or a spoiler, and the rear fascia is a completely different design. That's where we focus our attention, as it's a very different design with a pair of exhaust outlets down low in the middle. They're certainly closer than what you'll find on a 911 Carrera or 911 Turbo, but they aren't side-by-side as you get in a 911 GT3. If anything, there's a vague resemblance to what you'd find on a Cayman GT4.

Gallery: Porsche 911 992-Series Facelift Spy Photos

That has us questioning exactly what's under that rear engine cover. All new 911s pack a twin-turbocharged flat-six, save for the high-strung GT3 which is the only naturally aspirated holdout in the 911 family. We know there are many 911 fans who prefer the purity of an engine without boost, and we also know the Cayman gets just such an engine in higher-spec models. The 4.0-liter mill makes 394 horsepower in the GTS, and even more in GT4 and GT4 RS trim. Could we be looking at a new 911 Carrera packing a turbo-free 4.0-liter engine?

It's a tantalizing thought, but we don't simply have photos on which to base this theory. Our source on these spy photos claims an informer said yes, a naturally aspirated 911 with the 4.0-liter engine is coming. It almost certainly won't have GT3 levels of power, but something in the low 400-hp range slotting between the base Carrera and Carrera S doesn't seem crazy. Of course, Porsche isn't talking so we'll have to wait and see.

That could be a long wait, too. We've only begun to see facelifted 992 cars out and about, so a debut might not happen until late this year or early in 2023.

Got a tip for us? Email: tips@motor1.com