Few vehicles in the world have such a passionate following as the Porsche 911. The forever-young sports car's shape is as distinctive as ever, but mechanical changes through the years have given rise to various levels of 911 fandom. Air-cooled is arguably the biggest debate, but turbocharged-versus-natural aspiration also fuels purists' hearts. So when rumors of a new 911 Carrera without turbos surfaced, we were understandably intrigued.

However, it appears those rumors could be just that. According to Australia-based news outlet Car Expert, Porsche 911 boss Frank-Steffen Walliser denied reports that a naturally aspirated flat-six would return to the Carrera lineage. Apparently, he wasn't cagey about it either, simply saying no when asked point-blank about it. Things don't get more direct than that. But is there more to read between the lines?

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We say that because the report specifically calls out the 4.0-liter engine used in the 718 Cayman GTS. In that application it generates 394 horsepower (294 kilowatts), which would be a comfortably modest upgrade to the 379 hp twin-turbo 3.0-liter mill used in the current Carrera. It would also rekindle the segment of 911 purists who yearn for a flat-six growl devoid of whoosh (and don't want the race-focused GT3). And general enthusiasts would never turn down more power. It seems like a win-win situation, right?

Gallery: Porsche 911 Carrera Spy Photos

Thus far, the basis for the rumors stem from the new exhaust setup seen on 911 prototypes. It resembles the center-biased arrangement on the 718, but none of our insider sources have been able to investigate beyond that, be it through sound or direct evidence. However, rumors have also suggested a smaller version of that NA 4.0-liter could find its way into the 911. Admittedly, it's a very thin interpretation, but if Walliser's answer specifically refers to a 4.0-liter engine, the door could still be open for a smaller-displacement, non-turbo engine.

Take that with a serious grain of salt, however. Car Expert goes on to say that the whole 4.0-liter program may have started out for multiple vehicles back in the day, but changing emission standards pretty much killed it. Top brass like Walliser notwithstanding, Porsche isn't talking about the updated 911 so until it debuts – which could still be a year or more away – we're left to fuss over leaks, rumors, and our own imaginations.

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