Porsche Plans 911 Hybrid; Mercedes-Maybach BEV Out

The gasoline-electric Porsche 911 will be unveiled midyear as a new addition to a facelifted eighth-generation lineup. The Mercedes-Maybach was to be sold exclusively in China.

Greg Kable

March 20, 2024

3 Min Read
Porsche 911 8th-Gen
Eighth-generation ICE Porsche 911 will coexist with upcoming 911 Hybrid.

Porsche confirms the 911 will receive its first-ever hybrid drivetrain as part of a series of changes coming to a facelifted version of the eighth-generation German sports car.

Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, drops plans to produce a high-riding luxury crossover sedan previewed by its Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury concept.

Planned to be unveiled midyear, the gasoline-electric Porsche is described as being “ultra-sporty”. Porsche says it adopts measures initially developed for the company’s motorsport activities, including its 963 LMDh sport prototype racing car.

The facelifted 911 Hybrid is one of four new or upgraded Porsche models planned for launch in 2024, alongside the third-generation Panamera (pictured, below), facelifted Taycan and second-generation Macan – the latter of which forgoes its traditional internal-combustion engine for an electric drivetrain.

Porsche Panamera Gen-3.jpg

The changes made in midcycle are intended to sustain the 911’s appeal until 2027 when an all-new ninth-generation model will join the increasingly electrified Porsche lineup.

The 911’s new hybrid drivetrain is expected to combine Porsche’s turbocharged 3.0L horizontally opposed gasoline 6-cyl. driving the rear wheels while a specially designed electric motor powers the front axle, providing all-wheel drive.

The system uses the engine as a generator, similar to a range-extender drivetrain, augmented by brake energy regeneration, negating the need for plug-in charging.

Electric energy is stored in a lightweight lithium-ion battery. With an energy capacity well below the batteries used by Ferrari and Mercedes-AMG in their plug-in hybrid performance models, it has been configured specifically for rapid energy charge and discharge properties.

A 48V integrated starter motor in the 911 Hybrid’s dual-clutch automatic gearbox will provide electric boosting properties and power for ancillary components, WardsAuto has been told.

Before the eighth-generation 911 bows out later this decade, Porsche is also set to launch an 800-hp-plus hybrid successor to the GT2 RS.

The new drivetrain has been developed via a technology transfer between Porsche’s production car and motorsport divisions in combination with Rimac, the Croatian electric-drive specialist in which Porsche holds a 45% stake.

Mercedes Scrubs Maybach BEV

The defunct Mercedes-Maybach concept initially was revealed at the 2018 Beijing auto show (pictured, below). The 4-door model was conceived around Mercedes-Benz’s EVA2 electric vehicle platform and was planned to be sold exclusively in China as an upmarket electric-powered rival to the Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Concept.jpg

A production version was earmarked for a joint manufacturing venture operated by Mercedes-Benz and Beijing Automotive Industry Corp. in Beijing. However, in a recent statement to German business publication Handelsblatt, Mercedes-Benz says it has decided not to proceed with production plans for the new Maybach, suggesting its Chinese market requirements are already fulfilled.

“To reduce complexity, we have decided not to continue the project of a China-specific additional vehicle based on the EVA2 architecture for the time being,” the statement reads.

Insiders have told WardsAuto the decision was made “several months ago.” 

The reference that Mercedes-Benz will “not continue the project…for the time being” also suggests the plush crossover sedan may be on hold. However, the same insiders insist the project has been dropped in its current form.

“If it is resurrected, it will be on a completely new platform with an 800V architecture and with more advanced battery technology, but at this stage, it has been mothballed indefinitely,” they say.

The abandonment of plans to produce the dedicated Maybach model comes after its CEO, Ola Källenius, announced the company is realigning its previous “Electric First” strategy in a move that will see existing gasoline, diesel and hybrid models continue to be produced well into the next decade.

Under the original “Electric First” strategy, Mercedes-Benz said it was aiming to be an all-electric brand by the end of the decade where market conditions allowed. But Källenius recently revealed new studies suggesting electrified models, including all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, would only account for up to 50% of total sales by 2030. 

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