It could, but it won't.
Porsche has pledged that the 2-litre engine inside the 718 Boxster and Cayman duo will remain the company’s smallest engine as the folks from Stuttgart don’t have plans to downsize furthermore. The important announcement was made this week at the Los Angeles motor show by Michael Steiner, the member of Porsche's executive board responsible for R&D.
This will certainly come as good news for diehard Porsche fans as some of them have criticised the decision to take the four-cylinder route for the entry-level 718 models. Steiner went on to specify that it’s technically possible to go below a 2-litre unit, mentioning that something as small as a 1-litre engine can be done, but to put it into a production car wouldn’t be a good idea.
A smaller engine would necessarily have to come with an electric boost to form a hybrid powertrain that would provide the much important low-end torque, otherwise it would not make a lot of sense to have a car powered solely by a small combustion engine. Adding a comprehensive hybrid system to work with a downsized conventional engine to provide an optimal amount of power and torque would add a lot of complexity and weight, which in turn would effectively neutralise the advantages.
That said, hybrids are gaining momentum as around two-thirds of all latest-gen Panameras sold in Europe are electrified models. Porsche is toying around with the idea of giving the 911 a hybrid setup for its next iteration, but a fully electric version won’t arrive for at least another 10-15 years because current batteries are still heavy and need to slim down first before being installed in a 911 EV.
Hybrid technology has evolved greatly in the last few years at Porsche considering the 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car pushes out a whopping 900bhp from a turbocharged 2-litre V4 engine teamed up with a lot of electric trickery.