Whilst everyone was hyped on eco-friendly Ferraris (599 hy-KERS), Porsches (hybrid race 911) and what nots recently, something quite interesting had flown under the radar. My radar to be precise. A RUF Porsche 911 with a bespoke RUF eight cylinder engine; the RGT-8. Imagine having a Porsche 911 without that beloved flat-six engine.

Sounds pretty hard to imagine doesn’t it? Of course there are people that’ll argue that this is blasphemy, raise up their hands to the heavens and ask the question ‘why’; especially when that flat six is a characterful piece of engineering and sounds quite heavenly at full blast. But with all that’s happening these days nothing is sacred anymore. We have hybrid Ferraris on display, hybrid Porsches out racing, two cylinder Fiat 500s on sale today and lots and lots of electric cars too. So what’s wrong with having a totally different engine in a Porsche 911 then? Nothing much I gather and Porsche specialist extraordinaire RUF seems to think so too as they have built a 911 prototype that is powered by their own V8 engine.

The RUF RGT-8 boasts a bespoke V8 engine that actually fits well in the tiny space occupied by the trusty flat six engines of your usual Porsche 911. The 90 degree V8 engine boasts a flat plane crankshaft, meaning it won’t make those standard V8 rumbles and woofles but it would certainly have the same high pitched shriek that you would find in a V8 Ferrari instead. It may worry some enthusiasts that would actually buy a 911 for the noise it makes (or hardly makes nowadays since the latest round of revisions have actually made the flat six pretty quiet).

Now the dry sumped 4 valve per cylinder V8 has a 4.5liter displacement and produces a very good 542bhp at 8,500rpm and 369lb/ft (500Nm) of torque at 5,400rpm. It is a rev happy normally aspirated engine and the RGT-8 would be mighty fast even without any turbo or turbos. However, I would also assume that the driver would have to work harder through the gears in order to keep the car on song, since the peak power appears high up the rev range, unlike most force fed cars.

As a benchmark, the current 997 911 GT2 makes 523bhp and a colossal 500lb/ft (680Nm) worth of torque. So it could be said that the car RGT-8 would have slightly less explosive acceleration than the GT2 but with a smooth, linear power delivery right to the end. Big normally aspirated V8s are like this. The feel that this car would give will be quite different from a massive turbocharged kick from the GT2 or even the stock 911 Turbo model.

The great thing about this V8 engine is that it weighs around 440lbs (200kg). Compare this to a turbocharged flat six with its twin turbos, intercoolers and ancillaries; the RUF V8 beats it hands down by at least a good 66lbs (30kg). Somehow all that bespoke work pays off in weight savings as it makes the rear engine 911 a good deal lighter where it counts. Weight loss is down to lots of lightweight materials; one of which are the titanium conrods fitted to the engine.

In order to ensure that the normally aspirated V8 is able to keep the 911 GT2 in its sights RUF has reconstructed the 911 from lightweight materials. The doors are aluminum, the boot lid and the quite massive rear spoiler uses carbon fiber. The 19inch alloy wheels are lightweight ones of which lightweight ceramic brakes peak through the spokes. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup are the tire of choice. A very good choice indeed.

The green colored prototype has not been officially sampled by anyone yet. So no performance figures were published by RUF as yet but I would speculate its performance to be mid to high 3seconds to 60mph (even with slightly less torque as the car is lighter) and the same 206mph (331km/h) of the GT2 is highly achievable (due to its higher horsepower figures).

I suppose the only issue to having a V8 at the rear of a 911 is on emissions then. At a time where manufacturers are cutting down on displacement and making hybrids, we now have a 4.5liter V8 in place of a 3.6liter flat-six engine. So it gains some carbon emissions, but according to RUF, it still complies with US and European emissions standards and when it is sold, it will be a low volume production engine. This means that you cannot blame it for the thinning of the ozone layer or melting some icebergs. There are too few of them to actually be the main cause of any eco disasters. Anyway, I actually honestly don’t care. A V8 basically is a good thing to have in order to live a little.

RUF has made a very intriguing Porsche with the RGT-8 indeed. This would be a Porsche 911 experience like no other. RUF intends for sales to begin in 2011, and replacing that flat-six thrum with a high pitched shriek may be acceptable for those wanting something different. Although it may confuse the heck out of people expecting to see a Ferrari tearing down the road instead of the frog shaped 911 appearing in its place. Shocking, positively shocking.