Porsche has plans for a new mid-engined supercar that, if approved by bosses at parent company Volkswagen, will take it into direct competition with Ferrari, McLaren and sister firm Lamborghini. Porsche engineers are presently hard at work on a new sports car family that will span four models from a four cylinder turbocharged Boxster to a mighty eight-cylinder supercar that will directly target the Ferrari 458. Conceived as a regular model rather than a high-priced, limited-edition production special, the new two-seater is intended to be positioned above the 911 but below the the 918 Spyder. Roadster and coupé versions are being discussed.This would pitch the new Porsche into the same price territory as the Ferrari 458 Italia, McLaren MP4-12C and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4. The 458 Italia lists at £169,545 (Rs. 1.74 Crore) in the UK — £59,313 more than Porsche’s most expensive ‘regular’ model, the 911 Turbo.
“We’re looking to extend the range,” Porsche boss Mathias Muller revealed in a recent interview. “We’ve got an idea to do another mid-engined model. We’re thinking above the 911 but below the 918 Spyder.”Muller suggests that the new supercar has already progressed beyond the initial drawing board stage. “We have ideas on styling and design, which we will continue to develop in the coming months,” he revealed. “We’ll also evaluate the economic side and then decide [whether to push ahead].”
The Boxster, Cayman and 911 use unitary steel construction, but it is believed that Porsche is considering extensive use of carbonfibre-reinforced plastic to reduce weight. Recent low-volume models at Porsche, including the Carrera GT and 911 GT2 RS, have given the firm experience in lightweight construction. An alternative plan to borrow heavily from the second-gen Audi R8’s aluminium spaceframe architecture was never given serious consideration, according to a senior source. The initial proposals for the new Porsche supercar follow a similar parts-sharing strategy to that undertaken with the Boxster/Cayman and 911, which have a 60 per cent commonality.
It is possible that the brand could use a front end that’s similar but not necessarily the same as the 911’s, including components such as the axle and suspension. The rear end wouldn’t be unlike that of the Boxster/Cayman in architectural terms, just bigger to accommodate a larger mid-mounted engine and gearbox installation, while providing greater overall length and width than the 911. As of now the engine plans are less clear. But to compete with the 458 Italia, Gallardo LP560-4 and MP4-12C, the new Porsche will need in the region of 550 BHP to 600 BHP. Options include a version of Porsche’s 3.8-litre flat six, which in its ultimate twin-turbo form, as seen in the GT2 RS, currently kicks out 620 BHP.
We will keep you posted with further developments, until then do let us know what you think of the Porsche developing Ferrari 458 Rival and the new Supercar family!
Pic Courtesy: Autocar.co.uk