The new Porsche will be a 718 Roadster which will be lightweight and available for £32,000.
The car will be a cut down version of the current Boxster with two seats and an all new four cylinder engine will basic equipment. It could be similar to the MX-5.
The 718 name comes from the four cylinder racing car that was built between 1957 and 1962 and raced by drivers that included Graham Hill. The modern version has the same wheelbase as the Boxster but with shorter overhangs, a lighter white body and body panels that are bespoke. The weight target is lighter at 1190kg which means that it could be 120kg lower than the Roadster.
The reduced weight is mainly saved because of the reduction in cylinders. This will be the first flat four engine for Porsche since the mid 60’s when they were in the 912. The engine is 2.0 litre is turbocharged and manages 286bhp and 295 lb/ft torque.
There will also be a 2.5 litre version which will get up to 360bhp and 347 lb/ft torque. This will have a six speed manual or seven speed dual clutch gearbox.
The lower mass target means that the top will be canvas in a Spyder style which will have a light Perspex rear window. The roof can be dropped from the driver’s seat manually.
There are rollover hoops that are fixed which makes things simpler and there are also four airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes and an ESP stability programme. There is electrically assisted steering and steel brakes with a well tuned suspension which will be capable of sharp handling and maximum grip.
Inside the car there will also be a simple approach. The seats will be lightweight and they can be adjusted manually and the instrument panel is also pretty basic.
The 718 is the vision of Matthias Muller, the boss of Porsche where he is working on repositioning the Cayman and Boxster. These cars will be revamped in 2016. The Boxster will go more upmarket with a price higher than £40,000 so that it is ahead of the 718 with a more luxurious spec. This will put it even above the Cayman for the first time which means that the fixed head car will be positioned in between the two drop-tops in the Porsche line up.
The Boxster and Cayman facelifts are also eagerly anticipated. It is expected that there could be changes to lights, wheel and bumpers as well as upgraded steering wheel design which will have a rotary drive mode selector. There will also be new driver assist systems as well as new infotainment systems.
It is expected that the 981 generation of the Boxster and Cayman will see the four cylinder engines eventually but not until after that 718 is well established in the market place.