Note: Porsche 550 rendered here.
The rumors about Porsche’s baby-Boxster roadster are swirling up again with new reports coming out of Germany. This time, the news suggests the new car will surface for the 2016 model year and sport two versions of a flat-four engine. Dubbed the 718, this rumored roadster will slot under the Boxster in terms of price, horsepower, and weight, while still offering plenty of go-fast performance for buyers looking to spend less than the Boxster’s $63,000 asking price.
The report from Focus pins the 718’s two four-cylinders as displacing 2.0- and 2.5-liters with horsepower outputs of 282 and 355, respectively. Porsche will combine these engines with a DSG gearbox and manual transmissions that will drive the rear wheels. The combination of a lighter, mid-mounted, four-cylinder engine and a lighter chassis means the 718 will surely be a hot performer.
Rumors also claim that Porsche engineers are using a modified Boxster platform with a reduction in mass coming from extensive uses of aluminum. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the new Roadster also use lots of carbon fiber, as the cost of CF production keeps falling and becomes more pervasive in the industry.
Though the official word isn’t out yet, experts say the car will cost roughly $53,000 — a solid $10K less than the base Boxster. That said, the 718’s upper trim level, which includes the 355-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, will probably only undercut the Boxster by a few thousand. Either way, we appear to be getting a more pure drop-top from Stuttgart by 2016.
Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche 718.
Why It Matters
The addition of a smaller, lighter, and more pure roadster from Porsche is big news. This represents the first sub-Boxster car in recent history and will open up the brand to a slightly larger audience with its reduced asking price. What’s more, considering the Boxster and its fixed-roof Cayman brother get more and more powerful, Porsche almost needs something smaller and less costly to fill the now-vacant base-car slot.
Just keep in mind the term "base-car" doesn’t mean the 718 will lack that special Porsche flair or refinement, or than it’s a econo-roadster with shoddy build quality. Expect a lower cost with smaller accommodations while still experiencing everything that makes a Porsche a Porsche.
The Audi TT is scheduled for a heavy revision for the 2016 model year that includes two new engines borrowed from the upcoming Volkswagen Golf GTD. Both engines will displace two liters, but differ in horsepower output. The base 2.0-liter will send 230 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque to the all four wheels while the more powerful version kicks out 310 horses and 280 pound-feet of torque. Both engines feature turbocharging.
The small dimensions and likely rebirth of the topless roadster version will mean Porsche might have a hot competitor on is hands. Expect pricing for the new TT to start around $40,000 with the more powerful, 310-horse TTS starting around $52,000.
Gallery Audi TT
The Stingray is sort of at the opposite end of the two-door roadster spectrum. It’s massive American V-8 rumbles 455 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque from its 6.2-liters and power is only sent to the rear wheels. While the Vette isn’t as “European” as the other two cars here, its updated styling, bettered fit and finish, and overall performance makes it a solid competitor. An eight-speed automatic or seven-speed manual transmission is available, with the automatic costing $1,350 more.
While the available options for the Vette are nearly limitless, a base convertible starts at $58,000.
The Porsche 550 is really the 718 before we knew the details listed above. Rumors have been floating around since at least 2011 and have been generally consistent with information. The two engine options and their specific sizes have continually been reported as 2.0- and 2.5-liters, so it’s a pretty solid bet on what we can expect. Also a safe gamble is its size and price point, so don’t expect much to change there.
Here’s our previous rendering of what the 550/718 might look like.