Get out your salt shakers friends, we have a big bowl of rumor soup that needs some seasoning. Autocar is reporting that Porsche is readying a mid-engined coupe, codenamed 988, with a flat-eight engine as a direct competitor to the Ferrari 458 and Lamborghini Huracan . Autocar is claiming that with the power output of the current flat-six reaching its theoretical maximum, Porsche needs to look to more cylinders to keep pushing performance. With Porsche already using eight cylinders to power its new range topping 918, there is some credence to this claim.
The move makes a certain level of sense. With the 918 being a limited production model that is more a science experiment than a viable long-term model, Porsche will be looking to fill the gap with something that is cheaper to produce. This new model is expected to birth an entirely new era at Porsche with an all-new platform and a new engine architecture that will expand to every mid- and rear-engine car the company makes.
If the claims about this new super Porsche hold true, the world of sports cars is about to get a lot better.
Updated 07/08/2014: We have created a very cool rendering for the future Porsche 988. We hope you like it!
Click past the jump to read more about the 2018 Porsche 988.
It wouldn’t be hard to imagine it sharing lots of visual cues with the current 918.
Considering this car may not even exist in the way we believe it does, we obviously have no idea what the car will actually look like. There a few things we can speculate on though. For starters, it will obviously have a very recognizable Porsche face. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine it sharing lots of visual cues with the current 918. The rear of the car will be extremely wide and longer than expected. The width and length will both be necessary to have room for the horizontally opposed eight-cylinder to fit.
You can get a good idea of what the car may look like by looking at the Carrera GT . With its large V-10 engine the Carrera GT had a longer rear deck, similar to what the 988 will likely require.
The new mill will maintain the traditional horizontally opposed design that has been a hallmark feature for Porsche for decades.
This is one of the most interesting and exciting parts of the 988. To make more power while maintaining engine balance and efficiency, Porsche is apparently going to make an entirely new engine. The new mill will maintain the traditional horizontally opposed design that has been a hallmark feature for Porsche for decades. Rather than using the current flat-six, however, the 988 will debut an entirely new engine range with a 4.0-liter eight-cylinder. The car is rumored to have four turbochargers and should produce more than 600 horsepower. This would put the Porsche on the winning side of the horsepower war when compared to cars like the Ferrari 458 and Huracan. Thanks to forced induction, the Porsche should also take top trumps in torque as well.
This same engine will be cut down to various sizes to use in other models throughout the lineup; a 3.0-liter for the H-6 and a 2.0-liter for a flat-four. Considering the current size and power ratings of the various Porsche’s currently in production, if this new engine plan goes into effect, every car will come with some form of forced induction to keep performance on-par with what is currently offered.
The chassis system of the new 988 is also setup to handle a future of AWD or hybrid drivetrain options.
One of the modular parts is designed for a traditional mechanical AWD setup while the other has been created for an electric system.
Making new engines is only part of the plan for Porsche’s new 988 and lineup revamp. Along with the new powertrain, the 988 will be built on an all-new modular platform that will underpin every rear and mid-engine car for the brand and even potentially underpin other VW family vehicles like the Aventador replacement.
The new platform will make heavy use of composites in its center structure for rigidity and weight savings. To this composite structure Porsche can bolt one of several new aluminum front or rear sub-frame structures. Autocar claims that there are currently three front ends for the platform. One is very traditional for use with a RWD drivetrain, but two of the systems are set up to handle the front axles of an AWD system. One of the modular parts is designed for a traditional mechanical AWD setup while the other has been created for an electric system. The current 918 uses an electrical front motor to create the car’s AWD system, so expect this new front subframe to resemble that in form and function.
The same modular format holds true for the rear of the 988’s platform as well. Since Porsche is looking to create a family of mid-engined cars with engines sizes ranging from four to eight cylinders, the rear end needs to accommodate. As this new platform will also underpin the next 911, there needs to be concessions for a rear engine setup as well.
This early into the development phase of the car we obviously have no real info on the pricing. That said, considering its target market it would make sense for the 988 to hold an MSRP somewhere in the $275,000 to $300,000 range. Porsche could target a cheaper price of around $250k for a base-level RWD model and then charge $325k or so for an AWD hybridized model in the vein of the 918.
With a mid-engine layout, eight cylinders and 600 horsepower, the 988 is a natural competitor against the Italian-built Ferrari 458. The latest incarnation of Ferrari’s supercar darling is the Speciale. With less weight and more horsepower, the updated Speciale will put up quite a fight against this new German challenger.
There are very few people in the world who don’t regard the 458 as the best sports car money can buy. Will the traditional precision and balance that Porsche is known for be enough to dethrone the king? By having more horsepower and more usable torque, Porsche would certainly be stacking the deck their favor. If the engineers at Stuttgart manage to sell this thing with a modified version of the seven-speed manual gearbox in the 911, it may just win over some fans.
The 458 is getting a little old though, and a replacement model is expected to arrive in 2018. The 988 will not only be competing against the 458, but it will also need to best the next mid-engine Italian to wear the Prancing Horse badge.
Gallery Ferrari 458 Speciale
The Ferrari 458 may be the most dramatic and exciting supercar in this range, but the 650S is pretty close to the fastest. With some of the most advanced engineering available on a road car, the 650S can handily outrun most any other car that exists in this world. Thanks to McLaren’s focus on precision and engineering, it is very likely that it will be similar to the 988. Depending on the exact power output of Porsche’s new eight-cylinder, it is likely that the McLaren will hold the upper hand in power.
Just like the Ferrari, the McLaren 650S will also be a bit aged by the time the 988 rolls out. Considering how fast McLaren has progressed on its road cars in such a short time, it will be difficult for Porsche to keep up with the inevitable upgrades and model improvements these plucky Brits have planned.
I think to really stand against McLaren, Porsche needs to focus on getting the driving sensation of the 988 perfect. Speed matters, but Porsches all have a very special feeling. This feeling could be the major key differentiator between it and the 650S
Gallery McLaren 650S
There are a lot of maybes and what-ifs regarding the exact future of this machine. Autocar has a strong record of reliable information when it comes to leaks like this, but it does seem hard to imagine that Porsche will essentially rebuild 70-percent of its product line in just a few short years with all-new engines and platform architectures.
That said, a cheaper and less hybridy version of a 918 sounds promising. Without the hybrid tech, the door is open for Porsche to sell this new car with a manual transmission, and that sounds like quite an amazing thing.
- Flat-engine is unique and should be powerful
- Cheaper than the 918 it will replace
- Potential for the return of a supercar with a manual transmission
- Will still be very expensive
- Could be less powerful than competitors from McLaren
- Will look a lot like every other Porsche ever made