Porsche Officially Scraps 718 "Baby Boxster" Plan
Despite having had a gestation period of at least three years, during which the project never actually made it past the drawing board, the plan for a new entry-level model in the Porsche lineup has been apparently been put not on the backburner but canceled altogether. The information comes straight from the head of R&D at Porsche, Dr. Wolfgang Hatz, who confirmed the somewhat sad news to the folks at Autocar.
"The project is stopped. We have a very good entry point to the range with the Boxster, and we see no reason to go below that. Porsche should remain exclusive, and you cannot chase volume when you are such a brand. The Boxster is our perfect entry point - we have already set the right entry level." Hatz told Autocar.
Expected to slot beneath the Boxster in the Porsche lineup, the model had been rumored to wear the 718 moniker as a nod to the company’s mid-engine racing car from the late 1950s and early 1960s, which at the time was a very successful racing development of the famous 550 Spyder. Part of a project that would have unified the R&D programs of both Porsche and Volkswagen even more, the model would have been based on an all-new aluminum-intensive architecture with a mid-engine layout.
At Ingolstadt’s end of the deal, the Porsche 718 would have gotten the rumored Audi R4 as both a platform mate and a competitor, which is probably one of the reasons why the project’s business case didn’t exactly add up in the end. As some of you know, the Audi R4 is now also stillborn.
Click past the jump to read more about the Porsche 718.
Why it matters
In a theory that also coincided in nature to that of Porsche’s CEO Matthias Müller at some point, an entry-level Porsche roadster in the style of "Dean’s 550 Spyder" would have made a good deal of sense in the lineup, at least from the customers’ points of view. Unfortunately, for the car to exist its platform would have needed a lot of R&D and production investments, which probably were a bit too high even if two distinct models would have been birthed from it.
Not to mention the fact that the proposed Audi R4 project was the one that got cancelled first, leaving Porsche with just a nice idea for a car and not enough moolah to back it up. All is not lost though, as the flat-four engines that were supposed to power the 718 Spyder will eventually see the light of day in the facelifted Boxster and Cayman starting at the end of 2015.
I personally suspect that the turbocharged, flat-four engines with direct injection will have a version that may also fuel a resurrection of the Porsche 912 nameplate, which to date is the only four-cylinder 911 in history. That model could sit between the Cayman S and the "normal" 911 in Porsche’s sports coupe range, bringing with it a larger customer and fan base. We will see if that idea comes into fruition after the mid-cycle refresh of the 911 arrives in 2015.