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Porsche’s current financial troubles are no secret, which is why it’s understandable that the company would welcome any additional sources of income. One suggestion is the introduction of a new entry-level roadster positioned below the current Boxster and built along the lines of the Porsche 914 of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Speaking with Germany’s Automobilwoche, Porsche research and development chief Wolfgang Dürheimer said the priority right now is to produce a car significantly cheaper than the current "bottom-of-the-range" Boxster.
Though the original lightweight mid-engined Porsche 914 was far from a perfect machine, it has developed a cult following that keeps it active in the streets and on tracks around the world to this day. With Volkswagen now sitting on a new mid-engined platform developed for its Bluesport roadster concept and eventual production version, as well as Porsche’s strengthening links with the German auto giant, the case for a new baby Porsche roadster is made even stronger.
Porsche’s production manager Michael Macht has also previously stated that the car could be priced as low as €33,000 to €35,000.
If built, the baby roadster would be a joint effort between Porsche and VW though the basic mechanicals would likely be drawn primarily from VW's massive corporate parts bin. The two engines with the most potential are the 1.4-liter turbocharged/supercharged TSI unit that's good for 170-horsepower and the 125-horsepower diesel four-cylinder.
Expect it to come sans-LSD, however, in order to keep the car from vying too closely with the lower end of the Boxster range. At an estimated 2,200-pounds and 170-horsepower, the baby roadster could be expected to give the standard Elise a run for its money, especially considering it is likely to benefit from Porsche's legendary suspension tuning and steering design.
While Porsche is yet to make any official confirmation--it's still purely in the realm of speculation, and optimistic at that--but it does make sense. Tight fuel economy requirements make production of a quick, nimble and miserly car an appealing maneuver, and tying the car into established enthusiast history could help Porsche side-step issues that such a car might create for its image. Not that the Panamera, soon to be available in diesel and hybrid forms, or the Cayenne in its many guises do much to keep with the company's tradition of sports car-focused performance.