Entry-Level Porsche Roadster Rumors Hint At Reborn 356

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Talk of an entry-level Porsche, possibly based on a collaborative platform with Volkswagen's Bluesport roadster (pictured), has been circling the web for over a year now. With Porsche's renewed focus on making not just limited-volume, purist sports cars--see Cayenne, Panamera--the entry-level, sub-Boxster idea makes a lot of sense.

In fact, such a car could tie Porsche's commercial necessities and its sports car heritage together in a way that no one except elitists would object to. An affordable, balanced, and fun-to-drive mid/rear engine sports car would satisfy the purists, while selling lots of them would satisfy the bottom line.

The latest report says the sub-Boxster model could be a "new 356"--a re-envisioning of the model that launched Porsche onto the global sportscar scene. The platform would be less related to the Volkswagen Bluesport and more to the Audi R4, though all three would share elements according to previous reports.

Audi's R4 is actually expected to launch by summer of 2011, so the Porsche model could be along within a year of that date if development moves forward briskly. Power would be expected to come from a flat four-cylinder displacing about 1.9 liters with a possible mild turbocharging setup or a supercharger for around 250 horsepower.

The reborn 356 would of course get its own unique Porsche-designed interior and exterior, so as to be easily distinguishable from its corporate platform mates.

At the right weight such a car could rival the Lotus Exige in outright performance while costing somewhat less, at least in the U.S. Currently the Boxster and Boxster S are fairly close price rivals to the Lotus Elise and Exige, though their heavier weight and greater power output slot them into a different class.

All of this discussion is far from official, however, and with Porsche's ongoing financial difficulties and new Volkswagen ownership interest, there's a lot that could yet change before the summer of 2012.

[Autocar]

 
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Comments (22)
  1. Cool car Idea, but it will be cheaper and the prestege of owning a Posche will go down. But I want to see how it will look.

  2. This just leaves me so blah...I can't even think of Porsche after what I've seen of their online bullying practices.

  3. Quote: "their online bullying practices"
    Not sure what you refer to. You mean their insistence on protecting their trademark and their copyright materials?

  4. A "new 356"? If it's mid-engined, it should be the "new 914-6"!

  5. As an elitist, I object to this.
    I buy Porsches because yes, I love the way they drive, but also because not everyone can have one. To cheapen the brand will just drive me to another exclusive manufacturer.

  6. And how does this resemble a 356? I'm not an elitist but a purist, respectful of tradition. Under the VW umbrella the entry level market is there via VW. There is no reason to "dumb down" a Porsche for the masses. What's next, a RR Phantom on a VW Bug platform?

  7. I started with a Boxster, am now in a Carrerra. You cannot imagine the drive, unless you have spent time behind a Porsche wheel. But what got my attention was the 356 many years ago.

  8. 250 hp mid-engine and 2,250#? Sign me up!

  9. This conjecture seems to assume that the 356 was some sort of lower-priced vehicle. Not even close. It was priced above the less expensive British sports cars and on par with the Jaquars and the Corvette. A more apt comparison would be with the original 924. It too was originally a VW design. And while it was never loved by the 'elitists,' it did make Porsche a pile of money.

  10. What a ridiculous idea. If anything, it brings to mind the 914. Not that the 914 was bad, but it had is' day. It's sickening enough that Porsche's greed caused the "takeover" to backfire. Now they're just a division of VW. Wait, maybe they should do this after all. No point in actually distinguishing themselves from their Too Big For Their Lederhosen new parents. Hello, Aston-Martin...

  11. I think it a great idea. I started with a VW in the 60's which one could consider a cheap 356. Then I drove my brothers 356 and I was hooked. I have on order my 5th Porsche. The point is to build brand loyality and you start that with something affordable.

  12. I'll just keep my 911 targa handmade Porsche . Looks like the value of my car will go up since it's a real Porsche with same hp and weight .

  13. For those of you that scoff at what Porsche is doing and say you will be driven to other brands...can you even afford a Porsche?
    I'll be curious to see how the new "356" (a reference created by the media) actually comes out. If it's cool they'll sell a lot of them...like they did with the Cayenne, Boxster and Cayman. If you don't like what they are doing then you aren't a potential customer.

  14. The person who posted about the 356 not being "entry level" is correct. This series was never an inexpensive or down level first Porsche. I believe the 914 comparison is closer to the mark. I also think done well this is a viable strategy to get younger people (and some older ones on fixed incomes) into the Porsche mystique. I think the average age of Porsche ownership has become dangerously high. They need to do it right however so thAt it is demonstrably a Porsche. A few racing versions and commensurate victories would go a long way to achieving this in my opinion. The 914 was and still a winner in class.

  15. OK, what is "356" about this car? If the author did any research he'd know the only mid engine 356 was the first 356 built, after that they were ALL rear engine cars. The reality has already been posted, this would be a modern 914, which by the way still kills much newer modern sports cars, at competition events, including much newer Porsches at the Porsche Club of America's annual Parade autocross.

  16. Bad idea. If you want an inexpensive porsche buy an older model put some money into it. There are plenty of online stores that carry every porsche 944 part down to the ashtray. The more older porsches on the road the more CLASSIC the cars become.

  17. I think this is a great idea. A 500hp 3600 lb 911 is a long way from a "sports car" and a long way from the original 911. I drive a Porsche because of the superb handling and engineering and driver feel, not because of the prestige. If you just want prestige, get a Bentley Continental GT. I have a 1991 911 and a Mini Cooper S JCW. This new Porsche should be light like the Mini, rear engined like the 911 and handle and steer like the early 911s but with modern safety gear. I think they will sell a ton of these.

  18. I had a 356 Roadster for years, this looks like a Nissan. Come on you can not be serious. Does Porsche pay for these articles?

  19. Elitist! Elitist! I'm now an elitist because I don't want Porsche to be another Miata! Damn I'm upset at this article. Corvette--I'll be back.

  20. I bought an entry level Porsche new in 2002. It was called a Boxster. Still love my car.

  21. It's not a bad idea but have they ever thought that
    there are miriads of preowned boxsters and caymans around at a very attractive prices,not to mention the preowned 911's that are meticulously well taken cared off, priced irresitibly tempting.

  22. Hi guy's,
    I think it will be cheaper and the prestege of owning a
    Posche will go down.it will looks better.

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