Entry-level Porsche Roadster renderingEnlarge Photo
Hot on the heels of this morning’s reveal of the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder comes this new computer-generated rendering of what a brand new ‘entry-level’ roadster model from the esteemed sports car company could look like.
There have been countless reports on Porsche adding a fifth model to its lineup, one that is cheaper than the Boxster and several executives at the company have even hinted at the car. The introduction of such a model would allow Porsche to increase its sales while maintaining exclusivity of hallowed models like the 911.
If built, the new model could be built along the lines of the original Porsche 914 of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Though the 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 an advanced 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.
The baby roadster would be a joint effort between Porsche and Volkswagen though the basic mechanicals would likely be drawn primarily from Volkswagen’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 turbodiesel 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 Lotus Elise a run for its money, especially considering it is likely to benefit from Porsche's legendary suspension tuning and steering design.
There remains no official confirmation of any such joint project as yet--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 it into established enthusiast history could help Porsche side-step issues that such a model 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.