Porsche 959 successor rumored: Flat-8 engine, $450k

Porsche 959

Porsche 959

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Porsche has barely gotten the wraps off the 2012 911 and it's already jumping to the next best thing.

Rumors of a mid-level Porsche supercar have been frothing for some time. And CEO Matthias Mueller has teased in the past that Porsche had its sights set on a mid-engined sports car between the 911 and 918 Spyder. This week, he gave a little more detail on how he intends the car to fit in.

Mueller said in an interview earlier this week: "It always irritated me that the (most expensive) 911 tops out at 250,000 euros (approximately $360,000) and then the 918 continues starting at 750,000 euros. In between, Ferrari moseys around relatively comfortably and without any competition. That is where we need to be. There is still space for a larger sports car, one like the 959 that we built in the 1980s."

Up until now, Porsche's potential supercar was thought to be a mid-range sports coupe in the vein of the Ferrari [NYSE:RACE] 458 Italia or Lamborghini Gallardo. But in the price bracket Mueller mentions, Porsche could be taking on the likes of the 599 GTB successor and Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4. And the fact that Mueller mentions the 959 proves that he's getting ready to bring out the big guns.

During its production run between 1986 and 1989, the Porsche 959 was one of the top supercars in the world, putting Porsche in the conversation with competitors like the Lamborghini Countach and Ferrari Testarossa. The 959 was on the cutting edge of road car design and even had a brief stint as the world's fastest car.

Since the discontinuation of the 959, Porsche has really lacked an all-out supercar. With the 918 on the way, Porsche will soon fill that role, but it looks like it wants more than just a pretty, technologically advanced hybrid: it wants a full-on, red-blooded, gas-powered supercar.

So you're probably thinking: What engine is Porsche going to use for this new car? According to Autocar, it's considering developing a flat-eight boxer engine based on the flat-four being built for the sub-Boxster model under development. That engine could be mated to the Carrera GT's transmission, and should put out around 650 to 700 horsepower if Porsche wants to compete with the big boys.

Mueller projected that the new car could sell between 250,000-400,000 euros ($360K to $575K). Compare that to the $379,000 Aventador or $310,000 599 GTB and we expect Porsche to build something very special.


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