Porsche, the once unassailable leader in the sports car segment, has proven that it is not completely shielded from the current economic crisis sweeping the globe. In an official statement, Porsche revealed back in March that its sales have been struggling and earlier in the year the company reported a 27% decline in sales. Hit hardest was the Boxster mid-engined roadster, which despite a recent facelift has experienced a sales decline of almost 60%.

To overcome this, European media is reporting that Porsche is looking to expand its Boxster range with a cheaper base model. If the reports are true then Porsche is strongly considering a new Boxster model powered by the same engine found in the Audi TTS.

Currently, the base Boxster features a flat-six engine that outputs 255hp (190kW) and 213lb-ft (290Nm) of torque. Introducing the new TTS engine as it is found in the Audi model would give the Boxster an additional 20hp (15kW) and 44lb-ft (60Nm) of extra torque, as well as allowing the car to be sold for a cheaper price.

According to Auto Motor and Sport, the idea of putting the TTS engine into Boxster has already been discussed by a joint Audi-Porsche product planning committee, and if Porsche decides to go ahead with the plan then we might see a raft of new Boxster owners swayed by the cheaper price tag. In Europe, the cheapest Boxster runs for around €46,500 ($64,000), but with a TTS engine in place it has been estimated this figure could go down to €40,000 ($55,000).

However, some obstacles may stand in the way of a Porsche-Audi tie-up, especially the issue of brand cannibalization between the two. There is also the issue that many Porsche purists will have with an Audi engine, rather than a Porsche engine, sitting under their bonnet.

The story doesn’t end there, however. The same reports also claim Porsche is considering adding a new roadster model to its lineup that will be positioned below the Boxster. For more information on this vehicle, check out our previous story by clicking here.