Tracing the rumor-paved path of the Porsche "baby" roadster is tricky. It has been confirmed, denied, rendered and now today, hinted at by VW chief Martin Winterkorn. If it does come, the new roadster would slot in below the Boxster and share a platform with VW and Audi vehicles.

If that sounds a lot like the Porsche 914 to you, that's because it is, in a way. It has also been seen as a revival of the 356, though it would be in spirit only. But whatever it is, it's at least under serious consideration at Porsche. In an interview with Autocar, Winterkorn let slip that a "smaller sports car" is being investigated at Porsche, as is a smaller SUV.

Entry-level Porsche Roadster rendering

Entry-level Porsche Roadster rendering

A sub-Boxster Porsche roadster would likely share a platform with the Audi R4, already confirmed for 2012 production, and also the VW Bluesport. Variously depicted in rumors as a revival of the 914 or 356, the new roadster would likely feature a flat-four, possibly with forced induction, and an output around the 250-horsepower mark. That would put it safely below even the base next-gen Boxster in straight-line performance, though with a light enough curb weight, the baby roadster would still likely offer world-class handling.

Don't expect it to be incredibly cheap, however--it's still a Porsche, and the VW version will likely fill that role. A mid-engine layout and core underpinnings is about all the various VW Group small roadsters will share, with unique sheetmetal and interiors making them very different to the casual observer.

2011 porsche baby cayenne motorauthority 001

2011 porsche baby cayenne motorauthority 001

The smaller SUV has also seen much in the way of rumors, though most of the spy shots and renderings have actually been the next-gen, smaller and lighter 2011 Cayenne. A smaller sibling to the Cayenne would focus even less on off-road performance than the next-gen Cayenne, offering instead a sports-crossover approach, meaning a higher seating position and decent cargo room, but otherwise car-like demeanor.

If the baby roadster does go into production for Porsche, expect it sometime after 2012. The SUV would likely come even farther down the road.

[Autocar]