As hard as it is to believe, there were higher ups within the Volkswagen Group that wanted to see the iconic Porsche 911 adopt a modular vehicle platform engineered by another of the group’s brands, most likely Audi, to help reduce development costs and streamline production. We can gladly report that such sacrilege will no longer occur as the man at the top, CEO Martin Winterkorn, has told Porsche that it will lead in developing new platforms for the group’s next generation of sports cars and luxury sedans.
The latest announcement will come as a major blow to Audi, which had lobbied significantly for the opportunity. It also quells fears that the role of the Porsche brand would be reduced now that it is under the control of the ever-expanding Volkswagen Group.
One of the new platforms Porsche is to develop is the future "modular standard matrix" that will underpin the next-generation Panamera and a new entry-level sedan for Bentley. With any luck it will also spawn a future Lamborghini four-door. Porsche will also be responsible for the development of a sports car platform that will be capable of spawning front-mid- and rear-mid-engined cars for Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini.
To supplement its new duties, Porsche’s development center in Weissach, just outside of Stuttgart, will get a new wind tunnel, design center, electronics integration center and about 100 engineers.
As mentioned, another Volkswagen Group brand was originally meant to develop the sports car platform but this strategy faced strong resistance from Porsche engineers, who claimed the design would not be able to meet the strict criteria, namely stiffness and handling prowess, Porsche’s cars demand.
The additional vehicle platforms, both the modular standard matrix and the new sports car platform, will join existing designs such as the “modular longitudinal matrix” found in cars like the Audi A4, A5 and Q5 and “modular transverse matrix” that will underpin the next-generation Audi A3 and MkVII Volkswagen Golf.
For the Volkswagen Group, using a common modular platform helps reduce development and production costs by 20 percent and new models take about 30 percent less time to engineer. It also enables increased production flexibility, allowing a greater range of models to be produced at shared plants.