Porsche is thought to be working on two new models to serve as bookends for the automaker’s sports car lineup once the current 918 Spyder flagship is out of production. One will be an eight-cylinder supercar to rival the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia and McLaren 650S and the other will be a lightweight speedster serving as a spiritual successor to the legendary Porsche 550 Spyder of the 1950s.
The latter is the focus of our latest report. The new speedster is expected to revive the 718 name last used on a Porsche race car in the 1960s, and just like the original it will be lightweight, mid-engined and powered by a four-cylinder boxer engine. Yes, the new 718 is expected to be the first model to feature Porsche’s new four-cylinder boxer engines. Additional models will include next-generation versions of the Boxster and Cayman.
Underpinning the 718 will be the same platform as that found in the Boxster. But the car will be devoid of most luxuries, finally giving certain Porsche fans the purist sports car they’ve been seeking. Note, the 718 isn’t expected to be much cheaper than what you'll currently pay for a Boxster; instead, expect pricing of the Boxster and Cayman models to slowly creep upwards.
According to CAR, the target weight for the 718 is 1,190 kilograms (2,623 pounds), which is around 120 kg (264 lbs) lighter than the Boxster. The weight savings are said to be brought about by the smaller engine plus a stripped-out cabin, Perspex rear window and manual-fitting canvas roof.
As for the powertrain, the 718 is expected to feature in base trim a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 286 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A larger 2.5-liter unit will also be available, offering 360 hp and 347 lb-ft. A six-speed manual will be standard, with a seven-speed PDK dual-clutch offered as an option.
In the styling department, look for retro cues from the 550 Spyder and original 718. The wheelbase is said to be the same as that of the Boxster, but the overhangs made shorter. Finally, a pair of rollover hoops are said to sit behind the seats.
The launch of the 718 is said to happen sometime in 2016, with the launch coinciding with the arrival of facelifted versions of the Boxster and Cayman.