Porsche Baby Roadster Still In The Works?

June 15, 2009
A vintage Porsche 914

A vintage Porsche 914

Porsche research and development chief Wolfgang Dürheimer recently denied claims the company was working on an entry-level roadster, but reports breaking in the German media today argue that it's still a distinct possibility.

Though the lightweight, mid-engined Porsche 914 was far from a perfect machine even for its time, it has developed a cult following that keeps it active in motorsport and show circuits to this day. And with Volkswagen now sitting on a new mid-engined platform developed for its Bluesport roadster concept - also tipped to be headed to production - the time could be perfect to capitalize on the synergy between the two companies once again.

Speaking with Automobilwoche, Porsche production manager Michael Macht said the car could be as priced as low as €33,000 to €35,000 ($45,500 to $48,250). Macht noted that such a pricing strategy wouldn't exactly fit in with the company’s current market position but it could serve as a convenient entry-level fifth model.

A baby Porsche roadster, if built, would be a joint effort between Porsche and VW, though VW's massive corporate parts bin would likely serve as the basis for much of the running gear. Nosing around in that parts bin, VW's 1.4L turbocharged/supercharged TSI unit rated at 170 hp and 125 hp diesel four-cylinder look like prime candidates for such an application, though purists are certain to decry yet another diesel engine in a Porsche, particularly in a sports car.

Don't expect a limited-slip differential to be standard spec, either. In order to keep the car from vying too closely with the lower end of the Boxster range, Porsche will have to take some measures to keep the baby roadster in its class. At an estimated 2,200 lbs and 170 hp, the roadster could be expected to give the standard Elise a run for its money considering Porsche's reputation for chassis and suspension design. Fuel efficiency will likely be excellent given the light weight and small engine, too.

Of course, the program is still not officially confirmed and it won't likely be until very close to its unveiling, but if the entry-level Porsche roadster project does eventually see daylight, it could be just what the market ordered.

[Automobilwoche - sub. req.]

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