Ah yes, Audi. The luxury brand is not exactly overjoyed by Porsche's foray beyond sports cars. Top management there is adamant that Audi must retain full control over the A8 as well as the A9, a newly planned full-size coupe and convertible. Having said that, the new Porsche platform will be lighter and have much better weight distribution than the nose-heavy MLB platform on which Audi builds most of its current lineup. The brand might not be able to refuse superior Porsche parts when it comes time to replace the current A8 five or six years from now.
Has Porsche bitten off more than it can chew? Beyond the political war it might spark with Audi, the sheer volume of projects could destabilize an automaker that just a few years ago built only the 911, the Boxster/Cayman, and the Cayenne. But if Porsche can overcome these challenges and achieve its lofty engineering goals, it could bring huge rewards both for itself and for the Volkswagen Group.
Porsche's full plate
Going forward, Porsche will offer up to eight distinct models on four architectures. It will also do the heavy lifting for several non-Porsche models. Here's how it could come together:
2013: 918 Spyder, Cayman, Lamborghini Gallardo
2014: Audi R8
2015: 918 coupe
Tentative: Porsche 550, Audi R5, VW Bluesport (currently on hold)
2012: Long-wheelbase Panamera
2016: Panamera, Pajun, Bentley Continental, small Bentley sedan
2017: Pajun four-door coupe, small Bentley coupe
2018: Pajun convertible, small Bentley convertible
(Developed by Audi)
2013: Cajun (based on Q5)
2015: Cajun two-door
"This job is definitely not only about fast cars. It is also about huge synergies and about a substantial return on investment. To meet our targets, we must fuse efforts in a way that protects the brands yet makes the bottom line shine." -- Matthias Mueller, Porsche chairman