What comes to mind when one thinks of Porsche? Aside from air-cooling, whale tails, and an enjoyable driving experience, the flat engine layout is a major distinguishing feature for the Stuttgart brand. To help control fuel economy demands in the very near future, a new boxer is reportedly in the works, and it’ll have a displacement recalling Porsche four-cylinders of old.
To help alleviate engine R&D costs, Porsche is already sharing parts with sister marques Audi and Volkswagen. In preparation for its baby roadster, which will slide into the lineup beneath the Boxster, a horizontally opposed four-cylinder was already under development. This engine is reported to have 1.9 liters, a turbocharger, and 210 horsepower with 215 pound-feet of torque. Apparently, there’s more to the four-cylinder tale.
An Autocar report uncovered the presence of another Porsche mill, earned only after allegedly winning an internal argument with the biggest corporate brass. Autocar’s sources say the turbocharged 2.5-liter flat-four (presumably water-cooled) is good for around 360 horsepower. It won’t be shared with an Audi or Volkswagen.
In an Autocar interview with Porsche R&D chief Wolfgang Durheimer at the Detroit Auto Show, he mentioned a four-cylinder boxer that “can be applied” to the Boxster and Cayman. As any Porsche aficionado will realize, the 360-horsepower output is more than any of the six-cylinders currently installed in the Boxster and Cayman.
According to Durheimer, the new turbo boxer “could be applied if necessary to the 911. Our decision is, on the 911 side, we’ll stay with the flat [six]. But there are opportunities for the future.”
So where does that leave us now? At the moment, and if the sources turn out to be correct, Porsche’s baby roadster (reputedly attached to the storied 550 moniker) could offer either or both a 1.9-liter and 2.5-liter boxer. The later Boxster/Cayman may all have 360 horsepower in a couple years.
And can we imagine a 911 with a four-cylinder mounted on and behind the rear axle? Answer: As much as we can see sport sedans, SUVs, and mid-engined roadsters wearing the Porsche crest. Don’t expect a complete drubbing of the famous high-output 911 flat-sixes though. There’s still heritage to uphold.