Mid-Engined Mystery: Porsche to Bring New Sports Car to L.A. Show

The Porsche 911 Speedster and GTS are both hot, new models, make no mistake. But we've just learned that their U.S. debut at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show will take second billing to a new mid-engined sports car making its first global appearance ever.

What car is Porsche showing? Zuffenhausen's being coy about that, but obviously there are multiple possibilities, though some are more likely than others. The car could be a closer-to-production version of the 918 Spider Concept, first shown earlier in the year in Geneva. While touted strictly as a concept in Geneva, subsequent consumer interest and management enthusiasm has reportedly set the 918 Spider on the fast track to limited production. Porsche execs are currently eyeing selling up to 1000 of the cars at a price of roughly $630,000.

If it's not the 918 Spyder, could Porsche's secretive middie be the rumored upcoming Baby Boxster? Said to be based on a platform shared with Volkswagen and being driven by a 250-horsepower, force-fed four-cylinder engine, the new -entry-level model would be light, nimble, quick, and fuel-efficient. While some speculate the program has been put on hold, others are holding out faith that a new roadster is coming sooner rather than later and could arrive around the same time as the small Cajun crossover. Still, we've yet to see a single test mule confirming the Baby Boxter's development.

Also long rumored is a hard-core version of Porsche's Cayman S in a similar vein to the Boxster Spyder. Speculated to be called the Cayman S Clubsport, a special-edition of the mid-engined coupe could go a long way in satisfying Porsche purists and track-day junkies. Drop weight, boost power, slap on a limited-slip diff and stiffer springs, add some special badges and a stripped-down interior a la Boxster Spyder and Porsche would have a Clubsport worthy of the name. Considering Porsche brought the Boxster Spyder to Los Angeles last year, a follow-up with the Cayman S Clubsport could be double victory for the brand.

That leaves us with one last possibility: the next-generation Boxster. With the current Boxster about to enter its sixth year of production, we've been seeing plenty of next-gen test mules being flogged across the world - from the Nürburgring to the Pacific Coast Highway. While spy photos may show a sports car that looks quite similar to the current model, a closer inspection shows that virtually every body panel is new, with subtle changes to create a higher-evolved mid-engined roadster. Power on base models should remain the same, around 255, though with a drop in displacement to 2.7 liters. The Boxster S will keep its 3.2-liter displacement and see a five-horsepower bump to 315 ponies. How will the driving experience change? As always, faster with more comfort is the goal. While the 2011 Geneva show may seem a more likely debut for such a popular model, there's a strong case to be made for bringing the drop-top to sunny Southern California first.

What mid-engined sports car do you think Porsche will bring to headline its appearance at this year's L.A. Auto Show? Will it be the 918 Spyder, small mid-engined roadster, Cayman S Clubsport, or next-generation Boxster? Let us know in the comments section below!

Source: Porsche

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