While there have been plenty of rumors in the past on the baby Porsche, very few things have been set in stone. While we know that the new Porsche will share a platform with Volkswagen and Audi (those cars will be the BlueSport and R4, respectively), we didn’t even have a name for the Porsche. We do now. According to Auto Express’ sources within Porsche, we now know that the new baby Porsche will be dubbed the 550.
While the up-coming Porsche 550 isn’t expected to make its debut until 2014 or so, Auto Express has secured some details on it. For starters, while we already know it’ll share its mid-engine architecture with the Audi R4 and the Volkswagen BlueSport, its body work and all-new engine will be unique to it. The new engine is expected to be a 1.6-liter turbocharged boxer F-4 producing around 200-hp or so. The rear-wheels are expected to be driven through a six-speed manual, although it wouldn’t surprise us if Porsche's P.D.K. seven-speed dual-clutch automatic made its way over here for American consumers.
The two-seater should also be pretty light. Auto Express expects it to have a manual folding roof and weigh around 2600 lbs or so. The lightness should allow the 550 to hustle to 60 mph in around 6.0 seconds, and return around 33 mpg combined. We expect the 550 to slot beneath the Boxster and realistically cost between $40,000 and $45,000.
While Porsche has seemingly set their minds on calling the new baby Porsche the 550, we’re not so sure that’s the best name for it. Looking back into Porsche’s illustrious history, they essentially have three names they could call their new small mid-engined roadster. They could go with the 356, which was Porsche's first model. The 356 was rear-engined, available as a coupe or convertible and heavily based off the Volkswagen Beetle, so much so that its engine, chassis and suspension were essentially modified Beetle parts. The next option Porsche has is the 550. The original 550 was only available with a soft top and was based off of the 356 and specifically designed for racing. Like the 356, and most Porsches that have followed, the 550 had a rear-mounted boxer engine powering the rear-wheels. The last option that Porsche has is the 914. Like the new baby Porsche, the 914 was the result of collaboration with Volkswagen (and was even jointly badged as such in Europe). Also, like the new Porsche, the 914 was a small, mid-engined convertible, powered by a small-displacement flat-4. The only issue with the 914 name is that the most hardcore Porsche-philes (the ones who still think the 911 should be air-cooled), don’t consider the 914 a “real” Porsche, which instantly kills any credibility the new car would have.
What do you think the new baby Porsche should be called? Do you think it deserves the 550 name? Or should it be called the 356 or 914 because it shares so much with Volkswagen? And while we’re on the subject, what about the new Panamera coupe being dubbed the 928? Does Porsche’s grand touring coupe of the ‘80s and ‘90s have a positive nostalgic ring to it, or negative baggage better left forgotten?
Source: Auto Express