That Porsche wants a new midengine sports car to counter similar offerings from Ferrari isn’t exactly earth-shattering news, but Porsche boss Matthias Mueller has apparently dished more on the idea. If he has its way, the forthcoming model could fill the gap left by Porsche’s short-lived Carrera GT supercar, counter the likes of the Ferrari 458 Italia, and help Porsche meet its goal of selling more than 200,000 units annually by 2018.
In an interview with a German newspaper, Mueller said, “It always irritated me that the [most expensive] 911 tops out at 250,000 euros ($360,000) and then the 918 continues starting at 750,000 euros ($1,090,000)…In between, Ferrari moseys around relatively comfortably and without any competition.” Mueller continued, saying, “That is where we need to be. There is still space for a larger sports car, one like the 959 that we built in the 1980s.” If such a model were produced, Mueller says it could cost between 250,000 and 400,000 euros ($581,000).
We recently went inside Porsche to discover more about the company’s Ferrari fighter, codenamed the 960. Rather than being a derivative of Porsche’s upcoming halo car, the 918, the 960 will lead development of the German automaker’s new platform, known internally as MSB-M, or modular sports car matrix, mid-engine. This platform will underpin several cars from the Volkswagen Group, including the VW Blue Sport, the next Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago, and even the 2018 Porsche 911, through a special version of the platform configured for rear-engine layout. As the platform will be widely used throughout VW’s brands, it will be able to accommodate many engine types, from in-line to boxer layouts, and V-6s to V-12s.
Porsche may opt for a twin-turbocharged flat-six engine for the 960, as opposed to a V-8 or V-12 found in other competitors. This would save space, lower the car’s center of gravity, and also allow Porsche to pull components from its current parts bin. A twin-turbo six-cylinder could also be more efficient than a V-8 or V-12, while still offering ample power. Theoretically, the engine could crank out as much as 600 hp and 555 lb-ft of torque.
Reuters says Porsche has planned three new models for the coming years, including the small Cajun SUV, an entry-level, mid-engine roadster expected to channel the spirits of the 550 Spyder and 356 Speedster, and a smaller version of the Panamera four-door GT. The 960 is still awaiting the green light, but such determination from Porsche’s CEO could mean the company’s future lineup could soon increase to eight models. Porsche’s mid-engine Ferrari competitor could go into production as early as 2015.