The Porsche 960, known internally as “FeFi” (for “Ferrari fighter”) is moving full speed ahead. We last reported that the car would employ a high-output flat six, but that engine, although frugal and light, was deemed insufficient for a vehicle that will likely cost as much as twelve-cylinder cars like the Ferrari F12 berlinetta and the Lamborghini Aventador. The solution: a boxer eight. Word has it that Volkswagen Group chief Ferdinand Piech approved this application. Piech used to drive a one-off Porsche 914 equipped with a boxer eight-cylinder, and, more recently, the chairman was said to be driving a Cayman fitted with a flat eight. Featuring four turbochargers, two intercoolers, four adjustable camshafts, a complex multistage intake manifold, and dual-stage exhaust, the 3.9-liter engine is expected to deliver 650 hp. It will be mounted low in the middle of the car, connecting to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The 960 relies on an aluminum-intensive architecture supported by steel, carbon fiber, magnesium, titanium, and other composite elements to keep weight to about 3000 pounds. Porsche is resisting high-tech, heavy add-ons such as the 918’s electric motors. All-wheel drive made the cut and adds close to 200 pounds but earns its keep by getting the power to the ground — 0 to 60 mph allegedly takes only 2.5 seconds. An even more raw, rear-wheel-drive GT edition may follow. No convertible, for now.
The design, forecast above by our illustrator, should hew closely to that of the 918, but the underlying architecture will be shared with everything from the next Boxster to the Aventador’s successor. Unlike the 918, this won’t be a limited-run model. Porsche thinks it can sell 3000 to 4000 of them annually over a six-year life cycle. Production in Zuffenhausen will likely commence in early 2017.