A new report from AutoCar says that the rumored entry-level Porsche 718 model has been cancelled. We reported on this model back in June, speculating that it would be smaller and cheaper than the Boxster, with a new four-cylinder engine mounted in the middle. Plans for this model’s aluminum and steel chassis, rumored to be shared with Audi as well, have been nixed, making it an unlikely bet for production anytime soon.
All hope for a new entry-level Porsche sports car is not lost, as our European bureau chief Georg Kacher says that something much more interesting is in the cards. No, Porsche will not be rolling out a new model, but the 718 name will still be in play, instead applied to the next-generation Porsche Boxster and Cayman models. The new name will accompany a slight perspective shift for these mid-engine sports cars, as the new four-cylinder boxer engine will make its way into a lower-priced, entry-level version of the 718.
It’s easiest to understand this change if you think of the 718 name as an all-encompassing model range like the iconic 911. Just like the 911 offers models all the way from the 350-hp Carrera to the 560-hp Turbo S, the new 718 will offer a wider range of performance levels, all of which will retain the mid-engine construction of the current Boxster convertible and Cayman coupe (pictured). Porsche’s new flat-four engines will power the lower models, which should come in at a significantly lower price than the current Boxster’s $52,395 starting cost.
We previously reported that this new engine would come in a variety of tunes, so the base Porsche 718 will likely be offered with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with around 285 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A larger, 2.5-liter four-cylinder is said to make around 360 hp and 345 lb-ft of torque, and a turbocharged version of the four-cylinder may make as much as 400 hp. We’re not sure at this point if the Porsche 718 will continue to offer six-cylinder boxer engines like the current Boxster and Cayman, which offer 2.7-liter and 3.4-liter six-cylinders making between 265 hp and 340 hp. Instead, this four-cylinder lineup could replace the six-cylinder powertrains for the 718 altogether.
Expect to see the Porsche 718 appear sometime in 2016 before going on sale as a 2017 model. In the meantime, Porsche will be updating the current Cayman and Boxster models with high-performance variants called GT4 and RS Spyder, respectively. Stay tuned for more information about the new direction of Porsche’s smaller sports cars as we hear more about the new Porsche 718 range.