In fact, such a unit is in keeping with the German firm’s heritage, being used to power its first production car, the mid-engined 356 sports car.
In 1960, after more than 10 years in production, Porsche launched a revised 356, powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine.
The less powerful of the two derivatives, the Super 75, was the subject of an Autocar road test, which said: “Any 1600cc coupé which can accelerate from a standstill to 90mph in appreciably under 30 seconds must be considered a sports car, yet in many respects this Porsche has a Jekyll and Hyde character, being almost ideal day-to-day transport for two, in or out of town.”
During the testing, we found that the engine, which developed 75bhp and 88lb ft, offered strong performance, particularly when accelerating in third gear from 60-80mph, when the Super 75 “takes only two seconds longer than between 30 and 50mph, the figures being 8.9 and 6.9sec respectively”.
The 356 set the precedent that Porsche products would be not only capable sports cars but also usable everyday tools.
“The Super 75 is completely docile, has light and precise controls and is endowed with most of the creature comforts demanded of a strictly touring car,” we said.
“A traditional virtue of the Porsche is its easy running at high cruising speeds, brought about by a combination of high overall gearing and the quietness with which the streamlined body cleaves through the air. The Super 75 can maintain a constant 100mph with remarkably little commotion.