Porsche is considering engineering a flat-eight boxer engine for its Ferrari-rivalling supercar, company bosses have admitted.
At the first unveiling of the new 991-series 911, Wolfgang Hatz, Porsche head of Research and Development said such an engine was ‘possible’. He told Autocar: "We have to go into that market properly equipped.".
This week Porsche CEO Mathhias Müller said he was ‘irritated’ that Porsche didn’t compete with Ferrari in the 250,000 Euros-plus price range. He said there was space for a car like the seminal 1980s high-tech 959 model.
Porsche engineers have long been frustrated by the fact that the company’s iconic flat-six engine cannot be extended much beyond 4.0-litres. It’s also felt that in the Ferrari-dominated market, eight cylinders are a pre-requisite.
Moving to a larger engine would also differentiate the new model from the new 911 and next-generation Cayman range. It’s thought that the creation of such an engine has been made easier by the engineering working currently being done on the new turbocharged flat-four engine, which will be offered in Porsche’s planned entry-level roadster. This all-new motor is thought to be modular, allowing it to be extended into the next-generation flat-6 and a flat-8.
Hatz also said that a development of the Carrera GT’s ultra-compact transmission could be used for the new model. Such a transmission would free-up space for the use of the longer eight-cylinder engine.
"We could develop it, of course, One of the key issues is where we put the differential, but it is a possibility," he said.
In 1969 Porsche built two flat-eight equipped versions of the mid-engined 914, one of which was given to Ferry Porsche (Ferdinand Porsche’s son) for his 60th birthday. The other is in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. Despite the concept’s age, the 3.0-litre naturally-aspirated engine was still good for nearly 300bhp.