Currently reading: Modern-day 914 on the way, hints Porsche
Design chief suggests that classic sports car is being brought back as an entry-level model for enthusiasts
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3 mins read
13 February 2020

Porsche has talked openly about the possibility of bringing back the 914. The move has fuelled rumours that the German car maker is actively preparing the way for the launch of a new back-to-basics model aimed squarely at enthusiast drivers.

In an official interview posted to its Newsroom website, Porsche has detailed the history and design of the 914, launched in 1969, recognising it as a successor to the iconic 550 Spyder and describing it as a “typical Porsche” in terms of engineering.

It also asked if there is a future for the mid-engined 914 in an interview with head of design Michael Mauer.

Mauer said that a “cheaper, entry-level Porsche would be the right thing to do”.

He added: “We have this discussion all the time… A modern 550 in the broadest sense – a very simple, unpretentious car.”

Mauer – who recently relinquished duties as head of design for the Volkswagen Group to focus on design operations concentrated at Porsche’s Weissach R&D centre – hinted that Porsche is considering two alternatives for a spiritual successor to the 914 in a move aimed at reaching out to young customers.

The first is what he described as “a car with almost no electrics, everything mechanical, puristic”. The second, he said, is “a car for a target group of people who drive Audi TT RSs or Golf R32s”.

Mauer, who is credited with the design of the original Mercedes-Benz SLK, indicated that internal discussions about a modern-day 914 at Porsche are split along two lines.

He said: “Sales might see things differently. From this standpoint, a much cheaper entry-level Porsche would be the right thing to do – but that’s not my approach.”

Instead, Mauer called for a “puristic, reduced, back-to-the-roots” type of car. “I think the time has come. That would be typically Porsche again,” he said.

Mauer praised the styling of the original 914, saying: “To have the courage to design something like this, so big but without a swage line, without fashioning everything, that’s really fantastic.”

His comments also reveal that work to revive the mid-engined model has already progressed beyond discussions into a design phase. He said: “Modern, reduced style – the more I work with the 914, that’s exactly what I’m fighting for now. This reduced, puristic approach. Integrating things. Not one line too many.”

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Whether a 914 successor would remain faithful to the original in terms of combustion-engine propulsion remains to be seen.

In theory, Porsche has the perfect powertrain in the form of the compact, mid-mounted flat-four turbo motor in the 718 Boxster and Cayman – perhaps with revisions to help it appeal more to purists.

A fully electric powertrain – such as that set to be launched in the 718 models by 2022 – is also a possibility, but Mauer’s description of a car with “almost no electrics” appears to counter that.

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Comments
17

13 February 2020

The 914 has grown on me over the years and today I'd far rather have one (particularly the Flat 6) than any 924/944. Incidently, wasn't the Boxster the "entry level Porsche" when it was first introduced?

13 February 2020
Leslie Brook wrote:

The 914 has grown on me over the years and today I'd far rather have one (particularly the Flat 6) than any 924/944. Incidently, wasn't the Boxster the "entry level Porsche" when it was first introduced?

It was but as with every manufacturer each generation gets bigger/ more luxurious. In 20 years time they will introduce another 914 successor as this successor ends up with a V6 and massive spec due to 'customer demand'

13 February 2020
SamVimes1972 wrote:
Leslie Brook wrote:

The 914 has grown on me over the years and today I'd far rather have one (particularly the Flat 6) than any 924/944. Incidently, wasn't the Boxster the "entry level Porsche" when it was first introduced?

It was but as with every manufacturer each generation gets bigger/ more luxurious. In 20 years time they will introduce another 914 successor as this successor ends up with a V6 and massive spec due to 'customer demand'

I take your point about successive generations becoming bigger - though the main increase in dimensions over the years has been down to impact protection for passengers and more recently pedestrians however no Porsche buyer is ever going to demand a V6 in their Porsche sportscar - they should have a boxer engine and nothing else.

13 February 2020

Wasn't this a thing back in 2003, alongside the VW Bluesport and Audi R2?

MrJ

13 February 2020

Your Boxster visual looks like a knockoff Toyota Mister Two.

13 February 2020

Makes sense, the Boxster-Cayman is now 'big enough' in every sense for an entry-level model beneath. And this 550, or whatever it's called, is perfect for the four cylinder boxer that hasn't gone down particularly well in those more established models.

It also gives the Boxster-Cayman the opportunity to re-establish the flat 6 for more than just the GT4-GTS.

(Thanks Autocar, your hilarious spam rules won't allow a forward slash as a separator..)

13 February 2020

This is no inspired vision, folks.

Look: you've just invested millions & millions of Euros in a boxer 4-pot that nobody wants ...not even your other kith & kin in the VW Empire.

Customers stay away in droves...and then you go & install a 4.0 litre six-pot into a 718 GTS just to re-confirm what everyone knew: that the boxer 4-pot has as much charisma as....well....an Honda generator.

What to do ?  Whilst you've not yet been closed down by Greta Thunberg...you get those pesky engines out the door at almost any price....like a really cheap car (for Porsche)...with nothing in it except that lovely 4-pot.  Simples.

13 February 2020
BB - you've hit the nail on the head.
Let's hope they do it anyway and really do put nothing in it.
No turbos, no multimedia, no other nonsense.
Simply a genuinely simple light cheap pure roadster.
IMO it's not likely to end up as that, unfortunately...

13 February 2020

That any modern 914 will have to be either a simplified Cayenne platform or they split things a different way. Maybe the purists' Cayman could be twinned with the new car and the Boxster twinned with the 911. I don't know how much Boxster and 911 share today as they did with the old 996 though.

What's certainly significant is that Mauer is talking about it. But surely, given sports cars are dying off at a spectacular rate that Porsche doesn't need four of them?

13 February 2020

The Boxster has hardly grown at all over four generations.  The current one is less than 50mm longer and 25mm wider than the original.   Of course, sharing a great deal with the 911 meant the original was bigger than one might have imagined.

I wouldn't trade in my 981 Boxster for the flat-four turbo current model , but I might be interested in a smaller Porsche convertible, ideally an EV.

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