Porsche is preparing to roll out a new entry-level sports car that will help underpin the maker’s long-term future as part of the giant VW Group.
Dubbed by some insiders as the “new 356”, the mid-engined machine will not, however, be a bargain basement model, despite initial rumours to the contrary. Given the final green light, it would cost from about £33,000 in today’s money.
Instead, the 356 is expected to be based on a new steel and aluminium platform that’s being developed by Audi for its own R4 mid-engined sports car.
Work on the R4 is already well advanced, and it’s due to launch in June 2011. However Porsche’s version of the car, which won’t arrive before late 2012, is expected to be significantly different.
Aside from its unique styling inside and out, the 356 is also expected to be one of the first Porsches to be fitted with a forced-induction flat-four engine that is currently under development.This unit will also help ensure the Porsche and Audi have sharply different characters, even though the two cars have the same basic architecture.
As well as their common structure, the two cars will share many other costly sub-systems. These include the electrical architecture, climate control system, basic suspension layout, electronic chassis systems and innumerable hidden parts, such as seat frames and door locking mechanisms.It’s also likely that the Porsche will share its transmission with the Audi because the longitudinal unit used in the 911 and Boxster is thought to be too costly.