By on August 11, 2010

TTAC’s writers don’t always agree with each other, but we can’t help but rub off on each other a little bit. After all, as our Jack Baruth puts it, “great artists steal.” Lately we’ve been treated to a tour of Jack’s love-hate relationship with the Porsche brand in his take on Paul Niedermeyer’s “Deadly Sins” series. And if the latest news on Porsche’s product plans [via Auto Motor und Sport] are anything to go on, we can probably expect more Baruthian takedowns of Zuffenhausen’s flights of fancy going forward.

Porsche will end production of its 997-generation of 911 sportscars at the end of this year, and will tool up for a whole new generation (known internally as 991) which will go on sale in Europe in November of next year. As usual, expect the next generation to continue the steady evolution of the 911′s aesthetic and performance, which means there should be few surprises when it finally hits. If anything, the 991 faces the challenge of evolving enough. Chances of Deadly Sin status: 8:1.

In the spring of 2012, a new generation of Porsche’s Boxster roadster should also debut. Again, few details are available, which suggests that the third generation of Porsche’s mid-engine roadster will be another evolutionary change. A Cayman hardtop version is scheduled for Spring of 2013. Chances of Deadly Sin status: 10:1.

Also debuting by 2013 will be Porsche’s 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, which will replace the departed Carrera GT as Porsche’s halo technology showcase. The limited-production 918 Spyder will cost a half-million Euros, and should be a breakthrough in terms of offering world-class performance alongside fuel economy that should be unrivaled by its supercar competition. Nothing on the horizon promises the kind of technological and performance breakthroughs that the 918 does, so it’s tough to see the hybrid Porsche being anything but a runaway success. Chances of Deadly Sin status: 100:1.

A long-rumored return of a two-door GT in the vein of the 928 is projected for a 2014 release, underpinned by the Panamera’s front-engine chassis. A convertible version had been floated as well, but apparently the concept has been taken off the table due to problems maintaining the chassis’ stiffness after a soft-top conversion. With four-door coupes taking over for their traditional two-door predecessors in Europe, one has to wonder why Porsche can’t be content with the Panamera alone… especially since it’s become the top-selling Porsche in the all-important US market. Will there be a market for a two-door Panamera? Probably. For at least a little while. Is it in any way a crucial product for the brand? Not so much. By the time it debuts, the 918 will serve as the brand’s halo, and a doubtless pricey 991 will already be on the market as an iconic symbol of the brand’s values. The 928 was, in many respects, an original Deadly Sin for Porsche… the new Panamera-based GT will likely follow in its footsteps. Chances of Deadly Sin status: 4:1.

By the end of 2014, Porsche will also be coming out with another sure-fire Deadly Sin: the long-rumored “Roxster” or “Baby Cayenne” SUV. Needless to say, the Cayenne is a well-established Deadly Sin, especially the cheaper V6 version. If Porsche is going to play in the SUV segment, a big, expensive, driver-oriented ute is clearly the way to go. A re-worked Audi Q5 though? Porsche’s product planners foresee the “Roxster” selling 30k units each year globally, especially in China where luxury compact CUVs are starting to take off. Sure, the baby Cayenne has an opportunity to become an especially driver-oriented CUV, but more likely it will be another brand-cheapening exercise in volume-boosting. Chances of Deadly Sin status: 2:1.

Finally, a mid-engined, entry-level roadster is planned for 2015, based on the underpinnings of the Volkswagen BlueSport Concept. Billed as a “modern-day 356 Speedster,” the baby Porsche is more likely to resemble a modern-day version of another Porsche Deadly Sin, the 914. And with VW and Audi versions of the same mid-engine concept planned, the PO374 as it’s known will either be really cheap (for a Porsche) or it will be insanely expensive in comparison to its Audi and VW cousins. Three-way differentiation of an entry-level sportscar sounds like a challenge worthy of the most ego-driven auto execs in the industry… not to mention a disaster for the Porsche brand and confusion for consumers. On the other hand, a lighter, cheaper Porsche could introduce a whole new generation of enthusiasts to the Zuffenhausen brand. The major challenge: making it so much better than the Audi and VW versions that consumers have good incentive to step up from the pedestrian versions (or their Miatas). Chances of Deadly Sin status: 6:1.

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29 Comments on “Porsche Product Plans: More Deadly Sins On The Way?...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    So let’s pose the question from the opposite side…is there a Porsche that IS worth owning?

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      If you have to ask the question, the answer is probably “no”. If the answer is “yes” for you, you already know it and if you don’t own one yet you want it so bad it hurts.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      Yes. A 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder.

      Twotone

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Yes, a low mileage Boxster or Cayman are both good fun and decent value. There are also some plain 911 that are also worth a look. Fortunately there is no shortage of Porsche drivers that like to polish their cars more than drive them so used is the way to go.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    I refuse to believe that the 928 was a Deadly Sin. The sin, if anything, was in not relegating the 911 to niche status and letting the front-engined cars reign supreme. Now the sin is in not making the most of the Boxster and Cayman chassis, once again to protect the 911. But none of these models are deadly sins for what they are.

    A Porsche compact SUV, on the other hand, has a 100% chance of being a Deadly Sin.

    I’m looking forward to a new entry-level roadster even if it does share bits with a VW. It might end up being a Deadly Sin, but the brand could use a new on-ramp and something to get younger enthusiasts interested – especially since the natural entry points (moderately used late models) have all croaked due to IMS failure.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Seems unlikely that very many cars have been scrapped due to IMS failure. They are young enough and worth enough that they are getting repaired, even though it is a big wallet-buster for the owner.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      +1: Put the GT3 engine in the Cayman and all other Porsche sports cars are obsolete.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      Put the GT3 engine in the Cayman and all other Porsche sports cars are obsolete.

      True, but it would be mighty funny looking. The GT3 dry sump isn’t going into the Cayman/Boxster body envelope. And the engine itself may not without some significant body rework.

      There is a guy on one Cayman forum who blew up his engine – lots of level 4 (serious) overrevs from chipping it and track days. He’s having it rebuilt as a 3.6L with better quality internals – IIRC, Carrillo forged rods and pistons, more oil capacity, an additional oil pickup and pump, suspension changes, ceramic bearing for the IMS. All this won’t get huge power changes – the guy is looking for modest HP gains and more low end torque. His primary goal is a stronger engine so he can have fun on the track without worries. THEN if you put a light pressure turbo on that to get to in the range of 380 to almost 500 rwhp you’ve obsoleted everything else Porsche makes. As JB pointed out in an earlier jeremiad, it wouldn’t cost Porsche all that much to do that – a lot less than the $40k+ that a private party would spend. All it requires is sacrificing the 911 sacred cow on the altar of progress. You could do something similar for the current generation DFI engines too and avoid adding the oil scavenge pump and bearing upgrade. But all that money you’ve spent – you may as well have burned it – you’ll never get it back if you sell.

    • 0 avatar
      grifonik

      Chance of Poorsche adding a turbo to the Cayman, 1:0.

      But, TPC will do it for you. http://www.tpcracing.com/products/TPCRacing-987-Cayman-S-Turbo-Kit/

    • 0 avatar
      Libertyman03

      chuckR: “All it requires is sacrificing the 911 sacred cow on the altar of progress.” That is an excellent image, and a ridiculously good point.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Looking at the above photo – I notice that there isn’t a minivan in the Porsche line up.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Deep in the bowels of Porsche’s skunkworks (StinktierWerks) engineering division, various doktors of the dark art of platform engineering are hard at work on a top secret project, known internally as the 666, or, as it will be named if and when it becomes available commercially, the Paprika. Based on the Cayenne architecture, the Paprika will move Porsche further into the truck market. Our auto observers have documented Porsche engineers testing Maloos and Holden Utes from Australia on the Nurburgring. When these engineers were asked if they were exploring the possibility of converting the Cayenne into a modern-day version of a Ford Ranchero or Chevy El Camino, they responded with, “Kein Kommentar!” No comments aside, the Paprika has the potential to deliver greater utility to the Cayenne lineup, and bring the mullet into fashion in Zuffenhausen. Chances of deadly sin status: 1:1

  • avatar
    carguy

    VW is to Porsche like Bobby Brown is to Whitney Houston. Now that they back together the chances of more deadly sins are virtually assured.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Not mentioned, but not outside the realm of possibility: a Porsche-fied Volkswagen E-Up! to tackle CAFE standards. Called the Dr. Ing. h.c. F.-e, it will only be available for sale to those who already own a Porsche, just as the Aston Martin Cygnet is only for Aston owners.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    You can sort of understand this kind of badge proliferation at BMW or Daimler, who aren’t owned by anyone and need to grow if they’re going to survive.

    It’s a little odd to see it at Porsche: they’re joined at the hip with VW, and VW has Audi, Bentley and Bugatti to fill all the little gaps where Porsche cannot or should not go. It’s the same stupidity that saw every GM brand make a vehicle in every segment, or Ford with PAG.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Don’t kill me, but is there anything having to do with car racing heritage or automotive history behind the “Spyder” badge? I’ve seen this on Mitsubishi Eclipses, I believe some Toyotas (for the tuner crowd) and I’m sure there are some that I’m missing, and now the Porsche Spyder whatever. All the numbers flying around make it hard to keep up with what is what.

    In case you can’t tell I’m not a Porsche person. Don’t have the money, can’t afford one, so why punish myself.

  • avatar
    cole carrera

    Porsche isnt stupid!

    Dont like it don’t buy it. Not for you. Desibrable expensive sports cars not going anywhere.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Porsche is a niche player and its best chances for survival and success lie in staying a niche player with strong brand identity. The car maker has always occupied sports car space just below exotics. Fortunately for Porsche, that market is not so large that many will enter it directly, but there are a number of cars that offer a sporting experience with more versatility and at price points Porsche chooses not to or cannot touch.

    Over time, I suspect Porsche’s pricing will become more and more open to challenge. For example, around $50k will get you a base Cayman that doesn’t even come with auto climate control. Reasonably optioned, the car will sticker for $55-60K. There are more than a few sports sedans in this price range that are far more powerful and luxurious. Do they handle as well as the Porsche? No. But they handle well and at some price point the Porsche handling advantage simply will not be enough for many customers to justify purchasing the car. If Porsche is not at that price point already, the company is getting close.

    • 0 avatar
      ccd1

      Let me amend my response. A reasonably optioned base Cayman will run you $60k. That is the base with metallic, paint, 18″ wheels and only two option packages: the convenience package (so you get things like HID lights and auto climate control) and the info package (which give you nav which I could do without, but you cannot get things like sat radio or ipod connections without it). There may be few sports cars to compete with the Porsche, but there are plenty of sports sedans at this price point. We are in 335is and S4 territory. The handling of either may not be quite as sharp but they have back seats and more power. Add $10k for the Cayman S and you are in the middle of super sedan territory (ie M3, CTS-V, RS4, etc). Porsche pricing really tests your desire to own a Porsche

  • avatar
    JMII

    When does the Porsche pickup truck come out? If Lincoln can do it why not Porsche too? ;)

  • avatar

    I’ll offer a heretical Deadly Sin, the 917. Its superlative performance, racing dominance, outrageous looks and sheer speed allowed Porsche to crow about technical superiority as the 911 aged. Porsche’s success in racing, both with works teams and with privateers like Brumos, has given its road cars credibility that they haven’t always deserved.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Don’t forget the 904. There should have been a production version of that car. But, we got the 911 instead. It was so beautiful. Still looks great today. It was also my first Porsche – I was about six years old and it was a plastic scale model in silver.

  • avatar
    Libertyman03

    I don’t understand why Porsche sees the need to become a mainstream automaker. If you want a German car for cheap, buy a VW. If you want a German car for more, buy and Audi. And if you want a German car for a LOT, buy a Porsche. The key word is “car”, in Porsche’s case. And not four-door ones either. Porsche is known for sports cars, however crappy they were made. And they have gained a very loyal following with that. Why muddle the illusion of prestige with SUV’s, crossovers (and name it Roxster?!?), and big, UGLY, sedans?

    Bottom line: Porsche, let’s leave the luxury vehicles to the true German prestige brand…Mercedes-Benz of course.

  • avatar
    JeremyR

    Depending on how the “baby Boxster” turns out, I might be interested in one. I could probably never buy a new Boxster (too expensive), but something a little more affordable–if it retains its Porscheness–just might do it for me.


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