Porsche's New Engine: Flat-Four Under Develoment

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Porsche’s planned “Baby Boxster” has been a divisive issue for fans of the Zuffenhausen brand: on the one hand it holds the promise of a pure, low-cost entry to the Porsche driving experience; on the other, it’s a neo-914, a Volkswagen first. And with VW and Audi versions planned as well, what on earth would be the point of Porsche offering a third version of a mid-mounted, inline-four-powered roadster? Luckily that’s not a problem Porsche will have to worry about, as the firm’s R&D boss has confirmed to Autocar that

We have a four-cylinder boxer engine under development.

Apparently the design being tested now is a 2.5 liter unit making as much as 360 HP with turbocharging… which means that this engine’s potential goes beyond merely the Bluesport-based Baby Boxster (please Porsche, give us something to call this car… and make it better than “Cajun”). Wolfgang Durheimer says that this engine “can” be used in either the Boxster or Cayman… but that’s not all. If gas prices (or government regulations) require it, the engine could power the return of the 912. According to Durheimer, the first purely Porsche-developed flat-four

could be applied if necessary to the 911. Our decision is, on the 911 side, we’ll stay with the flat [six]. But there are opportunities for the future.

And Durheimer’s probably not the only one who sees opportunities with this engine. From 914 restomods to “Powered by Porsche” WRXs, this engine could (if nothing else) become a favorite of well-heeled, eccentric tuner-nuts. And with Porsche’s recent emphasis on hybrids and corporate synergy getting a lot of the play, it’s heartening not only to see Porsche developing a new downsized engine, but also doing what it takes to make its entry level roadster a “real” Porsche.

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  • Blowfish Blowfish on Jan 18, 2011

    I’ve always felt that Posche should have developed a flat-8 engine rather than the V8s that are in the Panamera and Cayenne. Porsche does have racing heritage with the flat-8s with F1/908 engines they fielded. Flat 8 needs much more engine bay room, can be hard on a Front engine or Mid/rear eng configuration. Probably a better firing config , they can have single plane crank on a pancake?

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on Jan 19, 2011

    I always thought it would be neat if Subaru made a mid or rear engine sports or touring car AWD of course. The Porsche folks might complain but it would be a neat halo car like the old SVX or XT

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  • BEPLA "Quality is Job........well, it's someone's job, but it's not our job.Neither is building vehicles that people actually want or need.We only build what's most profitable. If only someone would buy our 97 day supply of SuperDutys."