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Porsche scoop special: Porsche 550 (2015)

By Georg Kacher (artist's impression by Christian Schulte)

Spy shots

29 September 2011 09:38

It's Porsche Scoop Week at CAR Online, as we bring you the lowdown on every future Porsche on our radar. These are exciting times in Stuttgart as Porsche is subsumed into the Volkswagen bosom - and the pace of new model development is accelerating. Stay tuned this week as we uncover every new Porsche sports car coming in 2011, 2012, 2013 and beyond!

Project Mimo is the working title for Porsche's new junior sports car, a sub-Boxster coupe plopping Porsche right into Elise territory.

Loosely dubbed Porsche 550, the new entry-level Porsche would be twinned with Audi's proposed R5 and Volkswagen's BlueSport. The projects are still at an engineering feasibility stage and none has yet been greenlighted. Officially, at least.

Our artist's impression gives a flavour of what the new Porsche 550 could look like. Frankly, we hope any production version would suffer less from the Boxster-is-a-911-is-a-classic-Porsche Russian doll syndrome that afflicts so many of the current range.

Porsche 550: the engineering story

The whole of Project Mimo - standing for Mittelmotor, or mid-engined - has only recently been transferred from Wolfsburg to Weissach. Creating a common DNA for all three models (and others not yet mentioned) is a huge challenge for the Porsche engineers under their new R&D chief Wolfgang Hatz, who used to be the number one engine guy at VW.

The VW Group architecture destined for these models is expected to be MSS, and product planners are investigating Porsche, Audi and VW editions, most likely in roadster and coupĂ© form. But sources tell CAR that further additions like Speedster/Spyder/Shooting Brake are all being considered.

Four- and five-cylinder engines will be the staple powerplants, and it'll offer rear- and - for Audi - all-wheel drive.

Manual and seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions are being factored in, while the power steering will be electric and optional brake upgrades ceramic. Magnaride adaptive dampers are also on the to-do list at Weissach.

Porsche 550 gets a 1.9-litre flat four

While the Audi version will sport a five-cylinder engine from the TTS/R, Porsche is developing a new trademark horizontally opposed four-cylinder for the 550.

Engineers say that turbocharged versions of the new 1.9-litre are capable of developing 210bhp and 215lb ft of torque. Relatively modest power outputs for Porsche, but weight should be kept low and don't forget Porsche's obsession with product distinction. While the mid-engined Audi is likely to sport around 340bhp, it doesn't have a Cayman/Boxster to protect.

If Porsche does decide to do a go-faster version (and since when did they not?), the new 550 will accept the larger flat fours being developed for future Caymen/Boxster models by 2014. Whereas today's models use six-pots, CAR has seen plans for a new 2.5-litre flat four turbo, codenamed B4 and listed at 360bhp and 350lb ft.