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Porsche's secret new baby Boxster (2008)

By Georg Kacher (artist's impression Motor Forecast)

Spy shots

26 September 2008 09:00

Porsche is preparing to piggyback VW and Audi’s roadster project and build a baby Boxster, a car that could be a true successor to the 356. But this new model won’t tread on the toes of any existing Porsches and production numbers will be capped to make this a highly desirable car. Our artist's impression reveals how the new Porsche could look.

The first time we’ll see anything official from this project will be at November’s LA Auto Show, where VW will unveil its third design study of an affordable roadster, following on from the 2004 Concept R and the 2005 Eco-Racer.

Just how is the project to build a baby Porsche going to work out?

Between 1969 and 1976 VW and Porsche built and marketed just under 120,000 mid-engined 914 two-seaters. And in recent years various VW bosses have wanted to create a contemporary and affordable mid-engined sports car. First there was Bernd Pischetsrieder, the former BMW chairman who wanted a budget roadster along the lines of the Mk1 Lotus Elise. There was even talk of Lotus building the car for VW, but in the end no decision was made.

Brand chief Wolfgang Bernhard picked up the idea and gave a green light to the quirky looking Eco-Racer, which was duly shot down by the bean counters who could not see a market for the high-tech, high-price halo version nor for the low-cost, big-volume all-steel alternative. Now VW boss Martin Winterkorn is on the case, and one can safely assume that he enjoys the support of Ferdinand Piech, the powerful chairman of the supervisory board.

What’s this design study we’re going to see in LA?

It’s VW’s final test of the waters before it fully commits to the new sports car project. The company needs to make sure it can produce a car that is an attractive alternative to the segment-dominating MX-5. But as well as VW's worries, Audi is also currently considering the replacement for the TT and carrying out initial engineering work. With a replacement due in 2013, production engineering work must begin in 2009, and while the VW and Audi projects are currently separate, it is expected that both companies will join forces to create this new roadster.

Why is Audi switching away from front- and all-wheel drive? Because Ingolstadt wants to answer back to critics and make the TT a dynamic success. It will also give Audi a relevant baby brother to the R8. Click here for our full story on the proposed Audi R3.

Porsche, which has just become the major stakeholder in VW, could then join the fray and conceive a modern lightweight successor to the legendary 356.

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