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!
Porsche is developing a new mid-engined supercar slap bang in Ferrari 458 Italia territory. Don't confuse this with the range-topping Porsche - the new Porsche 960 supercar will sit below the new 918 hybrid hypercar but above the maximum-attack 911s at launch in 2015.
Codenamed project 960, Porsche's new mid-engined supercar is now likely to be based on the VW Group's new Mimo platform which will eventually supersede the rear-engined 911 package.
Originally, Porsche had scoped out the existing 9X1/991/911 hardware for its new 458 fighter, but this plan has now been dropped. Only a bespoke, mid-engined architecture is deemed worthy of a car expected to top out at around £200,000.
Why not twin the Porsche 960 supercar with the 918?
If we read the smoke signals that rise from the Weissach think tank right, project 960 has nothing much to do with the high-tech 918 Spyder anymore. Instead, Porsche is moving heaven and earth to make 960 the lead car for the new Mimo platform, which still has not been signed off due to political issues and a lack of a firm commitment on part of the other brands involved (that's you, Audi).
Mimo is now known in-house as MSB-M, short for modular sports car matrix, mid-engined version. Earmarked to go into production in September 2015, the Porsche 960 would therefore be based on the same components set as the next 911 due in 2018.
How come? Because this new components set incorporates a second bloodline labelled MSB-H with the H standing for Heckmotor, German for rear-engined.
Mimo architecture: from VW Bluesport to supercars
At this point, little is known about how and to what extent the new architecture differs from the short-lived MSS modular sports car system reserved for the next Gallardo (2013) and the new R8 (2015). It certainly needs to be more flexible to make provision for two different engine installations, and it probably needs to encompass three different size and cost patterns to span the full line-up from the VW Bluesport over 991 and Gallardo to the Murcielago and the new Porsche 960.
To further complicate matters, MSB must be RWD and AWD compatible, comply with various bodystyles and materials, and be capable of accommodating inline engines, flat fours and sixes as well as the complete V6/V8/V10/V12 spectrum. The engineers will certainly be busy!
When it was still known as 961, the Ferrari fighter from Zuffenhausen was likely to be powered by a twin-turbo V8, and it did tap the 918 Spyder for inspiration in terms of design and carbonfibre structure.
But since the beancounters were not happy with this high-end pitch, we're now looking at a more mundane matrix equipped with a twin-turbo 3.8-litre boxer good for 600bhp and 550lb ft of torque.
A six-pot supercar: downsizing in action
Why go for a six when your target car is fitted with a bigger-displacement V8? Because the flat six is more compact, helps to lower the centre of gravity, is quantifiably more efficient as well as slightly cheaper to build, and offers that unique Porsche touch.
Priced on the creepy side of €200,000, the new 2015 Porsche 960 will likely be available in coupé and roadster guise.
>> Come back every day this week for more Porsche scoops