+1 Is a Porsche 550 Roadster in the Works?

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+1 Is a Porsche 550 Roadster in the Works?

Neural Blog November 2011

Porsche 550 Roadster

Porsche 550 Roadster

Porsche 550 Spyder

Roadster

Click images to enlarge.

The spiritual successor of the Porsche 550 Spyder would be powered by a four-cylinder boxer 2.5 liter engine producing around 360bhp in turbocharged form.

The "550" name was first used in 1953 when Porsche unveiled a sports car inspired by the legendary 356. At that time, the 550 was not considered a successor for the 356, but Porsche's future 550 will more than likely carry that title. The new 550 will be the first model to be built on Porsche's new sports car architecture and will be offered with a mid- mounted, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine that will deliver around 200 HP. This engine will be mated to a dual-clutch seven speed transmission.

The past few months featured news that Porsche was working on a new entry-level model. But the development of the spiritual successor of the Porsche 550 may be put on hold due to economic uncertainties.

Back in July Porsche executive Matthias Mueller confirmed that the company from Stuttgart would build a ‘modern-day' version of the classic Porsche 550 Spyder. But the current economic situation may put the development of the entry-level roadster below the Boxster on hold as the company reconsiders its plans.

The decision on whether to build an entry-level Porsche 550 Roadster will depend on the global economy, Mueller said. He told the Financial Times Deutschland: The financial crisis is real and we need to see how far it develops into an economic crisis develops. If this happens and it leads to a cooling of the auto industry, then this would certainly impact our strategy.

Mueller told that the company may reach a decision on the car soon but may also delay deciding until next year. If the Porsche 550 roadster gets the go-ahead the first deliveries could start in the third quarter of 2014.

The spiritual successor of the Porsche 550 Spyder would be powered by a four-cylinder boxer 2.5 liter engine producing around 360bhp in turbocharged form. The rumoured price tag would be around $ 55,000 or € 40,000, making it the least expensive Porsche on sale.

The future 550 will be launched in 2014 and, on the European market, will be priced about €8,000 ($11,500 at the current exchange rates) less than the current Boxster. That difference accounts for about 20% of the current Boxster's price tag, which means our fellow Americans will have to pay about $38,000 to purchase it.

British magazine CAR reports that the upcoming Porsche 550 will feature a new trademark horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine developing a total of 210 HP and 215 lb-ft of torque. If Porsche decides to create a more powerful version for the 550, that would mean it will use a 2.5 liter flat four turbo engine that delivers a total of 360 HP and 350 lb-ft.

We've been hearing all kinds of things about the next-gen Audi R8. Specifically, we've heard that it will ride on an all-new, lightweight carbon-aluminum platform.

Despite having a pretty extensive carbon fiber lab to draw experience from over at sister company Lamborghini, Audi feels that the aluminum- carbon fiber blend will provide a less expensive and simpler alternative to a full carbon monocoque.

Porsche may also be convinced of Audi's R8 design, though it's going to take some effort to persuade the higher-ups at Volkswagen if it's to stick with its own design.

Autocar reports that Volkswagen execs wants Porsche to use the new R8 platform for its mid-level sports car, which will occupy the space between the 911 and the 918 Spyder supercar. Volkswagen feels that the Audi underpinnings will work suitably for Porsche, and of course, it's always a bonus to kill two birds with one R&D stone.

The news doesn't sound to be sitting all too well with Stuttgart, however. Porsche beat Audi out for the job of sports car development within the Volkswagen Group years ago, and it most certainly doesn't want to cede development control to Audi on one of its top models.

If indeed Porsche wants the car to be a spiritual successor to the great 959--one of the true technological highlights of Porsche's history--we'd imagine Porsche would want full engineering control over the model.

Porsche may put its foot down and delay the development of its 458/MP4-12C fighter until the R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo are up for their next redesign. It could then build a platform to be used in all three cars.

Pictured above is the Porsche 918 RSR concept car unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. It shows what an eventual racing version of the upcoming 918 Spyder may look like.



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