The last four-pot mid-engined Porsche was the 914, briefly replaced by the rear-engined 912E, an impact-bumper-clad 911 with Weissach’s 2.0-liter rework of Volkswagen’s humble Type 4 engine. We mention this because, according to Porsche chief Matthias Müller, Porsche’s new turbocharged four-cylinder boxer motorwill begin appearing in the Boxster and Cayman next year. And it could possibly replace the 3.4-liter flat-six used in the 911 Carrera at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Rumors have swirled about the new powerplant for years, as well as the models into which Zuffenhausen might slide it. The “Baby Boxster”, an entry-level model slotted below the increasingly luxurious Boxster/Cayman was bandied about, then quashed. Rumors that the engine could replace the 2.7- and 3.4-liter engines in the mid-engined cars seem to have the most merit, with only future Boxster Spyders and Cayman GT4s hanging onto the naturally aspirated 3.8. The 911 GT3 and its RS variant would then carry on with their specialized, high-winding 3.8- and 4.0-liter powerplants, while the rest of the previously naturally aspirated cars—namely the Carrera, Carrera S, and GTS models—would receive turbocharged flat-sixes in a less monstrous state of tune than those in the 911 Turbo and Turbo S.
Speaking to Automotive News, Müller suggested that the turbocharged boxer four wasn’t off the table for other models, saying, “We will see how it works and how successful it is and how the customers will react on that, and then we will take the next decisions.” Which could mean that the rumored 2.9-liter turbocharged flat-sixwon’t see duty in the base Carrera. With the four allegedly capable of 395 horsepower, it’d certainly have the power numbers to slot into the lower end of the 911 range. Or might we see a reborn 912 as an entry-level GT, with the Carrera moving into the performance range currently occupied by the S?
Whatever the powertrain fate of the base rear-engined car, expect the new motors to begin appearing in Porsche’s mid-engined models starting in the middle of 2016. If you’ve been jonesing for a nearly stripped Boxster with a 2.7 and sport suspension, we’d heartily suggest getting your order in now.
Car and Driver Blog