Porsche has spent a few years sorting out its strategy away from the 911 and its crossovers, among the moving targets being the now-moribund Ferrari-fighting 960, the still-very-much-alive variant(s) coming with the next-generation Panamera, and what appears to be a puissant Cayman that could be called the GT4. Earlier this year there were rumors that a flat-four engine would join the Stuttgart maker's lineup, and that it could go into a roadster called the 718 that would undercut the current $51,400 price of the Boxster, and the Boxster would go upscale, leapfrogging the $52,600 price of the Cayman.
Then Porsche turned out the lights on the 718 project, its R&D head telling Autocar, "We have a very good entry point to the range with the Boxster, and we see no reason to go below that." But Automobile reports that while the 718 roadster is dead, the 718 name will live: a la the 911, a new 718 range will encompass coupes and convertibles spanning a wide performance envelope. The suggestion is that the Boxster and Cayman names will be retired.
According to Automobile, this will give Porsche a place to put its flat-four engine, into entry level models that – countering Porsche's earlier statement – "come in at a significantly lower price than" the present Boxster. Two displacements are expected, in three outputs: a 2.0-liter with 285 horsepower, a 2.5-liter with 360 hp and a turbocharged version with 400 hp. It's also been speculated that the engine could power an entry-level Macan.
It's been reported before that Porsche wants to make use of the 718 name to promote its motorsport heritage, that model having carried Stirling Moss to victory among its many racing triumphs. If it happens, even though Automobile calls it part of "a slight perspective shift," we think it'll be a big shift for the two popular models, but it's not like we haven't had time to get ready. We're told the new moniker will be introduced in 2016 as a 2017 model.