Porsche Developing a Flat-Eight Supercar to Rival the 458
Is the Porsche 918 too far out of your price range? The Porsche 911 just too plebian? Well, you’re in luck. According to recent reports, Porsche is hard at work building a supercar to battle the Ferrari 458 and it boasts – gasp – a flat-eight engine. The report comes from the UK’s Autocar, and hints at Porsche’s latest project, dubbed internally as the ‘988’, which ditches the company’s calling-card flat-six engines in favor of what is expected to be a mid-mounted 4.0-liter eight-cylinder.
According to previous conversations between Autocar and leading Porsche engineers, the company cannot compete in the supercar segment against V8 Ferraris with traditional Porsche flat-sixes eked to the technical limits, a point some would say was proven after a number of 3.8-liter 911 GT3 engines failed earlier this year.
The more astute among you will note that four liters of displacement still falls short of the 458 Italia’s 4.5-liter V8, tuned to 562-horsepower. But that’s no worry, because according to the report, Porsche’s prototype engine has been testing with four turbochargers to produce a staggering 600-horsepower.
RELATED: See more photos of the 2014 Porsche 918 hypercar
So far, nothing is known regarding the actual shape of the 988, although it will undoubtedly feature design cues from its older brother, the 918 hypercar (pictured in concept form above), along with a layout similar to the mid-engine Porsche Cayman and Boxster. Expect there to be some extra junk in the trunk, considering the 988 will pack two more cylinders than the Boxster.
Porsche’s 458-rivaling supercar is expected to go on sale in 2017, and will usher in a wave of new models, such as a turbocharged four-cylinder Boxster and Cayman, as well as a new architecture pegged to underpin all mid- and rear-engine models.
RELATED: Check out photos of the 2014 Porsche 911 GT3