In an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller hinted at the idea of bringing a cheaper sports car to the market to slot below the Boxster. Sharing parts with an Audi counterpart, the mid-engine entry-level car’s styling may be inspired by the 550 Spyder (shown) made famous by James Dean.
“I can imagine that such a modern version of the famous ‘James Dean’ Porsche would be well-received by our customers,” Mueller said in the interview.
With the emphasis on light weight and agility over outright speed, the new sports car will probably have a four-cylinder engine. It will slot below the Boxster in Porsche’s lineup, possibly at a much lower price. According to the U.K.’s Autocar magazine, the next Boxster is expected to go up in price and complexity significantly when it hits the market in 2012, continuing a trend that has been going on since the two-seat sportscar’s introduction in 1997. While the Boxster initially started at around $40,000, a base model today starts at $49,050 including destination, and it doesn’t take many options to push it into the mid-$60,000 range. Going further upmarket allows plenty of space for the Zuffenhausen-based automaker to expand its lineup at the bottom.
Porsche representatives have publicly stated their plans to boost worldwide sales from the current 100,000 units to 200,000 by 2018. While the baby sports car looks like the most obvious vehicle in the pipeline after the Audi Q5-based Cajun SUV and 918 hybrid supercar, in an interview with Automotive News last April, Mueller did not dismiss the idea of a grand touring coupe based on the Porsche Panamera sedan’s architecture.