Porsche fan have been waiting for an updated version of the 550 since the original 550 first won Le Mans…way back in 1955. Porsche hinted of such plans at least twice in 2011 but announced it was delaying the project in fear it could affect the carmaker’s “exclusive luxury sports image.”
Automobile Magazine recently obtained details on the future of the 550′s revival, now dubbed the Porsche 551. According to our counterparts, three factors contributed to the 551 being pushed back until model year 2017. Porsche partner/owner Volkswagen apparently did not approve the BlueSport concept which the 551 would be based on. VW’s luxury brand Audi thought the Porsche car infringed its territory with its proposed R5 small sportscar. Finally, Porsche already had its hands full launching the all-new 911, building the compact Macan crossover, and revamping the next iteration of the Panamera sedan. States one Porsche strategist, “We need to concentrate on our cash-cows before entering a new segment where profit margins are notoriously critical.”
Porsche is still planning to go ahead with the 551. The future compact will launch most likely in 2016 as either a late 2016 or 2017 model. Going on sale first as a roadster (i.e., convertible), a coupe version will launch in 2018. All 551s will be based off Volkswagen’s flexible “modular sports car matrix”, or MSB. Other vehicles to be built off the new architecture include the 2013 Audi A3 and VW Golf; 2014 Passat, and the 2015 Tiguan.
Few details of the Porsche 551 have been released. Powertrains will most likely be based off a turbocharged flat-four cylinder engine mated to either a manual transmission or Porsche famed PDK automatic. The Porsche 551 will mostly be priced between $45,000 to $60,000.
Source: Automobile Magazine