Porsche is branching out further and working on a new family of cars, which will include a new eight-cylinder supercar intended to compete with Ferrari’s successful 458 program, according to a report from Autocar. The new model is unnamed as of yet, but has been referred to as the ‘988’ during internal development.
The new mid-engined model will reportedly address a concern Porsche engineers have mulled over for quite some time. The belief is that the rear-engined, flat six-cylinder 911 can’t hold its own against eight-cylinder Ferraris of today or other upcoming competitors, such as the McLaren 650S. Additionally, the engine failures which resulted in the recall of every 991-generation 911 GT3 have sparked debate about whether or not the flat six engine can grow further in terms of cubic capacity.
Rather than borrowing the V8 from the 918 hybrid hypercar the new mid-engine ‘988’ will use a 4.0-liter flat eight-cylinder unit. Autocar says the engine is being tested with four turbos right now and will have more than 600 horsepower, which is more than the 562 horsepower output of the 458 Italia. The engine is part of a new family of boxer engines from Porsche, which will include six and four-cylinder variants and non-turbocharged units as well.
The ‘988’ will ride on an all-new architecture from Porsche, which is said to support both mechanical and combined hybrid/electric all-wheel drive. The underpinning will be mostly carbon fiber, but will be strengthened with aluminium and composite structural elements. It will also be part of a new modular platform from Porsche that will be shared with the next-generation Boxster, Cayman and 911 models, but will be heavily altered for use in the 988.
Porsche’s new supercar is expected to be released sometime in 2017, after which Porsche will roll out the revamped Boxster, Cayman and 911 models.