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Porsche Boxster coupe takes shape

Coupe captured: GoAuto graphic designer Chris Harris’ idea of what Porsche’s forthcoming Boxster coupe will look like.

Coupe will slot in between base Boxster and 911 when it appears at Frankfurt

3 Nov 2004

TWELVE months after delivering redesigned versions of both its 911 coupe and Boxster roadster, Porsche will present a ground-breaking new Boxster coupe at the 2005 Frankfurt motor show.

The fixed-roof Boxster will herald revolutionary new engine technology, according to senior Porsche executives at the 987 Boxster launch in Austria, where it was also made clear the new Boxster derivative will not become a cut-price entry level Boxster variant, as has been widely speculated.

Instead, GoAuto understands Boxster coupe will be positioned between Boxster/Boxster S and the 911 at a price of around $150,000.

A stripped-out GT3-style version is possible, as are features like a bigger boot behind a large rear glass screen to display the mid-mounted engine.

Project manager for the 987 Boxster, Helmut Widmair, whose team conducted hot-weather testing in the Northern Territory at the start of the car’s development cycle four years ago, confirmed Boxster would remain Porsche’s entry level sports car.

"There won’t be a cheaper Porsche than Boxster," he said in Austria. "What you see here will be the least expensive Porsche. The very simple answer is that anything below the Boxster means high (sales) volume and Porsche is not a high volume car-maker.

"There is room in the market for a model between Boxster and 911 and we will fill it – we will have further variants and trumpcards to come, but none cheaper than Boxster." Another high-placed Porsche source said that if Boxster coupe were positioned below the soft-top Boxster, sales of the 911 flagship would be jeopardised – and that Boxster coupe would need to be unique enough not to do that.

"We would also have to give it more power to be able to charge a premium," he said.

"We would have to launch the car with technology that increases power while meeting future emissions regulations." GoAuto has learned that, in the absence of enough room in Boxster for V6, V8 or turbocharged boxer power, Porsche will debut direct petrol injection technology in Boxster coupe, which is likely to go on sale here in March 2006.

It is believed "a unique Porsche solution" will be found to counter the noise, vibration and harshness issues Porsche says afflicts many of the direct-injection models offered by rivals such as BMW and Audi.

Direct-injection would filter down to other Porsche models and reduce fuel consumption by around five per cent

"The biggest challenge is to make it smooth enough to suit an application in an expensive car," said a source.

Boxster engine project manager Dr Martin Constien confirmed direct-injection had a future at Porsche.

"We don’t want direct-injection just for the sake of having it like others, but for the benefits it brings in terms of fuel economy and, to a lesser extent, emissions," he said.

"Reduced fuel consumption allows wilder cam profiling – and therefore more performance – with a similar level of fuel consumption." Mr Constien said direct-injection would filter down to other Porsche models and reduce fuel consumption by around five per cent and power by about three per cent.

Porsche executives are quick to point out the mid-sized, mid-engined coupe will represent a Boxster derivative rather than a fourth model line for Porsche, which will decide next year whether the highly anticipated, E2-codenamed, V8-powered four-door sports car based on the Cayenne will enter production.

It is believed that, if green-lighted, the new Porsche flagship, which will rival E55, M5 and Quattroporte, won’t appear until 2008.

"Our thought pattern is to update Cayenne and consolidate without burdening our small family business with too many models at the moment," said a source.

In the meantime, Porsche will release a new 911 variant every six months for the next couple of years, with next year’s Cabriolet to be followed by GT3, Targa, Coupe 4 and Turbo versions of the 997 series.

Mr Windmair also confirmed Porsche was all but ready to offer a version of the PDK double-clutch transmission it produced about 20 years ago – a version of which has since been made available by Audi, dubbed DSG – which will replace Porsche’s Tiptronic S semi-automatic in its next generation of sports cars.

"We think DSG has the biggest potential for Porsche," he said. "We have done comparison benchmark testing with everything – including SMG and CVT – and believe DSG is the most dynamic and best suited transmission for Porsche."

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