In a world of increasingly strict fuel economy and emissions regulations, what the future holds for Porsche under new ownership by Volkswagen is not yet clear, but the German sports car maker isn’t taking any chances and is already looking ahead to smaller engines. In an interview with the U.K.’s AutoCar, Boxster model line director Hans-Jurgen Wohler said that a four-cylinder engine or even a three-cylinder turbocharged engine might be both necessary and acceptable.
“A Boxster with a four-cylinder engine, or maybe even a three-cylinder turbo, could produce between 180bhp and 200bhp,” said Wohler, commenting that as the original Boxster made 200-hp from a 2.5-liter engine, it might be something that Porsche customers would be interested in and which wouldn’t devalue the brand.
Strict new emissions laws in Europe don’t target automakers that sell fewer than 300,000 units annually, but those niche-market manufacturers still have to show a reduction in emissions of 25 percent in 2012, compared to 2006. New ownership by Volkswagen may mean that Porsche has to comply to the rules of the larger automaker.
But changes to the Bosxter aren’t going to save Porsche from government taxation due to missed emissions targets, argues Wholer.“The Boxster isn’t the volume seller for us that everyone thinks,” he said. “On current performance, it’s worth 15,000 units per year maximum.”
That being said, if Porsche is required to make drastic emissions reductions then it will have to do so in other high-volume models. Alternatively, a new entry-level model, using either the 4-cylinder or turbocharged 3-cylinder engine Wohler mentioned, would help significantly.