dial 914 for fun

A ‘Cheaper, Entry-Level’ Porsche May Be in the Works


March 16, 2020 Cars By
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Porsche’s lineup of sports cars, arguably, is currently as good as it’s ever been. It stretches from the wide range of mid-engined 718 models to the length and breadth of the 911 line, and even all the way into electric cars in the form of the Taycan.

But if there’s one big complaint to level at the brand, it’s how expensive the cars have become. The least expensive sports car in Porsche’s lineup, the 718 Cayman, starts at $58,850 with destination charge — which puts the cheapest two-door Porker well outside the reach of the average enthusiast.

That may be about to change.

In an interview originally published in Porsche Klassik magazine about the 914 of 1969–1976 and the manner in which it was inspired by the 550 (pictured above) that was posted on Porsche’s official Newsroom website in late January, Porsche design boss Michael Mauer let slip some details about a successor to the 914.

“We have this discussion [about an entry-level Porsche] all the time,” Mauer said.

The head of design suggested intra-company debate revolved around two ideas for such an entry-level car. The one he favors, he said would be “an entry-level Porsche not in terms of the price, but the sense of reduction. A car with almost no electrics, everything mechanical, puristic.”

Then there’s the alternative view, which he suggests the beancounters might prefer. “The other one is a car for a target group of people who drive Audi TT RSs or Golf R32s,” he said. “A very simple, unpretentious car. A modern 550 in the broadest sense.”

“From [a sales] standpoint, a much cheaper entry-level Porsche would be the right thing to do,” he added.

Now, normally, a random Porsche employee — even the head of design — airing his or her thoughts wouldn’t be enough to prompt this sort of speculation. But the fact that Porsche would choose to publish the interview on its own news portal suggests the carmaker may be testing the waters to see how people react to this news. As Porsche’s own Super Bowl ad demonstrated, the company reveals the things it does for very specific reasons.

Much as we see Mauer’s point about the delights of a new sports car that forgoes almost all electronics in the name of purity, it’s hard not to be more excited about the beancounter vision. Based on his description, any such Mauer-mobile would likely be a) expensive and b) not street-legal, suggesting it would wind up being just another track-day special for the rich. A true successor to the 914, on the other hand, could open up the marquee to a whole new group of younger enthusiasts — who might well stick with it for years to come.

Granted, adding a new gas-powered car to the range might be a long shot these days., considering the VW Group’s broader push into electrification. But if the carmaker were to choose any sort of internal-combustion model to its lineup, a lightweight four-cylinder sports car would be exactly the sort of vehicle that would have minimum impact on Porsche’s broader emissions output.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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