In the world of Porsche, a four-cylinder engine is nothing new. In fact, their heritage building four-bangers dates back to 1938 and the Porsche 64. This was followed by the 1.6-liter flat four used in the 356 and 912, the 1.5-liter used in the 550, and all the variants of four cylinder engine used in the 914. Then came water-cooled four cylinders, starting with the 2.5 liter inline-four used in the 924 and 944, and ending with the 3.0-liter used in the Porsche 944 and 968. While Zuffenhausen has plenty of experience with four-cylinder engines, they haven’t put one in a production car since the 968 went out of production in 1995.
That’s about to change, since Porsche is well under way developing two four-cylinder boxer engines for their upcoming entry-level roadster. The car will feature a mid-engine, rear drive layout, and will likely be built on a platform shared by Porsche Audi and VW. Building a new engine just for one model doesn’t make financial sense, so Porsche will likely broaden the engine’s scope to encompass the Boxster and Cayman models as well.
Before Porschephiles cry “foul,” rumor has it that the larger of the two engines, a 2.5-liter, will make up to 380 horsepower in it’s most-entertaining variant. That’s 70 more than the flat-six in the Boxster S currently puts out, from a smaller and lighter package. The new engines will also be essential to improving Porsche’s CAFE numbers, critical to ensuring the automaker’s future in the U.S. market.