Flat-six return for Porsche 718 twins

Last hurrah for Porsche’smid-engine pairing


File this firmly under rumour for now. But momentum is building around the idea that Porsche is preparing to fit flat six engines to the 718 Boxster and Cayman. For the record, this mooted move is separate to the upcoming 718 Cayman GT4 and 718 Boxster Spyder which are also expected to adopt flat-six motors in place of the mainstream 718’s turbocharged flat four. The GT4 and Spyder are the work of Porsche’s extreme GT division, while the additional new flat-six models are rumoured to be known as the 718 6 and slot in below those motorsport derived cars but above existing four-cylinder 718s.

Last hurrah for Porsche’smid-engine pairing

Last hurrah for Porsche’smid-engine pairing

This particular story began when what was initially thought to be a wingless 718 GT4 mule was spotted testing accompanied by a distinct flat-six soundtrack. At first, the assumption was that Porsche was preparing a so-called 718 GT4 Touring model along the lines of the recent 911 GT3 model with the same suffix.

However, closer inspection revealed the car not only lacked the GT4’s more aggressive bodywork, including bumpers and side intake scoops, but also the GT4’s bigger brakes and wheels. Then a 718 Boxster was spotted sporting standard bodywork and a flat-six engine note and it was clear that the GT4 Touring idea was off target.

As for specifics, it’s all speculation. But the weight of opinion indicates an atmospheric 3.8 to 4.0-litre motor with around 380hp. Enough to put space between this ‘718 6’ and the 365hp 718 GTS, in other words, but squeeze in below the 718 GT4, which is expected to offer around 420hp. There’s also the minor matter of not outgunning the new Type-992 base 911, which is likely to deliver around 400hp from its turbocharged 3.0-litre flat six. Speaking of the 911 Carrera’s turbocharged flat six, if the 718 6 rumour does turn out to be accurate, the implications for Porsche’s overall sports car portfolio will be intriguing to say the least. Currently, the only way to get a naturally aspirated flat six in a 911 is to go for one of Porsche’s extreme motorsport models, including the GT3, GT3 RS and the upcoming Speedster. But if the Porsche 718/6 goes ahead, you’ll be able to buy a relatively mainstream 718 with an atmospheric flat six. But not a 911.

Exactly what message a return to flat sixes for non-GT 718 models will say about the existing flat-four motor is a tricky question. The market in which the 718 operates – that of the mid-priced two seat sports car – isn’t exactly booming worldwide. Meanwhile, Porsche has seemingly opted not to replace the 718 with a new car based on the 992, something which would normally be happening this year if Porsche followed its usual launch schedule.

Instead, Porsche is thought to be considering an all-new pure electric model to replace the 718 around the 2023 timeframe. If that’s accurate, then a six-cylinder 718 designed to maintain interest in the model as it ages might make sense. After all, if the 718 is dropping combustion engines altogether, it hardly matters if reintroducing the flat six for a year or two makes the flat four models look like an accident.

A return of the normally aspirated falt-six for the 718? Well, it could be the case. You read it here first

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