Design chief ponders puristic entry-level Porsche
“I think the time has come.” So says none other than Michael Mauer, Porsche’s design boss, of the prospect of a new entry-level Porsche sports car and a spiritual successor to the 914.
“An entry-level Porsche not in terms of the price, but the sense of reduction. A car with almost no electrics, everything mechanical, puristic. I find the idea exciting,” Mauer recently explained in an official Porsche interview.
He says Porsche regularly discusses the prospect of an entry-level car internally, but opinions differ over the character of such a car. He recognises his ‘purisitic’ vision of a modern 550, a very simple and unpretentious car, might not be shared by Porsche’s sales team. He also concedes there are practical limitations in terms of how small and simple such a car could really be. “Limits in terms of dimensions are reached quickly, simply because of driving safety. This automatically requires cars to be a certain size,” Mauer says. But he’s nevertheless not only fascinated by the general notion but also the example set by the 914.
“I find it fascinating how Ferdinand Porsche and his team managed to bring in this modern, reduced style,” Mauer explains. “The more I work with the 914 – that’s exactly what I’m fighting for now, this reduced, puristic approach. Integrating things, not one line too many,” says the man who has been head of Porsche design since 2004 and is just the third person to hold that position.
It’s not clear whether Mauer is giving an early insight into a model in development or just thinking aloud about future possibilities. If the latter, the car would likely be so far out that combustion power would be unlikely. On the other hand, if Porsche has pressed the go button on a new entry-level sports car, then there’s a ready-made tool kit available in the form of the 718.
That model’s flat-four motor and midengine platform could form the basis of a new entry-level Porsche just as the 718 itself goes electric. Yes, the Type-982 platform on which the 718 is based would be very old by then. But that’s arguably less of an impediment when the remit is a simple car with minimal electronics. Such a car would be, “puristic, reduced, back to our roots,” Mauer says, it would be “typically Porsche again.” And who are we to disagree?
An entry level Porsche aimed at the purist and following a similar ethos to the 914. Where do we sign up?