• Jan 4, 2010
2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder - Click above for high-res image gallery

Like every other automaker looking to sell cars and trucks across the pond, Porsche has little choice but to comply with Europe's strict 2012 CO2 laws. Autocar is reporting that one way Porsche could reduce its fleet-wide CO2 numbers is with smaller displacement powertrains, and the light weight and entry-level model status of the Boxster makes the roadster a prime candidate for downsizing.

Boxster director Hans-Jürgen Wöhler reportedly told Autocar that he sees a four-cylinder engine and perhaps even a turbocharged three-cylinder engine in the ragtop's future, adding that the small displacement engines "could produce between 180 and 200 horsepower and emit just 180g/km of CO2." Since Porsche sells fewer than 300,000 vehicles per year, the German sportscar maker reportedly won't have to hit the EU's ambitious 120 g/km 2012 regulations but it will have to reduce its emissions by 25 percent compared to its 2006 fleet average.

Problem is, Porsche reportedly hasn't been told exactly which CO2 number it needs to shoot for. Also unknown is whether Volkswagen's majority ownership could affect Porsche's status as an automaker with fewer than 300,000 vehicles made per year. If Porsche isn't given low volume status or if the Boxster's volume doesn't cut CO2 emissions enough, the German automaker may need to downsize the powerplants of even more vehicles to get itself under the company's still unknown CO2 cap.

Will we be seeing three-cylinder Boxsters here in the States? Strict new fuel economy numbers in the U.S. likely won't be as tough to beat as Europe's 2012 CO2 figures and fuel remains significantly less expensive, so we're guessing that we'll continue to see boxer sixes in the trunk of our Boxsters for years to come.



[Source: Autocar]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Porsche planning two new engines for Boxster?... could produce between 180 and 200 horsepower and emit just 180g/km of CO2"

      Let me translate. "VW planning to rebadge one of the R4/BluSport variants as a porsche and give it one of their engines, the 914 is back"
      • 5 Years Ago
      4 cylinder, 3 cylinder Porsches.

      I feel sick.

      I want to throw up...
      • 5 Years Ago
      "boxer sixes in the trunk of our Boxsters for years to come."

      The Boxster is mid-engined.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm confused, someone please elaborate.

      If Porsche doesn't meet the EU requirements are they going to be banned from selling cars?

      Or are they going to be fined, which they will just pass along to the customer?
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's time they revived the 912!
      • 5 Years Ago
      A three cylinder turbo? I guess it's the performance version of the Geo Metro that never saw the light of day.

      Joking aside, if they could squeeze about 200 hp from the motor and reduce carbon emissions and boost fuel economy, more power to them.

      As pitiful as it may sound.
        • 5 Years Ago
        i don't care if they make a 3 cylinder , 2 cylinder or 0.5 cylinder car as long as they still make cars like the Boxster/Cayman S and the 911 GT3.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cool, while they're at it, they can take the ice cream out of my Klondike bar.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So sad. I wonder what will happen to the horsepower wars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Porsche is considered part of Volkswagen, then they'd have to contribute to the Group's meeting the 2012 fleet average... but Porsche cars themselves wouldn't have to meet it -- they could all be over the average, as long as other (higher-volume) Volkswagens were under it. Long-term, isn't this the only way sport/luxury brands will survive, as children benefitting from a miserly parent?
      • 5 Years Ago
      So while its performance will be in the neighborhood of the Miata and Toyobaru (if not worse), the badge will still probably cost you $20K.
        • 5 Years Ago
        most people (women) who buy the Boxster don't care about the performance, only the badge. now they can get better fuel economy , that means they can buy more shoes. it's a win-win for all female Boxster buyers. the male Boxster buyers will still have the Boxster Spyder.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hybrid crap isn't downsizing. Adding hundreds of pounds of batteries is antithesis of light weight performance. Adding complexity does not achieve simplicity or focus of purpose. A Sports Car is focus of purpose, to handle and perform well.

      A flat 4... I could understand. An abundance of power is not necessary for good handling. Miata is a prime example, as were some Lotuses.

      But bulk and weight destroy dynamic response. Batteries, and redundant electric drive components are bulky.

      Also...
      HOW THE HELL DO YOU BALANCE A FLAT 3????
      This is not an inline engine, guys. It needs to be somewhat symmetrical.

      Assuming that even mentioning a 3-cylinder engine is a change to an inline 3 engine...
      I am not convinced that the 987 chassis can be fitted with an inline engine, even transversely, which would be a MAJOR drawback from the superior drivetrains they already use.

      If VW wants to field a transverse inline mid-engined car, fine. Make it a VW, like the 914 should have been, also. Make an Audi variant, if you want.

      PORSCHE IS NOT TRANSVERSE-INLINE. Not even the 924 or 944 were transverse engined. 924 and 914 were supposed to be Audis or VWs, respectively, with Porsche design help, until Porsche got left holding the bag, trying to sell the cars under the Porsche crest, and recoup the R&D money when Audi/VW backed out.

      I like the 914, under the skin. I have even considered how I would go about modifying one... But in stock form, it is not an attractive car, aesthetically. Aside from being the basis of the Porsche Tapiro concept from ItalDesign, or the Hispano-Aleman, also a 914-based one-off.

      This has been tried before. It didn't fail, but it wasn't utterly fantastic for Porsche. 944 was the effect of Porsche making nice, tasty lemonade out of the lemons that Audi left Porsche holding with the 924. It was a decent car, but it was supposed to be an Audi. 914 was designed to be a VW sports car, not a successor to the 550/718/904 Porsche mid-engined road car.

      986 *BOXSTER* was a proper Porsche-designed car, intended to be built to Porsche's specifications, not a Porsche-assisted VW. I hope they don't dare turn it into a Porsche-designed VW.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You guys aren't getting it.

        The geometry doesn't work, and the layout would suffer.

        A boxer engine is simpler, and inherently more balanced than trying to play tricks with oval pistons, dummy pistons, counterweights that produce no power, but rather SAP kinetic energy.

        A 3 cylinder engine is probably just the ignorant comment of someone who doesn't understand how the Boxster is laid out.

        A horizontal inline engine provides one of two problems.
        1: if longitudinal, the crankshaft is not on the centerline of the car, and the gearbox would have to be offset. On a motorcycle, the driveline IS offset to the side of the rear tire. In a car, that is less desireable, where both rear half shafts should be as long as possible, and equal length.

        2: if transverse, the whole driveline has to be re-engineered, and with a transverse offset gearbox, like FWD cars use, and AGAIN, less than ideal for driveline symmetry, and centered weight balance.

        Also, if transverse, it might as well be vertical. A horizontal inline facing forward would almost be longer, from the diameter of the crankshaft, AGAIN with counterweights due to inherent imbalance, to the "top" of the head would be as long or longer than a boxer 4, from flywheel to the front of the crank pulley.

        The boxer would have better balance characteristics, AND would continue to use an uncompromised, longitudinal transaxle that doesn't have to be compact enough to fit transversely in the car.

        But Boxster isn't designed for a transverse inline engine, especially not vertical, under the deck for the convertible top, or the parcel shelf in the cayman.

        If VW wants to build the rumored bluesport or the Audi R4 with a transverse drivetrain, like the Lotuses, including Evora, that is fine. Go to it.

        Porsche designed the car with a boxer engine for a reason. Longitudinal driveline in the center of the chassis, and suspension compatibility is superior for behavior and geometry.

        The boxer engine has a short, light-weight crankshaft down the centerline of the engine and the car. The piston action cancels itself out for inherent balance.

        The engine is low for better CG, it is wide, which can relatively easily be accomodated in a car that has two side by side seats, especially amidships, with less complexity between non-steering wheels, and not adding to front or rear overhang.

        Also, for amidships, the engine is shorter in length than an inline 4 or V8 longitudinally mounted.

        Porsche didn't use a boxer because it was fashionable. They used it because it is an inherently sound engineering solution.

        Screwing around with false pistons, oval pistons that Honda could barely make work, and no longer use, and power and rev-robbing, and still compromised counterweights or balance shafts is just trying to overcome inherent drawbacks that the boxer design doesn't have, if the platform is designed to integrate it properly, which Dr. Porsche did from the very beginning. There is real genius behind that sort of systematic thinking.

        That is why I don't think it should be diluted by introducing inherently compromised elements now.

        Who in their right mind takes something that works well, and screws it up trying to introduce elements that aren't as inherently balanced and symmetrical, and certainly not engineered to perform nor fit as well as the hardware that is already there.

        That is called ruining a good thing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ask Honda. They have had a Moto GP V5 that was balanced. I believe the 3 cylinders were balanced against two larger ones. There is no rule that all cylinders in an engine have to be the same size. I recall Ducati fitting a counterweight that acted like a second cylinder for their "SuperMono" race bike which was a single, but the engine internals were set up like a V-Twin with a weight acting as the second piston although not actual cylinder was present. There are interesting engineering problems that this presents. Remember that Porsche was an engineering company that happened to get into making sports cars in the first place.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "HOW THE HELL DO YOU BALANCE A FLAT 3????"

        Quite easily with a single balance shaft. Witness the BMW K-series motorcycle engine 1987-95 and the current Triumph 3 cyl. Vibrations are much easier to control in an inline 3 than a 4, as an inline four suffers from both primary and secondary vibrations.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Jim...

        The BMW K-bike brick engines, i.e. the K75, are techically a horizontal INLINE, which isn't the same thing as a flat engine... Both just happen to be horizontally oriented piston engines. That is where the layout similarities end.

        Again, I assert... a 3 cylinder assumes a change to an inline engine layout. A layout that Porsche doesn't use, and only has ever used in one model family, which was initially intended, to be an audi. The 924 even used an Audi sourced engine, before 944/968 brought in a Porsche inline 4 designed from componentry for 928's V8.

        Triumphs are traditionally vertical/canted/transverse. Neither the BMW K75 series, nor the triumphs are a flat boxer. The current Porsche sports cars use boxers, as do the BMW R-bikes. If I had my way, I would have an all-boxer garage, of Porsches, Subarus, and BMW R-bikes.

        Even if Porsche large cars use V8s or a VW-sourced V6... the sporting car lines, 997 and 987, like the 996 and 986 before them, use boxer engines exclusively, and set properly longitudinally. The way a drivetrain is most effective and compatible with suspension action.

        The point of using a boxer engine is inherent cancellation and mitigation of vibrations, without compromises like heavy counterweights, or counter-rotational balance shafts. An odd cylinder count, or a balance shaft would DEFEAT THE PURPOSE of a boxer engine.

        And a car doesn't have the packaging problems of a motorcycle, and a horizontal inline doesn't make much sense in a car, where inline engines fit under the bodywork in a vertical arrangement, or just canted at an angle. A flat car engine might as well be a boxer design, or otherwise be a more common vertical inline or V.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seems like the answer would be a hybrid drive train and turbo. You could get 300 hp out of a 3 cylinder easily.
    • Load More Comments