When Porsche released the first Boxster in 1996 and the first Cayman in 2005, the idea was to create an entry-level model for the German automaker's sports car range. The latest iterations of both closely related models, however, have begun to encroach dangerously on the 911's territory, particularly in their newest GTS specifications. That could be about to change, however, with the introduction of a four-cylinder engine for the compact mid-engined coupe and roadster.

According to Automotive News, Porsche is finally preparing to launch a new boxer four engine in the Boxster and Cayman, following years of speculation. The engine would be based on the same architecture as the company's famous flat six, but with two fewer cylinders to cut weight. Don't expect it to cut much in the way of performance, however: Porsche chief Matthias Muller indicates that the new engine could produce as much as 395 horsepower – significantly more than even the 340-hp flat six in the Cayman GTS, suggesting that the engine could even find its way into the 911 as well.

It's no more clear which markets would get the four-cylinder engine, either. But wherever it is offered and in whichever form, it wouldn't be the first time we'd see a Porsche with a four-pot engine. Not by a long shot. Both the classic 912 and 356 were powered by boxer fours, as was the 914 - not to mention the 718 pictured above and the iconic 550 Spyder. The front-engined 924, 944 and 968 packed inline-four engines, but the last of those were discontinued in the 1990s. The prospect of a four-cylinder Boxster/Cayman has been rumored for many years now, most recently joined by the possibility of a four-pot Macan as well.


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  • 29 Comments
      larshafner
      • 9 Months Ago
      i have never been aware of how silimar these 2 above look next to each other.
        RetrogradE
        • 9 Months Ago
        @larshafner
        For real. Both silver. Both convertible. Both have 4 wheels and seats.
      Bernie Kressner
      • 9 Months Ago
      ..as long as it doesn't have weird torque curve.... ------------------
      William Weisberg
      • 9 Months Ago
      What happended to the "real" Porsche entry level vehicle? And I don't mean either the Boxter or Cayman. I'm talking about a sub $50K convertible that is more accessible to the masses than the two aforementioned brethren.
      sloturbo
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think Porsche is going to pull in the tech from the 918 into the 911 in the coming years. I suspect a turbo 4 and adding in some electric motors with re-gen. And that would leave Cayman/Boxster with the turbo 4. Not a bad thing, but different.
      James
      • 9 Months Ago
      Funny how there isn't a single comment why Porsche is doing this-- to meet Obama's new CAFE standards. Its the first time they've been increased since the 70's and they will continue to get even worse. Originally Porsche stated they would have to pull out of America. They've decided to cut out 2 cylinders and tack on a turbo instead. And i dont care what the numbers say on paper . I'll take the 2 extra cylinders anyday. There is no replacement for displacement, especially when comparing a 4 cylinder to a 6.
        patters85
        • 9 Months Ago
        @James
        Take your politics back up in the mountains, hillbilly!
      GFB
      • 9 Months Ago
      The 911 is a dinosaur that Porsche has tried to kill with the 928 but which was given a stay of execution by its rabid (and well heeled) fan base. No other mainstream manufacturer offers a rear-engined car for good reasons. That said, the Boxster/Cayman's mid-engine layout, with handling characteristics that won't jump up and bite, is superior over the 911 in every way. I just don't see Porsche offering any 911 model with a four cylinder engine. They tried it before with little success but, who knows; perhaps a lighter engine with equal power hanging behind the rear axle might be too good for them to pass up. They also may not offer future Boxster/Cayman models with a six. Why cannibalize 911 sales with a less expensive car with an equal engine that handles better.
        FutureDoc
        • 9 Months Ago
        @GFB
        912 sold well back in the day. 912 was a very good car and I would prefer it over a basic 911 of the same vintage. Just because something is mid-engine makes it handle well. (See early Fiero). There nothing wrong with the 911's characteristics. Like most modern cars, it could go on a diet but that weight over the rear wheel gives it a completely different dynamic that is unlike anything else. While the Boxters performance is better, there is little difference in the feel over that and my MR2. Creepy how similar they feel.
          FutureDoc
          • 9 Months Ago
          @FutureDoc
          *ust because something is mid-engine DOESN'T makes it handle well.
        waetherman
        • 9 Months Ago
        @GFB
        The 911 regularly beats competitors around the track, and for good reason; call it a rear engined throwback as you will, it's a damn-fine car, refined over decades to be one of the sportiest daily-drivers available in its most basic form, and one of the most drivable sportscars around. Nobody else does rear-engine because nobody else can.
          GFB
          • 9 Months Ago
          @waetherman
          A huge contingent of the rabid fan base I was referring to were and are racing car drivers. I never said that the 911 was not a "damn-fine car." Porsche spent many years and development dollars making certain of that. For street drivers, a 911 is still a handful at the limits. It takes a good driver to tame it on the race track. Most 911 drivers steer clear of the limits, I suspect. I also suspect that nobody else does rear-engine because nobody else wants to.
      Vinuuz
      • 9 Months Ago
      A lighter cayman with a 350 bhp 4 cylinder that consumes less fuel sure doesn't harm anyone. Welcome move Porsche.
      hoofhearted
      • 9 Months Ago
      Turbo that B!
      fran
      • 9 Months Ago
      I'm sure it will be the same (but detuned) engine that's in their Le Mans race car 919.
      RUNRUNRUN@ilikeelectronics.com
      So, Porsche is going back to the future...?
      sforza209
      • 9 Months Ago
      What a beautiful beast that 550 spyder is!
      sloturbo
      • 9 Months Ago
      I think Porsche going to pull in the tech from the 918 into the 911 in the coming years. I suspect a turbo 4 and adding in some electric motors with re-gen. And that would leave Cayman/Boxster with the turbo 4. Not a bad thing, but different.
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