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Porsche four-cylinder could produce up to 295kW

Four word: Porsche’s CEO has let slip that the next Cayman and Boxster will have a four-cylinder engine, but things have come a long way since the last flat-four, which was made until 1957.

Next-gen Porsche Boxster and Cayman to get frugal boxer-four engine

Porsche logo24 Mar 2014

PORSCHE CEO Matthias Muller has announced the company will return to producing four-cylinder engines, with a potent turbocharged unit producing as much as 295kW earmarked for the next-generation Boxster and Cayman twins due around 2019.

The scoop comes from German motoring publication Auto Motor Und Sport, which quoted Porsche CEO Matthias Muller saying the new unit would develop “up to 395 horsepower”, or around 295kW.

“We will continue with the downsizing strategy and develop a new four-cylinder boxer engine, which will see service in the next-generation Boxster and Cayman,” he said. “We will not separate ourselves from efforts to reduce CO2.”

While not stated, the four-cylinder could potentially also see service in future iterations of the Macan compact SUV.

Subaru is the only mainstream manufacturer currently using a boxer-four engine.

For reference, its new WRX STI has a 2.5-litre turbocharged horizontally opposed four-cylinder that produces 227kW of power and 407Nm of torque.

The potential move away from offering only horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engines will cut fuel-consumption and emissions in the face of ever-tightening regulations, but the reduction in cylinders need not rob Porsche’s smallest sports model of power.

With 295kW on tap, the fresh powerplant would better the current most powerful Boxtser and Cayman – the six-pot GTS – by 52kW. Weight savings from having fewer cylinders should also benefit handling and braking performance too.

The engine’s displacement could be similar to Mercedes’ 2.0-litre 265kW four-cylinder found in AMG versions of its A-Class, CLA and GLA. If that is the case, Porsche may well steal the world’s most powerful series production 2.0-litre record from Benz.

A new high-efficiency, high-power engine continues Porsche’s fuel-saving initiative that also encompasses the Nurburgring-conquering 918, which uses a hybrid petrol/electric powerplant to produce 652kW/917Nm but drinks as little 3.0L/100km.

A return to four cylinder engines will bring a dose of nostalgia for many Porsche fans who remember the boxer units which powered the 356 and Speedster, as well as the in-line four-cylinders found under the bonnets of 944s and 968s in the 80s and 90s.

The iconic and unmistakable sound of the former will not be returning however, with liquid cooling technology replacing older air-cooling technology in 1998 in an earlier move to cut emissions.

Porsche’s last turbocharged four-cylinder was built in 1993, displaced 3.0-litres and provided the very rare 968 Turbo S with just over 220kW. An even rarer RS race version pumped out 260kW.

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