Porsche has Ferrari squarely in its sights as it develops an all-new sports car to sit between the 911 and the 918.

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Porsche CEO Matthias Mueller told German publication Sueddeutsche Zeitung he was frustrated his brand was giving the Ferrari 458 Italia a free kick in the supercar middle ground without offering any competition.

“It always irritated me that the 911 tops out at 250,000 euros ($340,000) and then the 918 continues starting at 750,000 euros ($1.02 million),” Mr Mueller said.“In between, Ferrari moseys around relatively comfortably and without any competition. That is where we need to be. There is still space for a larger sports car, one like the 959 that we built in the 1980s.”

He said a spiritual successor to the Porsche 959 would ideally be priced between 250,000 and 400,000 euros ($340,000 to $544,000).

If it makes production, the 959 successor is expected to become the eighth model in Porsche’s expanded vehicle lineup, as the manufacturer targets 200,000 global sales by 2018.

On top of the four current models – 911, Boxster/Cayman, Cayenne and Panamera – the German luxury sports brand is also planning a small mid-engined roadster in the mould of the 550 Spyder, a compact SUV unofficially dubbed the Cajun, and a smaller version of the Panamera.

Although just 337 examples of the Porsche 959 were produced, it is held in the highest regard among Porsche enthusiasts and sports car fans alike.

When it was released in 1986, it was the fastest street-legal production car in the world and could accelerate from 0-100km/h in just 3.7 seconds – making it as quick as the modern-day Porsche 911 Turbo.