Porsche is reportedly working on a mid-engined eight-cylinder sports car to take on the Ferrari 458 and its successors.
According to sources who have spoken to Autocar, the new Porsche is currently being developed under the 988 code and will hit the market in 2017.
Mounted in the middle of the car behind the driver and passenger will be an eight-cylinder boxer engine displacing about four litres. A prototype version of the engine supposedly features four turbochargers strapped to it. Power output is said to be around 450kW.
That's up significantly on the 419kW available from the standard issue Ferrari 458, but pretty much line-ball with the 445kW 458 Speciale. Rumours point to the facelifted version of the 458 having access to around 500kW of power.
The Porsche 988, or whatever the car will be christened, is said to be based on a new scalable architecture that will underpin all of Porsche's boxer-engined sports cars. This includes the next-generation mid-engined Porsche Boxster and Cayman twins, and the rear-engined 911, as well as the rumoured sub-Boxster variant.
Given that parent Volkswagen loves sharing parts between its wide family of brands, its likely that Porsche's new scalable architecture will find a home underneath the successor to the Lamborghini Huracan and, by extension, the third-generation Audi R8.
All these vehicles would share a front-end structure, although underneath there would be three different front axles for engineers to play with. One would be responsible for steering only, while the other two would be driven, one mechanically, the other motivated by the battery-powered half of a hybrid drivetrain.
There will be at least two different variants of the rear-end. One will accommodate the rear-engined, six-cylinder Porsche 911. The second version will cater for mid-engined cars powered by four-, six- and eight-cylinder boxer motors.