Rumors of a Porsche mid-engine supercar to slot between the 911 Turbo and 918 Spyder have been for a few years now, but now those rumors have intensified. Porsche reportedly received a trademark for the name "960" last year, and is rumored to be hard at work developing the car for a 2019 launch.
UK publication on the trademark earlier this week and received an intriguing comment from a Porsche spokesperson. A trademark on a name doesn't necessarily mean anything–Toyota holds a trademark on "Supra," even though a new one isn't likely–but there's a lot of evidence for Porsche building a new supercar. The comment Car received from Porsche is particularly interesting, emphasis mine:
"When recently queried about the registration, Porsche initially rolled out the response you might expect: 'We won't comment on future product. We're just looking to preserve the nameplate identity and combinations that we don't have, and to avoid going through the labour of proving a later claim based on our traditions.'However, the spokesperson added the following: 'There's not been much on the topic of new models but, if you look, there are blank spots in our range – and you have to look at what the competition is doing and keep these things in mind."
Certainly, there is a sizeable gulf between the $175,000 911 Turbo S and the sold-out $845,000 918 Spyder: It's the gulf where the McLaren 650S, Ferrari 488 GTB, and Lamborghini Huracan currently live. Of course, Porsche has never competed in that space, and you could argue the 911 Turbo S isn't far off those cars in terms of performance.
When reached by Road & Track, a Porsche spokesperson declined to comment on whether Porsche was granted a trademark on the 960 name, and what it could entail.
Car claims the 960 will be built on a new platform that will be used in other future Volkswagen Group cars. Perhaps the 960 could share that platform with the next-generation Audi R8 and Lamborghini Huracan. The 960 is also said to get a quad-turbocharged flat-eight engine and all-wheel-drive.
Yes, you read that right: a quad-turbo flat-eight. Sounds crazy, but it makes a bit of sense. Porsche has a new modular engine construction on which the 2.0-liter flat-four in the 718 Boxster and Cayman and the 3.0-liter flat-six in the 911 Carrera and Carrera S are based. It's not beyond the realm of possibility for Porsche to build a 4.0-liter flat-eight based on the same basic architecture. Quad turbochargers are a little harder to believe, though.
Another wild rumor is that the engine will have a variable compression ratio. Car says that Porsche patented a system called VarioCom, which uses connecting rods that can change length, and thus compression.
Some skepticism here is required: While there is evidence to suggest that Porsche could be developing something highly interesting, there's certainly nothing definitive yet. We'll keep a close eye on this one, though.