Diehard long-time Porsche sports car enthusiasts have been begging for a car that returns to Porsche’s roots for at least a couple of decades. A low-power lightweight compact sports machine that punches way above its weight class in the vein of the 356, 912, 914, 944, and original 2.5-liter Boxster. This is clearly a concept car and won’t ever be produced in this shape due to crash standards and what have you, but the Vision 357 concept does show us a bridge between the past and the future. This is clearly a 356-echoing design with incredible pure sports car aesthetic touches like the aero profile and the turbofan-inspired magnesium wheels, but it shows a future where Porsche could head with a retrofuturistic headlight signature and slim rear view cameras on the fenders.
“We created a very special birthday present in the form of the Porsche Vision 357, one which uses the 356 as a basis to underscore the significance of our design DNA,” said Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche. “The concept car is an attempt to combine the past, present and future with coherency, featuring proportions that are reminiscent of its historical archetype and details that visualize the outlook for the future.”
“Thinking out loud about the future is one of the core missions of Style Porsche. Concept studies are the pool of ideas that feed the design of tomorrow,” said Mauer. “We are perpetually on the conceptual journey into the future of mobility. Time and again, the brand history serves as a source of inspiration. Taking a look back at our tradition with a future concept car is not as paradoxical as it might seem. Creative freedom is also important: this is where valuable ideas can emerge unfettered, ones that help us imagine our consistent design philosophy in innovative new directions.”
Okay, so this concept is a throwback in visuals and perhaps size alone, because mechanically it is said to be based on the drivetrain of the Cayman GT4 RS, producing nearly 500 horsepower and driving the rear wheels through a PDK dual-clutch transmission. That’s a pretty stark contrast from the original 39 horsepower 356 Gmund coupes that went into production in 1948. I would absolutely love to see Porsche develop something that weighs under 3000 pounds and produces under 300 horsepower. It would be especially great if there was a focus on bringing the price down under the 60,000 dollar mark. This concept, if produced today, would certainly cost well into the six figures and Porsche already has plenty of great cars in that price range. The original 356 was priced at about $3,750, which accounting for inflation is more or less $45,537.60, or at least twelve grand less than the least expensive Porsche available on the lot today [a base model Macan]. Porsche’s volume movers have historically been entry level sports cars, so where are they?
Don’t get me wrong, this is an extremely cool concept, and I hope it shows a future for Porsche with sustainable materials, a focus on slick aerodynamics, retro-future vibes, and e-fuel internal combustion. I am also extremely happy to be celebrating the 75th anniversary of a company that nearly folded at least three times. This car just doesn’t feel like a 356 homage with a 500 horsepower engine and a stratospheric price tag. I’d love to see Porsche return from the stratosphere for its next 75 years.