How do you know when times are getting tough? When manufacturers like Porsche start rolling out economy models, that's when.
That's right, rumour has it that the Stuttgart-based performance car builder is planning to release a four-cylinder version of the incredibly popular Boxster by 2011, bringing down emissions, fuel consumption and presumably price.
Not much is known about the fuel-sipping Boxster at this stage, other than that it'll likely offer up a lowly 150-odd kilowatts with the aid of a turbocharger and be â€œthe most economical Porsche everâ€. Not really TMR's cup of tea, but no doubt it'll go down a treat with those who desperately want the Porsche image, but don't necessarily need Porsche performance.
Will Porsche fans warm to what amounts to an engine downgrade, or will it be a canny move by the marque that'll draw more down-at-heel (yet still moneyed-up) buyers into Porsche showrooms? Remember, Porsche isn't all about flat sixes and grunty V8s: the brand has had several four-cylinder models in the past, and, up until 1995, always had a four-banger in its lineup.
So, one could say that the reintroduction of a low-powered, four-bangin' base model is less about fuel economy and slashing sticker prices, and more about extending Porsche's market reach.
The rumoured release date is still over two years away, so take all of this with a whole shaker-full of salt. Details are likely to change in the lead up to the bottom-feedin' Boxster's release, but at this stage it's probably safe to say that no, we won't be seeing an RS version in the near future.