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Porsche puts its Ferrari 458 Italia-rivalling supercar on the back burner

The Porsche 918 Spyder is an impressive piece of kit, but at $845,000 it’s got a somewhat limited customer base. Yet it’s been rumored that Porsche wants to develop a less-expensive mid-engined supercar to rival the Ferrari 458 Italia.

That plan may be on hold, though.

The project hasn’t progressed beyond feasibility studies, and hasn’t attracted much interest from top Porsche management, according to a recent report from Autocar.

Known inside Porsche as the 988, the supercar is reportedly on the company’s “wish list,” but development work on new versions of the Panamera and Cayenne, as well as updates for the Boxster and Cayman, are taking priority.

That’s a shame, because the 988 is rumored to feature a 4.0-liter boxer-eight engine producing up to 600 horsepower. That would certainly take the fight to Ferrari.

Related: 2014 Ferrari 458 Spider review

However, even though its ensconced within the massive Volkswagen Group, Porsche is still a relatively small carmaker, and has to use the resources it has to maximum effect.

The company also recently slowed development of the Pajun, a BMW 5 Series-fighting “Panamera Junior.”

Because of its much higher potential for profit, that model – due in 2019 – is also likely to take precedent over the 988.

Even if the mid-engined car never sees the light of day, Porsche does have two cars that can rival the Ferrari 458’s performance: the 911 GT3 and 911 Turbo.

They may look a bit like squashed VW Beetles, but the two most extreme 911 variants offer supercar performance in a more stereotypically-Porsche package.