Porsche promises new “compact sports car” for Los Angeles auto show

2012 Porsche Cayman S Black EditionAs the evergreen 911 shows, Porsche doesn’t like change. So when a new model rolls out of Zuffenhausen, it’s a big deal. The upcoming Los Angeles auto show will be one of those rare occasions; Porsche announced that it will be bringing a new “compact sports car” to L.A. at the end of the month. Given the timing, it seems more than likely that the mystery car will be the next Cayman.

The Cayman is essentially a Boxster with a fixed roof, and the Boxster received a complete redesign for the 2013 model year. Since the two cars shares so much DNA, Porsche’s engineers would logically have to apply most of the changes made to the Boxster to a new Cayman. In other words, most of the heavy lifting was done on the Boxster, which is finished, so the new Cayman shouldn’t be far behind.

Porsche has discussed building a smaller model that would undercut the Boxster and Cayman in price, but we haven’t heard about any new developments on that front recently. The car was supposed to have been built on a new platform shared with Audi and Volkswagen, but they seem to have lost interest.

Besides the Boxster and any potential new model, the Cayman is the only compact sports car in Porsche’s lineup, and it needs a redesign more than any other Porsche model. It may still be a competent driving machine, but the Cayman is also the oldest model in Porsche’s lineup.

The 911, Boxster, and Cayenne were all redesigned over the past couple of years. The Cayman, launched in 2005, is still in its first generation. The Panamera is too, but it was launched more recently, in 2009.

Whether the new Cayman bows in L.A. or somewhere else, expect it to take visual cues from the 2013 Boxster. That means styling that is handsome, but still recognizable as a Cayman. It will also get a new 2.7-liter flat-six from the Boxster, with a little more horsepower than the current model’s 265. The 3.4-liter flat-six from the current Cayman will probably carry over to the new model.

Porsche’s new compact sports car will share the L.A. show stage with the 2013 911 Carrera 4. Making its U.S. debut, this model marks the return of all-wheel drive to Porsche’s mascot sports car, and the continued expansion of the new 991-series 911 model range.Both new Porsches will debut in L.A. on November 28.