This Mercedes C124 has a Porsche engine and 300 hp. The prototype is one of the few survivors of a stopped project.
M it “mules” to test engineers in vehicle development parts yet finished cars. This can be an engine or a complete chassis, for example. Advantageous: On the one hand, the entire car does not have to be finished – development is faster – and on the other hand, new technology can be tried out inconspicuously – ideally nobody will notice. This can be very helpful when a manufacturer is planning a completely new series. Porsche, for example. The sports car manufacturer thought about a four-seater sports car in the late 1980s. 20 years before the Panamera premiered, it was almost that time.
Discrete Muli: Mercedes Coupé with Porsche V8
Porsche engineers set up eight mules for testing. The new technology could hardly be seen from the outside of the foreign vehicles. One of the prototypes still exists today, and Porsche even has photos of it in studio quality. The body was donated by a Mercedes 230 CE of the W124 series. Porsche installed a V8 engine with 300 hp. This is somewhat reminiscent of the 500E that premiered in Paris in autumn 1990. The wheel arches on display and the tire dimensions (225/55 ZR 16) are also very reminiscent of the 500E. But the Porsche engine has a displacement of 3.6 instead of five liters and is linked to a manual transmission.
It is tight under the bonnet, in some places it is easy to see that this is not a production car. However, the Porsche logo can only be found on the starter battery. Incidentally, it is located where the 500E has its control units: at the rear left in the engine compartment.
Inside, Porsche installed its own seats with integrated headrests, an airbag steering wheel and a gear lever from the in-house parts store. Instead of a foot parking brake, this C124 has a handbrake stick on the center console.
Wiedeking stopped the project in 989
However, the development of the coupé did not make it to series production: In 1992, development chief Ulrich Bez and CEO Arno Bohn had to leave. Wendelin Wiedeking became head of Porsche, stopped the project and concentrated all of the troubled company’s strengths on the new Boxter (986) series and the new 996 911 with water-cooled engines and many identical parts. The 928 ran out, a V8 was only available again in the Cayenne. And of course – almost at the same time as the 989 prototypes – in the 500E that Porsche assembled in Zuffenhausen.
The idea of building a four-seater was always current at Porsche – there were prototypes with technology from the 356, 911 and 1984 even an extended 928 for Ferry Porsche’s 75th birthday.
However, the first Porsche with four doors and space for four to five people will not become a sports car: the Cayenne appears in 2002. A sporty luxury sedan will not follow until 2009 with the Panamera, and in 2020 the Taycan, an electrically powered sports car with four doors and seats, will hit the market.