Porsche’s engineering department makes concept cars just for wow effect not very often – usually they are fully production-ready cars that for some reason just don’t reach the assembly line. Such was the fate of the C88 sedan, which was developed for the 1994 Beijing Motor Show in just four months.
The C88 was commissioned by the Chinese government as part of a competition to develop a compact sedan for the Chinese family organized in 1994. In addition to Porsche, other Western European companies, including Fiat and Opel, were involved in the competition. The sedan had to have five seats, be inexpensive, and be affordable to develop by the First Auto Works (aka FAW) plant.
The car was named C88 for two reasons. Firstly, the letter “C” can be interpreted differently: clean, comfortable, China or cheap. Secondly, the number 88 is a lucky number in Chinese culture. Plus, the estimated price of the car was supposed to be at the level of 88 thousand yuan.
The finished car was presented personally by the director of Porsche, Wendelin Wiedeking, and his presentation was conducted by the head in North Chinese (also known as “tangerine speech”). The car was designed for five passengers, of which one was a child. All in the spirit of Chinese state policy.
The interior has a bionic design, which makes you wonder about the authenticity of the interior of the first Focus. As you can notice, the car does not have a single emblem of Porsche – the company has developed a new logo for this project. The triangle with three dots is a representation of a traditional Chinese family – two parents and one child.
Porsche C88 was only 4 meters long and 1,635 mm wide. Curb weight of the concept does not exceed one ton – 980 kg. It is clear that under the hood there was a six-cylinder supercharged “opposition,” and the quiet 1.1-liter inline engine with four cylinders and 16 valves. Efficiency by the standards of 1994 was normal – 67 hp and 105 Nm. The engine was paired with a five-speed manual transmission.
Up to “hundred” the sedan accelerated in 16 seconds, and the maximum speed reached 165 km/h. But much more important was something else – with a compact and technological engine C88 consumed only 5.8 liters of gasoline per 100 kilometers, and these are real figures of the mixed mode, but not a phantasmagoria of the modern car industry. However, the promising car did not go into production.
The reason was simple – the Chinese government folded the project “China Family Car” in 1995, the winner of the competition was never named. Porsche, so as not to waste good things in vain, sold the rights to the technology and design of the car to several Indian companies – neither of which took root. This is how the promising project ended, with nothing to begin with.
Now C88 is in the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. This is not the first concept sedan company, but of all created it was closest to the production – after all, Porsche often won in such open competitions. Who knows, how we would look at Panamera now, if history had developed a little bit differently.