If you're not vast in Porsche history, you should note that the 356 No. 1 Roadster was Porsche's first car. It's on display at the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. Equipped with a multi-tubular frame and mid-engine, the team at Porsche at the time realized Ferry Porsche's dream of building his own sports car. You will be in denial if you claim you don't see the obvious influence this design still has on present-day Porsche cars.
Seventy-five years after Porsche released their first-ever production sports car, the German marque has unveiled the Vision 357 - a visionary tribute to the original 356 No. 1 Roadster. This one-of-a-kind concept vehicle celebrates Porsche’s storied history while also looking forward to the brand’s future.
The Vision 357 is currently on display at the '75 Years of Porsche Cars' exhibition at the Volkswagen Group’s 'DRIVE' forum in Berlin, with further outings at international events planned throughout 2023.
Engine and performance
Powered by the same naturally aspirated 4.0L flat six-cylinder engine as the 718 Cayman GT4 RS, the Vision 357 is capable of drawing 368 kW of power from four liters of engine displacement (in theory) - proving that it is no slouch when it comes to performance.
Porsche designed the Vision 357’s internal combustion engine to operate with e-fuels, which promise to become an integral part of the automotive industry’s journey to sustainability. An 'e-fuel' logo on the 357’s tank cap represents this tasteful nod to the future. Further adding to the Vision 357’s retro feel are process intakes behind the driver and passenger windows, emblazoned with colorful decals.
The Vision 357’s radical design philosophy strongly echoes that of the 356. Its broad proportions and wide track width aids vehicle stability whilst also standing in stark contrast to the comparatively small passenger cabin. In addition, the Vision 357 incorporates quick-release mechanisms into the jointless hood. Another notable design element is the replacement of traditional exterior mirrors with cameras placed on the edge of its roof.
Subtle details on the Vision 357, such as the rear grille pattern, build on its timeless appeal by harkening back to design features originally seen on the 356. However, perhaps the most noticeable tribute to Porsche’s heritage on the Vision 357 is its two-tone gray paintwork reminiscent of popular colorways in the 1950s. Porsche’s ‘75’ anniversary logo also features prominently on the Vision 357, highlighting the German manufacturer’s long history.
The Vision 357’s magnesium 20-inch wheels feature carbon-fiber hubcaps and central locks that enhance its aerodynamics. Additional space around the front wheels improves ventilation around the wheel arches, and its side sills are made of the same natural fiber-reinforced plastic used in the Porsche Mission R - further emphasizing Porsche’s commitment to a sustainable future.
Whilst details are scarce as to the exact specifics of the Vision 357’s interior — owing to its status as a concept vehicle — its mid-engine layout and narrow cabin size suggest that there may not be much room within the car itself. Given the Vision 357’s potential performance, however, there’s no reason to think this would be a concern.
Porsche has described the Vision 357 as a ‘design study,’ and there are currently no plans to put it into production. However, the German marque’s Vice President of Style, Michael Mauer, stated that the Vision 357 details "visualize the outlook for the future," - suggesting that this concept vehicle could influence Porsche’s sports cars of the future.
The Vision 357 will be on display in Berlin until mid-February. It will then be showcased at South by Southwest in Austin from 10 March 2023, with further outings at international events planned over the year.