Autoweek has a cover story of the 2010 Porsche Panamera. They also report that Porsche is cosidering a 928-like coupe verison of the front-engined Panamera as well as a rumored BMX X3-fighting crossover that would represent a fifth Porsche model line.
2010 Porsche Panamera
Four Doors and More
By GREG KABLE
AutoWeek | Published 04/13/07, 9:02 am et
Less than a year after the first rough-looking Cayenne-based engineering mule ventured into the open, the eagerly anticipated Porsche Panamera has been stripped of much of its disguise. Testing of the big four-door is moving into high gear more than two years ahead of its expected premiere at the 2009 Frankfurt show.
The new car, depicted here in exclusive computer-generated images revealing its true production shape in more detail than ever before, is Porsche’s first front-engined sedan. When it goes on sale in the United States in early 2010, the 16-foot-long Panamera will seat four adults behind a turbocharged V8 that can take it beyond 180 mph. That will make it a rival to the Audi S8, the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG and the Maserati Quattroporte Sport.
Still, there’s more to the new car, codenamed G1, than performance. With a hybrid version planned for 2011, Porsche is relying on the Panamera to lead it into the potentially lucrative market segment of environmentally conscious consumers.
As with the rest of its lineup, Porsche has chosen conventional unibody construction for its fourth model line (joining Boxster/Cayman, Carrera and Cayenne), though it is reportedly considering an aluminum spaceframe for future Carreras. Much of the Panamera driveline is shared with the Cayenne, although the rest of the mechanical package is described as unique, including the suspension, double wishbones up front and a multilink arrangement at the rear with air springs offering a variable ride height.
Porsche has committed more money to the development of the Panamera than any other car in its history, say high-ranking Zuffenhausen insiders. But with its coffers flush with capital right now following its acquisition of a majority stake in Volkswagen, the big spending appears justified, with various components likely to find their way onto other Porsche models, including a rumored crossover line. The Panamera is significant not only because it is the first Porsche sedan but also because it is the first model styled under new design boss Michael Mauer. Despite the former Saab designer’s desire to stamp his influence on the new car, the finished product appears to boast many longtime Porsche cues evolved by his predecessor, Harm Lagaay.
In a move that provides a tangible design link to the 928—Porsche’s first front-engined model, launched in 1974—the Panamera eschews a conventional trunk in favor of a sloping liftback, which hinges from above the rear window to reveal a sizable cargo area. The tradeoff is aerodynamic lift, according to AutoWeek sources. So Porsche has developed an innovative rear spoiler, which it has gone to elaborate lengths to hide during the car’s early testing.
The Panamera initially will be offered in rear-wheel-drive form only. However, a four-wheel-drive option featuring a modified Haldex-style multiplate clutch from the 911 Turbo (rather than the older setup, which continues to be used on the 911 Carrera 4) is expected within the first 12 months of production.
Under the hood sits a 4.8-liter version of Porsche’s four-valve-per-cylinder, 90-degree V8, as unveiled in the facelifted Cayenne earlier this year. The longitudinally mounted unit uses a new direct-injection system plus the latest in exhaust-gas recirculation and cylinder-deactivation technology to ensure competitive fuel mileage and emissions, while serving up the needed power and torque to challenge competitors.
Nothing is official yet, but minor adjustments should allow output to rise slightly above that of the recently introduced Cayenne, with naturally aspirated Panamera S versions starting at 400 hp, while the top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo should hit 520 hp—the latter backed up by a prodigious 516 lb-ft of torque. With standard rear-wheel-drive versions of the new car said to weigh 4100 pounds, this should ensure 0-to-60-mph acceleration in about 4.5 seconds and, with new advanced aerodynamics, a top speed in excess of 180 mph.
Porsche also plans a base version of its sedan running a reworked version of VW’s 3.6-liter V6 producing 300 hp. The move is significant, as the compact 15-degree engine forms the basis of a hybrid-drive system that is also under way at Porsche, which has joined forces with both VW and Audi to speed development and reduce costs.
Also planned for the second-generation Cayenne due out at the same time, the gasoline-electric hybrid system mates the base Panamera’s V6 with an electric motor driven by a lithium-ion battery pack. Together, they are rumored to provide as much as 400 hp along with the capability of pure electric, zero-emissions propulsion for short periods.
Although Porsche considered equipping the Panamera with a transaxle (an arrangement used on the old 928) to achieve the best possible weight distribution, the complexity and cost led to a decision to tread a more conventional path, with the gearbox mounted to the rear of the engine. Two units are planned: a standard six-speed manual and an optional seven-speed double-clutch setup, the latter expected to appear on the facelifted 911 at Frankfurt in September.
The Panamera will be built alongside the Cayenne at Porsche’s Leipzig factory in Germany, beginning in August 2009, according to supplier sources. Final assembly will bring together drivelines from Porsche’s Zuffenhausen headquarters and steel bodies from Volkswagen’s Hanover plant. Official figures place annual production at about 20,000, although this is considered conservative, even by Porsche standards. AutoWeek understands the carmaker is installing capacity for as many as 30,000 cars per year, some 35 percent of which are expected to find their way to North America.