Porsche’s completely new ‘sportscar’ for 2009, the Panamera, has been revealed to be a 4-door, 4-seater sports tourer/coupe. Set to make its world debut at Geneva Auto Salon in 2009, it will not be powered by the Boxster/Cayman/911 range of Porsche’s boxer engines. Instead, it will have V6 or V8 powerplants - much like the Cayenne’s - with output ranging from 300 to 500hp. In line with the 2008 facelift 911 (997) and the 2009 facelift Boxster (987)/Cayman (987c) range, this new Porsche ‘saloon’ will also boast of Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) and PDK twin clutch robotic-manual gearbox. The Panamera range will also have the top model designated as ‘Turbo’, which is very telling of what’s beneath the hood. By 2010, Porsche will likely extend the Panamera range by adding a hybrid version.
Design wise, it is claimed that the Panamera combines the sleek profile of a coupe, blending uniquely into a classical saloon body plus the benefits of a versatile interior - that can carry four occupants comfortably. Yet this all-new model lineup is still instantly recognisable as a Porsche.
In what is actually a five-door liftback - somewhat reminiscent (in concept) of the Toyota Corona Liftback or the Ford Telstar TX5/Mazda 626 Liftback of yesteryears - For Wheels reckon the new Panamera has that unique and characterful look that will grow on many, unlike the ugly-child in the Cayenne, when it was first unveiled in 2002. Even with Porsche's facelift exercise in 2007, the Cayenne did little to correct its ‘birth-defects’, only to pale aesthetically beside the Audi Q7 and even its much cheaper cousin, the VW Touareg.
The sporty 4-door ‘coupe’ Panamera measures almost 5-metres in length and is claimed to be bigger than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or BMW 5-series (think: R-Class in extended ‘L’ guise e.g. R350L). From these early pictures, you can safely tell that the base model will be the Panamera S (rear-wheel drive) and with the addition of all-wheel drive, next step up, the Panamera 4S. The top-dog of the family will be none other than the Panamera Turbo, which will probably be AWD. Will there be a plain vanilla and ‘entry-level’ Panamera without the ‘S’ suffix in the vein of the Boxster, Cayman or Carrera? How about a Panamera GTS or Panamera Turbo S for even more snob factor and of course, that little more speed?