Luxury Cars: Following this past weekend's premature leak of official Panamera details, Porsche has now released the full gamut of details and images for its upcoming sedan. The Panamera will officially go on sale in April next year and will make its world debut one month earlier at the Geneva Motor Show. Porsche will be able to build up to 26,000 units per year at its Leipzig Plant, but actual production levels will be kept at just 20,000.
It will be a large car, measuring 1,931mm (76.0in) in width, 1,418mm (55.8in) in height, and 4,970mm (195.7in) in length. Inside, there will be space for four occupants, and the whole car will weigh in at around 1,800kg.
Porsche has developed a new range of engines designed specifically for the Panamera. They range in power output from 300hp (225kW) in the base Panamera, up to 500hp (373kW) in the Panamera Turbo. A mid-range Panamera S is expected to output about 405hp (302kW) from a naturally aspirated V8.
Both a six-speed manual and the new Porsche-Doppelkupplung (PDK) dual-clutch transmission will be offered. Customers will also be able to choose between rear and all-wheel-drive powertrains. Porsche has confirmed that a hybrid variant will be launched, and there may eventually be a turbodiesel model as well.
Base prices in Europe are expected to start at $80,000 ($100,000) for the V6 RWD model and go up to $125,000 ($156,000) for the Turbo AWD variant. Prices in the U.S. tend to be lower than they are in Europe. Further details on the engines, transmissions, performance, prices and equipment will be disclosed closer to the car's launch next year.
The saga of the Panamera's development has been fraught with an undercurrent of disapproval from Porsche purists, who see the addition of a second set of doors to a 'sports car' as equivalently heretical, or even more so, than the Cayenne, itself anathema to the brand's lovers of all things fast and sleek. There were even widespread concerns at early stages of development that the Panamera might take the spotlight as the ugliest Porsche ever, and though the car remains uncharacteristically long and unwieldy-looking, later iterations have somewhat allayed those fears.
One thing is certain - the Panamera is set to change the performance sedan market radically. Bridging the gap between the so-called super-sedans, or four-door grand tourers, such as the Maserati Quattroporte, or the upcoming Aston Martin Rapide and the more typical hotted-up family sedan, the Panamera will offer extreme high performance in a more affordable package.
The importance of image is not overlooked with the Panamera either, with both hybrid and diesel variants expected to begin sales within a year or two of the car's retail debut. The hybrid unit is expected to include a 3.6L V6 and a 110hp (82kW) electric motor that will enhance both efficiency and performance. The diesel unit would likely be an Audi-sourced 3.0L V6 unit similar to the one to be used in the Cayenne.
By Alex Kaufmann
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