Click Thumbnails to Enlarge
Porsche Panamera (2009) caught in leafy suburbia
Georg Kacher/Tim Pollard
14 July 2007 07:50
A Porsche saloon... so will the Panamera be as practical as a Cayenne?
Nearly. The size of the cargo deck is in keeping with the GT character of the car. Accessible via a wide and deep tailgate, the boot holds a cavernous 475 litres. Need even more space? Then start folding the split backrests which form a large carpeted luggage area. The Panamera is closely related to the Cayenne SUV. Exactly how much is a secret, but we hear the suspension and brakes, and some of the body structure are related. Trouble is, the Cayenne weighs too much to spawn a true sports car, and this unfortunately also applies to the very heavy 4WD system. As a result, the engineers have been looking at the 911 Turbo's all-wheel drive system.
The Panamera will be Porsche's fifth product range. Must be good for business?
Oh yes. According to chairman Wendelin Wiedeking, the annual sales target for the Panamera is in excess of 20,000 units. This number is, in true Porsche style, a massive understatement. According to an internal document, the goal for the first full year of production is in excess of 27,000 cars, and one year later the demand is expected to peak at more than 30,000 vehicles. As a result, Porsche will soon be building well over 100,000 units per annum. Starting in mid-2009, the Panamera's body in white will be assembled and painted at the VW truck plant in Hanover, home of the T5. The body structure is made of high-strength steel, clad with aluminium doors and lids as well as with plastic bumpers, aprons and spoilers. Thanks to the VW connection, Porsche does not have to invest in its own stamping facility and paint shop. Nonetheless, the total expenditure for project G1 will exceed one billion Euros. In Leipzig, where final assembly takes place, the company intends to create 600 new jobs. In the Stuttgart area, home of R&D and engine production, more than 100 engineers have been hired from Mercedes-Benz, among them the chief project leader Dr Michael Steiner who used to be part of the S-class team.