Porsche Panamera (2009) latest

Published: 12 October 2007

Porsche Panamera: the lowdown

We've been spotting that old scoop favourite, the new Panamera super saloon, again. And it seems that Stuttgart's stylists are experimenting with a further evolution of Porsche's family face. This artist's impression strips away the disguise from the latest spyshots, and we can see that a new ellipsoidal lens design is planned for the Panamera. Beneath the tear-shaped main headlamps lies a pair of LED day running lights (like on the 911 Turbo) incorporating the indicators. It also appears that the Panamera will get a pair of Jaguar-style gills just aft of the front wheelarches. With Porsche's focus on engineering purity above posing, you'd hope these are functioning to cool the front-engined V8 engines, rather than merely showing off. 

We've seen so many scoops of the Panamera. When do we see the real thing?

Prepare for more spyshots yet. The finished article won't be seen until 2009, when the four-seater will land in showrooms to compete with the sportier luxury saloons on sale. We're talking about the Quattroporte, XJR and upper-echelon 7-series, A8s and S-classes. Not to mention the forthcoming Aston Martin Rapide, the first four-door from Gaydon for generations. Expect a concept car at one of the major shows in 2008. As the Panamera is such a different proposition from its existing sports cars, Porsche is unlikely to be shy building up its imposing newcomer. And you won't miss it: at nearly five metres long, it's a full-size saloon.

That's quite a show-off spoiler. Is it strictly necessary on a posh saloon?

The aero aid at the rear will be a pop-up item. Like the spoiler on the Cayenne and 911, it will rise up at motorway velocities to assist high-speed stability, dropping down discreetly once you're pottering around town. This will either help you avoid the largesse of rally-spec Subaru Imprezas, or bring your attention to speed-watching policemen, depending on your point of view. The shape of the rear lights is now apparent too. This artist's impression is based on the latest information, revealing wraparound rear lenses with detailing that suggets the back lamps will use LED lights.

Two exhaust pipes... this looks like a lower-spec Panamera

Yes, we've seen a mix of different exhaust counts on numerous spy photos of the Panamera, developed under the G1 codename. Two rear-drive cars will be available at launch: those with four pipes are understood to be the 500bhp turbocharged 4.8-litre V8; twin pipes (above) are assigned to the naturally aspirated V8, developing a lazier 400 ponies. The Panamera will need all that power, mind you. It's expected to weigh a chunky 1800kg, so plenty of twisting power will be needed to ahieve the Turbo's target of 190mph and 0-62mph in 4.2sec. In 2010, Porsche will extend the Panamera family with a smaller engined 300bhp 3.6 V6 and four-wheel drive versions will be launched too. Then in 2011, we can expect to see the 175mph hybrid Panamera, using much of the battery powered know-how from the recently confirmed Cayenne Hybrid. The green option will be the most intriguing Panamera - a sporting saloon with 911 Carrera performance and Boxster emissions.

Ah, that's better. I prefer the Panamera with the spoiler down

Yes, it looks more subtle, doesn't it? And under that sloping tailgate (this is really a five-door, rather than a four-door) lies a boot that's said to carry 475 litres of luggage, more if you tumble the rear seats forwards. There's plenty of passenger space for four adults, too. What will the Panamera be like to drive? Its suspension and brakes, and some of the body structure, are related to the Cayenne, but there is sufficient difference to give the saloon a character all of its own, say engineers working on the project. Besides, there are plenty of technical innovations which should set the saloon apart from the bulky off-roader. Four-wheel drive versions come a year or two after launch, seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions are being developed by ZF, while composite brakes will be available and Porsche is also working on active dampers. It's shaping up to be one of the most intriguing cars of the next 24 months.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet