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Porsche Panamera (2009) out in the cold

Published: 21 March 2008

Porsche’s Panamera might just be the most scooped car ever. It’s been 18 months seen we first snapped the super-saloon from Stuttgart testing at the Nurburgring. With each round of spy shots more of the disguise is peeled away at we get a better look at this enormous Porsche. These photos, snapped in Scandinavia, show us the rear of the Panamera in the best detail yet. And also show the car’s size. Length-wise the Panamera sits between the regular and long-wheelbase Mercedes S-class.

Porsche Panamera: the looks

Our dead-on rear photo gives a true view of the Panamera’s shape, and shows what an unusual and brave step it was for Porsche to make its first saloon as a hatch. That slopping rear end means there’s 475 litres of space, and more when the seats fold flat.

The hatch is huge, and the pop-up rear spoiler will open with the fifth door. The spoiler is a lot smaller than previously thought, and sits just below the rear wiper. LEDs lights form the rear clusters and swoop over the rear haunches. Ignore the dashed white lines and you can clearly see the curvaceous glasshouse that will let lots of light into the rear of the Panamera. No claustrophobia here.

The front features more disguise than in previous photos, but it’s clear to see the 911 Turbo-esque LEDs lights and indicators. We can also see the final shape of the light clusters, and glimpse the vents ahead of the front doors. The styling is by Michael Mauer, formerly of Mercedes and Saab.

Porsche Panamera: on sale date

Porsche is being coy about any launch date. A company spokesperson told us the car would not appear in 2008, but Stuttgart may still spring a surprise and show the car at the Paris motor show this autumn. Last time Porsche popped a surprise at Paris it was the Carrera GT concept. Don’t expect the Panamera to be on sale before mid-2009, by which time the new BMW 7-series and the Aston Martin Rapide will be around.

Porsche Panamera: can it beat the Aston?

Are you lead by your head or your heart? We don’t want to rubbish the British effort before it’s even on sale, but every car Porsche has created over the past decade has been the best handling in its class.

Expect active dampers, carbon ceramic brakes and a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox from ZF to give the Porsche the technical advantage. Rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive models will be available.

The Porsche will also be a lot cheaper, with a 3.6-litre V6 (due in 2010) costing £55,000. To take on the Aston’s V12 the Panamera will come with a 4.8-litre V8, with or without twin-turbos. That later will have 500bhp and cost £85,000.

If you want a green(ish) Porsche then a Panamera Hybrid will appear in 2011, and achieve 30mpg-plus. 

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy