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Four-door Porsche shows its face

 

Porsche has released the first official pictures of its second radical departure from its core business of building sports cars – its first four-door sedan, the Panamera

The front-engined four-seater uses traditional styling cues derived from the rear-engined 911, and is described by Porsche as “a four-door grand touring sports car.”

It follows the Cayenne luxury sports SUV in taking Porsche into new territory, and the Stuttgart, Germany, manufacturer will be hoping it’s as successful.

Despite some carping from media critics and Porsche diehards, the Cayenne has been a phenomenal success. It’s now available in a range of petrol versions, a newly-launched diesel and soon-to-arrive hybrid and is a cornerstone of Porsche’s profitability.

Joining the 911, the mid-engined Boxster roadster and Cayman fixed head coupe sports cars and the Cayenne, the Panamera is Porsche’s fourth model series.

It’s wide and low for a four-door, measuring 1931mm in width and 1418mm in height. It’s long, too, at 4970mm and has short, 911-style, front and rear overhangs.

Porsche is bullish about the Panamera’s prospects, as it was with the Cayenne. It says the four-door will “establish a new segment versus the competition.”

It says that in the Panamera’s favour are a mix of sports car character in the coupe-like lines, a “unique interpretation of the classical saloon body” and a versatile interior.

Instead of a conventional radiator grille, the Panamera has individual, strongly contoured air intakes. Accentuated wheelarches and a long, sloping bonnet create a 911 look at the front of the car.

V-shaped lines along the bonnet, and the rear window tapering out like an arrow towards the tail emphasise the brand’s sports car roots, and are backed up by muscular “shoulders” over the rear wheels, the coupe-like roof-line, and highly visible tailpipes.

All occupants sit in contoured individual seats, the luggage compartment will carry luggage for four, and the rear seat backrests can be folded individually to increase luggage space.

Panameras have direct fuel-injection V6 or V8 engines with power outputs ranging from 300 to 500 horsepower. Some will be turbocharged.

They drive the rear wheels through a choice of manual six-speed or seven-speed PDK double-clutch gearboxes, though the range-topping V8 turbo will be all-wheel drive – available as an option on other versions.

Porsche is developing a hybrid drive Panamera, and says it will give further details of Panamera engines, transmissions, performance and equipment in the first half of 2009.

Porsche plans to sell 20,000 Panameras a year.

The Panamera will make its world debut in the European spring of 2009 with the first models going on sale in New Zealand early in the fourth quarter of 2009.

 


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