Panam­era raises the bar

Porsche aims to set a new stan­dard for per­for­mance, writes GOR­DON LO­MAS in Ger­many

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

EV­ERY am­bi­tious tar­get set for the forth­com­ing su­per-lux­ury Porsche Panam­era has been hit. Porsche peo­ple say their flag­ship will set a new stan­dard for per­for­mance and com­fort, rat­tling ex­ist­ing class leaders and set­ting the bar high for other fu­ture cars in­clud­ing the As­ton Mar­toi Rapide.

The com­pany’s hi-tech fac­tory at Leipzig in Ger­many has been ex­panded to ac­com­mo­date the Panam­era, but Porsche says its re­sources are stretched to ac­com­mo­date a fifth model line.

Fi­nal de­vel­op­ment test­ing sug­gests the Panam­era has equalled or ex­ceeded all of its mis­sion state­ments, clear­ing the way for pro­duc­tion within a year and Aus­tralian sales from the end of next year.

The lo­cal show­room tar­get has been set at 150 cars a year, even though the fi­nal spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els and en­gines for the Panam­era, which is set to be un­veiled at the Paris Auto Sa­lon in Oc­to­ber, have not been set.

A V6 diesel will be in­stalled in the Cayenne SUV be­fore the end of this year, but the prob­a­ble start­ing mo­tor for the Panam­era is the V6 fit­ted into the four-wheel-drive wagon.

That would en­able it to fight with MercedesBenz, Audi and BMW in the $180,000-plus price range.

A V8 and a twin-turbo V8 are also be­ing de­vel­oped, along with a petrol-elec­tric hy­brid.

The Panam­era is prin­ci­pally set to tar­get ri­val Ger­man long-wheel-base luxo saloons, the BMW 7-se­ries, Audi A8 and MercedesBenz S-Class.

Jan-Peter Hoffmeis­ter, Porsche’s trans­mis- sion and driv­e­train spe­cial­ist, says the V10-pow­ered BMW M5 was bench­marked for per­for­mance along with the Maserati Qu­at­tro­porte, and the Mercedes-Benz CLS was ref­er­enced for com­fort.

‘‘We want to be the best in driv­ing dy­nam­ics and driv­ing com­fort,’’ Hoffmeis­ter says.

Porsche Cars Aus­tralia pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager Paul El­lis will not con­firm specifics of the Panam­era, but says that even­tu­ally there will be sev­eral mod­els.

‘‘They won’t all be launched at once but we ex­pect the car to be ready for Aus­tralia late next year,’’ El­lis says.

Dy­namic: Porsche’s Panam­era will be un­veiled at the Paris Auto Sa­lon in Oc­to­ber to ri­val lux­ury saloons.

Un­der the bon­net: the Porsche Panam­era hy­brid is be­ing de­vel­oped as well as a V8 and V8 twin turbo.

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