Panamera raises the bar
Porsche aims to set a new standard for performance, writes GORDON LOMAS in Germany
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.