Porsche stunned purists in 2002 with the introduction of the 2003 Cayenne SUV. It was a large sport utility vehicle-a first from the German automaker whose name is synonymous with low-slung sports coupes. The resulting success of the Cayenne (it was Porsche's best-selling model for a period) convinced the automaker to extend its brand into another unfamiliar segment-that of the 4-door grand touring sports sedan. While the company had built prototypes of sedans over the years, the all-new Panamera (the name relates to the famous Carrera Panamericana auto race) will be Porsche's first to make it into production. The Panamera promises sporting driving dynamics and a first-class interior with room for four to rival the best offerings from its nearest current and future competitors from Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Maserati, Bentley and Lamborghini.
Pictures of the Panamera show a low-slung sedan that mirrors many styling cues from the rear-engine Porsche 911 family of sport coupes. The side windows are low, emphasizing the wide stance of the chassis. The rear of the car carries cues from the mid-engine Porsche Cayman, including its large rear hatch. Styling aside, the all-new Panamera promises to deliver performance levels unrivaled in the high-sport sedan segment, and at a price that undercuts the competition as well. It is Porsche's challenge, and opportunity, to prove to consumers that true Porsche DNA is embedded in the Panamera sport sedan. After its official debut in the spring of 2009, the first models will roll into showrooms in the fall.
The 2010 Porsche Panamera is a 4-door sedan that is expected to be offered with three different engines (all of the powerplants are currently found under the hood of the Porsche Cayenne SUV). Unlike Porsche sports cars, the Panamera's engine will be located under the hood. The base engine will be a direct-injection 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 300 hp. One step up will be a direct-injection 4.8-liter V-8 engine rated at 405 hp. The flagship Panamera Turbo will likely be fitted with a turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 engine rated at upwards of 500 hp. Diesel powerplants, offering greater fuel efficiency and abundant torque, and hybrid/electric variants may also be forthcoming. Transmission choices will include a traditional 6-speed manual, or Porsche's new PDK dual-clutch automatic, powering the rear or all four wheels. While engines will be built at Porsche's main assembly plant in Zuffenhausen, all Panamera models will see their final assembly performed at Porsche's Leipzig plant.