Porsche Moves Upmarket and Down

June 15th, 2009

2010-Porsche-PanameraWe’re getting a first-drive report on the new Porsche Panamera from Car and Driver. So, to cut to the chase, it’s a worthy addition to the Porsche stable. If you like four-door, four-seat, four-wheel-drive, 4,000-pound sports cars with 400+ horsepower, you’ll love it. The Turbo version (@500 hp) will put you into another dimension, says C&D, as

the acceleration is almost surreal. According to Porsche, 0 to 60 mph takes just 4.0 seconds, the sprint to 100 mph takes just 9.0 seconds, and top speed is a lofty 188 mph. Running full tilt in this car is an exquisite experience that would seems [sic] to justify every single penny of the Turbo’s $132,600 asking price.

2010-porsche-panamera-interiorThree different models are available, starting at $89,800 for the Panamera S. It’s got all the sporting goodies you’d expect from Porsche, plus a very posh interior and room for lots of Louis Vuitton luggage. This sort of vehicle is definitely new territory for Porsche, at the top end of their road cars, which appeals (or should) to a very different market niche.

1976-porsche-914There’s another report, this one from German media via MotorAuthority, about an entry-level Porsche roadster which they compare to the 914 of the late ‘60s-early ‘70s. Hah! The price of the original was $3,595 in 1973 dollars; the proposed new one will be something like $48,000 (€35,000). That is the low-end price of the Boxster, and if the roadster comes about, Porsche will again be eating its own lunch as it once did with the 912 and the 924.

The report sounds totally crazy to me, particularly since the proposed new car would “be a joint effort between Porsche and VW, though the basic mechanicals would likely be drawn primarily from VW’s massive corporate parts bin.” Isn’t that what we just reported for the new concept-to-production VW BlueSport, which is closer to becoming a reality than the pseudo-914? Maybe German media, if not MotorAuthority, are confusing the two.

On the other hand, the confusion may have to do with the continuing infighting between Porsche and VW. Back in the late ‘60s they were also squabbling over who should produce the 914, and history may well be repeating itself.

On a related (or unrelated) note, in Porsche’s unrelenting quest for financial backing, it appears to be selling a 25-percent stake to investors in Qatar. The drama continues.

Should Porsche concentrate its efforts upmarket or down? What do you think?

—jgoods

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