The legendary sports car company Porsche is stepping into previously unexplored territory with the creation of the Porsche Panamera, the first sedan-style Porsche to be put into production. Of course, this might be a bit premature, as the Panamera is technically still in the concept arena, but Porsche has talked about plans to release the Panamera to auto shows in 2009 and into production afterward. They are looking at producing 20,000 per year after 2009.
Opinions vary about this new vehicle in the Porsche line-up, ranging from disgust by Porsche purists to hopefulness from family folk. Personally, I think this bold move is a brilliant one on Porsche’s part, allowing them to break into a previously untapped market. And it doesn’t look like they’re going to lose much of what makes a Porsche a Porsche in crossing over.
What does the Panamera have that makes it a Porsche? Well, first things first. What kind of engine is this baby going to have? Will the extra two doors slow it down at all? Well, rest easy, speed fans. While the exact engines are not nailed down, all of the options look good. A V8 with 350 hp, a 3.5 liter V8 with 300 hp, and/or a V10 (the same one found in the Carrera GT) that cranks out a whopping 700 hp will power you and three passengers. Not only that, but Porsche is exploring a hybrid option with a six-cylinder engine and a 60-watt electric motor.
Porsche is being a bit close-lipped about the car, probably in part because they haven’t nailed all of the details down yet, but I think it can be assumed that anything Porsche creates will be of the highest quality. The initial artist sketches show a sleek, suave car that would certainly function as a family car, but wouldn’t be missing any of the glory that is Porsche. However, early spy shots of the test models show a less elegant, possibly disappointing body style, a rip-off of the 911. With luck Porsche has not finished the body, and 2009 will herald a Porsche sedan worthy of the name and sketches.