News coming out of Stuttgart, Germany this week is being met with emotions ranging from pure exhilaration to downright depression.
My first reaction ranged from sadness to disappointment, but has now eased into acceptance of the new world in which we live.
The auto industry is in a constant state of evolution and this latest development is merely a reflection of the sacrifices that must be made in order to carry on certain traditions. One of those traditions is the purest form of automotive enjoyment: the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car.
I think we have to admit that some sports cars are still in existence because other, less awesome, vehicles foot the bill for their survival. Such is the case with the Porsche 911 and the new *gulp* Porsche Panamera wagon.
I found out about the news when my local Porsche dealer posted a link on their Facebook page accompanied by nauseating joy and exuberance. Words like, “dream car,” and “Thank God!” filled the post, which linked to an article overflowing with more rejoicing.
Why are people so excited? The Panamera is a well-built and comfortable luxury sedan, but it looks like a beached beluga whale. It’s a nice car to drive, but Porsche shouldn’t be in the business of building cars that are nice to drive. That’s the realm of Lexus, and it should stay there. Porsche builds (or used to build) cars that are fun to drive and invoke a quickened pulse while instilling just enough fear to keep the pedal from being pushed all the way to the floor.
I guess I qualify as a Porsche purist because I believe that a Porsche interior should smell a little like oil and that the roar of the engine should come from behind the seats. A Porsche should not be well-civilized, it should be a little unpredictable and wild.
I do understand, however, that times have changed and that an automaker must conform to the market if it wants to survive. Unfortunately for purists, the market demands front-engine luxury vehicles with a lot of space, which is what led Porsche to develop the Cayenne, Panamera, and Macan.
Those are the vehicles, though, that keep Porsche funded well enough to continue production of the 911.
I’ve learned to accept the SUVs and the big sedan, but a Porsche hatchback wagon will be harder to swallow. Even the CEO of Porsche Cars North America seems cautiously optimistic. Here’s what Automotive News said,
“We have to have some patience for [the wagon] to arrive in the U.S.,” said [Klaus] Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “But we are confident that this car will be well received here, despite the fact that this country doesn’t really like hatchbacks or wagons.”
I do hope the Panamera wagon finds success here, even if just to fund the development of real sports cars. Expect it sometime in 2017.
Do you think Porsche should bring the Panamera wagon to the United States?