2008 Private Preview: Reincarnated 928

Appearing like a 911 coupe captured through a

wide-angle lens, the Panamera is Porsche’s answer to Mercedes-Benz’s highly

successful four-door, four-passenger CLS.

The Panamera—named after La Carrera Panamericana, the Mexican

road race—is perhaps a long-awaited assembly-line version of the 989, a

four-door concept car that Porsche considered producing in the late 1980s. (The

company was then under the direction of Ulrich Bez, who soon will realize his

plans for a sport sedan at Aston Martin, where he is now the CEO.) The Panamera

also may be the reincarnation of the front-engine 928 coupe; rumor has it that

Porsche is planning a two-door GT based on the same platform as the sedan.

The Panamera sedan will arrive on the auto show circuit as

early as

next fall, and customer deliveries are expected to begin sometime in

2009. The earliest cars likely will employ the Cayenne’s 4.5-liter V-8

engines—both the naturally aspirated and turbocharged versions—to

motivate the

rear wheels. A less powerful V-6 and an environmentally

friendlier hybrid

variant could appear a year or two down the road, and

an all-wheel-drive model

may not be far off.

Porsche, www­.porsche.com

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