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
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
rear wheels. A less powerful V-6 and an environmentally
variant could appear a year or two down the road, and
an all-wheel-drive model
may not be far off.