FrontRunners: Four Score

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Following more than two years of rendered images from Porsche and speculation on the Internet, the four-door Porsche Panamera (www.porsche.com) will make its official debut in late April at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show, and will arrive in U.S. showrooms in the fall. The sports sedan, which derives its name from the Mexican road race La Carrera Panamericana, will feature an optional adaptive air suspension system, a 7-speed double-clutch transmission, and a direct-fuel-injection V-8 in each of three model variants. The engine in the rear-wheel-drive Panamera S and all-wheel-drive 4S will produce an estimated 400 hp, while the Panamera Turbo’s engine will deliver 500 hp to all four wheels. Pricing for the vehicles will likely start around $100,000, but now that the Panamera has become a reality, rumors have begun circulating concerning Porsche’s intention to release a more economical V-6 version—as well as a more ecological hybrid model—to the American market in 2010.

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