PORSCHE has confirmed that its second-generation Panamera – due to launch internationally next month – will soon become a family of three bodystyles, including an extended-wheelbase ‘sedan’ and “an innovation in the segment”; a Sport Turismo wagon.
Of course, ‘sedan’ in Panamera-speak means ‘five-door liftback’, so the long-wheelbase model – aimed primarily at the Chinese market – will become the world’s largest hatchback. And, depending on which engine sits up front, it will also be one of the fastest.
The forthcoming Sport Turismo wagon will inject some genuine sex appeal into Porsche’s flagship line. Hinted at by the Panamera Sport Turismo Concept unveiled at the Frankfurt show in 2012, it was more than just positive customer feedback that nudged the sportwagon Porsche Panamera over the line for production. Porsche wanted to offer something different among Panamera’s competitor set.
“We found there’s space for a car like that in that segment, so we thought that would be a good idea to be the first in that area” said Dr Gernot Dollner, Vehicle Line Director for Panamera.
Then, there’s the rest of the Panamera story. It’s a brand-new car, riding on an all-new platform (dubbed MSB), featuring all-new engines and an all-new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. Its high-tech, mixed-material bodies will be built in an all-new factory in Leipzig, constructed right next to the main Panamera manufacturing plant (instead of transporting bodies built in Hanover, as with the previous model) and Porsche is making some big claims about its abilities.
Besides “best-in-class comfort”, “best-in-class driver-assist”, and a “very unique, very precise, very lean” interior, Porsche says the new Panamera will be the world’s fastest luxury sedan.
The new Panamera Turbo, for example, with a freshly minted 404kW/770Nm twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8, all-wheel-drive and four-wheel steering, can lap Germany’s Nurburgring circuit in just 7min 38sec. That’s two seconds quicker than a 997 911 GT3! Meanwhile, the Panamera 4S Diesel, punching out 310kW/850Nm from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel V8, will be the world’s fastest-accelerating diesel, with a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.3sec, not to mention a top speed of 285km/h.
The ‘entry-level’ engine, for now, is a 324kW/550Nm 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, capable of thrusting the Panamera 4S to 100km/h in 4.2sec (with optional ‘sport chrono’ and launch control).
While extensively re-engineered by Porsche, the petrol V6 belongs to the same engine family as the 3.0-litre single-turbo V6 in the new Audi S4, so if rumours of the next-generation RS4/5 going six-cylinder are true, there’s a chance it’ll be a development of the base Panamera’s 2.9-litre twin-turbo version.
The new-gen Panamera officially went on sale in Australia on June 29, with local deliveries of the 4S ($304,200) and Turbo ($376,900) expected during the first quarter of 2017. The Panamera 4S Diesel will follow shortly thereafter, with the Sport Turismo further down the track.