Amid an uncertain economic outlook, Porsche is still marching forward to introduce the fourth model to its lineup later this year: the 2010 Panamera. This much-anticipated 4-door sports car from Zuffenhausen recently made its public debut at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show. But before the official unveiling, we were invited to the factory to take a peek at some of the technical innovations that will help the 4-seat Porsche stay true to its sports-car heritage.
When the Panamera goes on sale in the U.S. on October 17, it will come in three variations: the rear-drive S, and the all-wheel-drive 4S and Turbo. The S and 4S will be powered by a direct-injection 4.8-liter V-8 rated at 394 bhp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. The Turbo model will use a version of that powerplant, but will serve up a healthy 493 bhp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. The new Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) double-clutch transmission will be standard equipment across all models. Porsche engineers have implemented a start/stop engine feature on the Panamera to help the S achieve 21.8 mpg, the 4S 21.2 mpg and the Turbo 19.3 mpg, all figures reflecting the European fuel consumption cycle.
One of the ways the Panamera will attain sports-car performance is through weight savings. The car's body and chassis are made of a combination of aluminum and magnesium and high-strength steel. This enables the Panamera S to attain a curb weight just under 4000 lb., while the Turbo tips the scales at about 4300 lb. The S fitted with the optional Sports Chrono Plus package and launch control is claimed to hit 60 mph in 5.2 sec., the Turbo in 4.0 sec.
To achieve both adequate ride comfort and sporty suspension tuning at the same time, the Panamera's variable dampers can be ordered with air springs and active anti-roll bars to further enhance the car's dynamic abilities. This means that, at the touch of a button, the Panamera can drop its ride height by an inch and firm up its suspension to corner with minimal roll, or it can be switched to provide a more supple ride.
The sticker price for the Panamera S will start at $89,800, with the 4S beginning at $93,800; the top-of-the-line Turbo will command $132,600. Porsche officials would not confirm when the V-6 Panamera — available in Europe, and with a manual gearbox — will come stateside. They were equally coy about the unveiling date of the upcoming hybrid Panamera.