A facelifted version of the Porsche Panamera was only introduced last year
, but development of a successor is well underway, as evidenced by the previous sighting of test mules and now some prototypes. The new Panamera isn’t expected on the market until 2016, most likely as a 2017 model, but even at this early stage of development it’s clear the car will have a somewhat sleeker and sportier shape than the current model.
Our photographer tells us that the new Panamera is slightly longer than the current one, and from previous test mules we know that its track is slightly wider. We can also see a large rear wing being extended in some of the shots. Porsche’s Panamera Sport Turismo concept
from 2012 hints at the styling we can expect.
Underpinning the car is a brand new platform that will eventually spawn several high-end models from the Volkswagen Group. The new platform is the Modular Standard Platform, or MSB when derived from its German title “Modularer Standardantrieb-Baukasten,” and it’s designed for large front-engined cars with either rear- or all-wheel-drive configurations. Bentley’s next Continental range will also use the platform.
Thanks to a mix of materials such as high-strength steel, aluminum and even some composites, the MSB platform will see that the new Panamera is both lighter and stiffer than the current model. Weight savings could be as high as 200 pounds, depending on the variant.
The variety of powertrains on offer for the current Panamera is likely to remain, though with some all-new engine designs. The 2014 Panamera S already received a new twin-turbo V-6, and for the new Panamera we should see more potent variants like the GTS and Turbo benefit from a new V-8
A plug-in hybrid model will once again be offered, but with improved battery technology helping to lower weight and increase capacity. The current Panamera S E-Hybrid
weighs a hefty 4,609 pounds. Interestingly, a previous report suggested that a manual transmission won't be offered
on the new Panamera.
Stay tuned for updates as development of the next-gen Porsche Panamera continues._______________________________________Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.