Porsche’s upcoming Panamera sedan is one of the most anticipated cars in the marque's history, and although its debut is still a couple of years away, several near-production prototypes have already been spotted by spy photographers on numerous occasions. Final specifications for the Porsche four-door will be released closer to the car’s launch at the 2009 Frankfurt show, but a recent report from AutoWeek has outlined many of the crucial details surrounding the Panamera.
Design work is being handled by former Saab man Michael Mauer, but like all Porsches, the Panamera will feature the brand’s iconic shape and headlight design. Measuring in at close to 16 feet in length, the Panamera will provide ample legroom for its four passengers and with a turbocharged V8 engine under the hood it should easily fly past the 180mph mark. Other derivatives that will likely make it to production include a high-performance hybrid version with a V6 engine as well as a rumored V10 flagship.
Like the rest of Porsche’s range, the Panamera picks up conventional unibody construction for its internal structure but reports suggest designers are also employing aluminum to save weight. To speed production and save costs, much of the car’s drivetrain is being lifted directly from its Cayenne sibling. However, the rest of the Panamera’s mechanicals, including the double wishbones and multilink suspension systems, are said to be unique.
A hatchback-style boot lid provides ample storage space but a tradeoff of the design is aerodynamic lift, something that forced developers to add a Veyron-style rear spoiler. This is essential as performance is expected to be scintillating. Both RWD and AWD versions will be offered, with the latter picking up a modified Haldex-style multiplate clutch from the 911 Turbo. The Panamera will initially be offered with a 4.8L engine derived from the unit in the facelifted Cayenne, an engine that features direct-injection and cylinder-deactivation technology. Power figures will start at around 400hp, rising to close to 520hp for the Turbo version.
Following the release of the V8 models, Porsche will deliver a base model V6 running a 3.6L unit sourced from Volkswagen. This same engine will eventually make its way into a hybrid version, the first ever such engine for the sports brand.