Porsche Panamera S

Porsche Panamera S

Rumors are loose on the German interwebs that Porsche is moving further from its one-time niche as a sports car maker into full-line status. To take the next step on that path, it may be working on a smaller Panamera derivative to do battle with the mid-range luxury sedans of the world. But our question is: where does that leave Audi?

Reportedly code-named "Pajun" internally (short for Panamera Junior) the baby 'Mera is aimed about like you'd expect: four doors, a slightly smaller cabin and wheelbase, and a rumorific V-8 400-560-horsepower output, plus a 300-horsepower diesel. A V-6 model rated around the same as the base Panamera is also likely if the smaller sedan comes to fruition.

But as we asked earlier: what about Audi? Does Porsche's continued march into more categories put its co-parented brand at risk? For some this might sound as silly as asking whether Audi steps on Volkswagen's toes, but in truth, that probably happens occasionally too. Toward the upper end of the spectrum, however, there's a sort of convergence in price and performance, meaning Audi's S6 is likely to have a lot in common with a Pajun. Will brand differentiation be enough to tap a different customer base? Perhaps.

It will be interesting to watch it play out if it happens. As for when that might be--your guess is as good as ours. Right now we're all building castles in the shifting sands of hearsay.