You’ve got to wonder, is Porsche’s DNA evolving or mutating? If you ask the 356 / 911 aircooled guys they may say the latter. But to that nostalgia-driven group, anything made after the 1998 Porsche 993 (the last aircooled 911) is hersey. Traditions die hard, but Porsche realized its future resided in water-cooled cars. That’s why we got the Boxster / Cayman, the 996, 997 and 991 water-cooled versions of the 911, Cayenne and Panamera. The purists ranted when the mid-sized Cayenne SUV hit the market. But the fact is it probably saved Porsche and brought a lot of new fans into the brand’s back pocket. Small and expensive sports cars are great, but Porsche was leaving a lot of wallet share to competitors.
Same thing with the sedan (or saloon for you Euro types). The styling on the Panamera was galvanizing. Many did not like it, but the fact remains that they are fantastic on the road; a very capable touring car. But the automotive playing field does not remain static for even one second and Porsche needed to up the ante. Word is, Stuttgart is rushing a refreshed Panamera to market.
Porsche does a pretty good job of keeping things under wraps. Of course when production cars are going through the grueling process of testing they have to drive on public roads and the details are for the most part heavily disguised. That is why it is amazing that Porsche (or any manufacturer really) can drop a prototype on the public from out of nowhere. That is exactly what Porsche did to the automotive universe with the Panamera Sport Turismo at the Paris Auto Show.
Yes, there were a few artist renderings that hit the Interweb just before the launch. And the computer rendered images looked good. Really good. Was this the direction that the restyled Panamera was going? When the car pulled out on the stage in Paris, we saw a car that looked chiseled, lean with a tiny bits of Cayenne, 991 and 918 thrown in for good measure. This is what a Panamera should look like!
So what we have here is a “shooting brake” or sports wagon version of the Panamera. The way the hatch curves back over it flanks mimics one of the best design features of the new Cayenne. The taillight treatment? Looks like it was lifted from the new 991, and the front air intake hints at the 918 supercar. Porsche has cleaned up the cars flanks, getting rid of the chrome fender bits. The Sport Turismo somehow looks smaller and tighter than the current Panamera, which is quite a feat, since the Panamera is a pretty big car.
The drivetrain showcases how Porsche is looking forward. An e-Hybrid, it combines good old fossil fuel giddy-up-and-go with a plug in Lithium-ion battery pack. The idea is that you can have your power (333 HP), MPG (60!) and low emissions (82g/km) too. Hybrid powertrains and drop dead gorgeous styling shows that Porsche’s DNA is evolving. And on the Autobahn of life…wait for it…Porsche is in the passing lane. Now if only those crazy engineers in Stuttgart would drop a 650 HP Turbo motor under that hood, the Panamera Sport Turismo would be as fast as it looks.