New front-engined GT based on next-gen Panamera. Coupé and convertible planned

A two-door, front-engined Porsche GT coupé is being planned as part of the second-generation Porsche Panamera family, highly placed sources have told Autocar.

The model is pencilled in for launch after the replacement for the Panamera four-door, scheduled for 2014/15.

Porsche is planning the new two-door GT on a short-chassis version of the next Panamera’s underpinnings. It will attempt to capture the magic of the 928 coupé from the late 1970s.

A new Porsche 928 — possibly badged 929 — would give Porsche entry to a sector that has grown to over 10,000 sales a year, thanks to models like the Aston Martin DB9, Bentley Continental and Ferrari California.

Porsche is understood to be planning two variants of the 929: a coupé and a soft-top convertible.

The 929’s styling is a closely guarded secret, although these images from Julliana Cho, a Porsche-sponsored student who has just graduated from the vehicle design course at the Royal College of Art, might give some clues to the themes being developed inside Porsche under design boss Michael Mauer. They show a more geometric design language with a much stronger-looking front end.

However, any widening of the Panamera line-up depends on Porsche significantly expanding build capacity, said our source.

“At the moment, derivatives of the Panamera are not planned for the first generation,” said the insider. “We hope to add them to the second generation, provided we can find necessary capacity.”

Porsche has announced a major investment programme at its Leipzig plant in Germany, where the Cayenne is produced, which will increase capacity.

Principally, there’s a new body assembly line to build the new Cajun compact SUV but it could also allow Porsche to switch production of the Panamera body from Volkswagen’s Hannover facility to Leipzig for the second-generation model.

In turn, that gives Porsche the flexibility to spin body derivatives off the Panamera. As a result, a third derivative — a sporty estate in the mould of the Mercedes CLS wagon due in 2012/13 — is possible.“We have ideas to extend the Panamera line-up, including other body derivatives — a shooting brake, for example,” said our source.

There must also be a strong chance that work on the new Panamera platform will be shared with VW stablemate Bentley for its third-generation Continental and Flying Spur.

Former Porsche boss Wolfgang Durheimer is now boss of Bentley and is weighing up a third model in Bentley’s line-up. A sporty CLS-type saloon would be one option.

New Porsche boss Matthias Muller last year told Autocar that Porsche and Bentley should share platforms to reduce costs.

Greg Kable/Hilton Holloway

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