17 March 2005

Porsche is close to officially confirming its eagerly awaited fifth model line, with details starting to leak out of the company’s HQ, including the new four-seater’s name: Panamera. The name was registered by Porsche last July and is expected to adorn a concept version of the four-seater at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. Insiders describe the new model, exclusively revealed by Autocar on 9 December 2003, as a combination of coupé and saloon.

Due to grace showrooms in 2008, the V8-powered Panamera is designed to seat four with a boot capacity of up to 450 litres. The four-door will be pitched directly against cars such as the BMW M5, Mercedes-Benz CLS and Maserati Quattroporte.

Secrecy surrounds the mechanical basis for the new car, although rumours suggest Porsche chairman Wendelin Wiedeking has forged links with Volkswagen on a new rear-wheel-drive platform program, in a tie-up similar to that undertaken with the Cayenne and Touareg 4x4s.

Volkswagen chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder has let it be known that he is interested in adding a new rear-wheel-drive model to the Volkswagen line-up, possibly to replace the Phaeton (right) and, after the recent breakdown in talks with Maserati, another co-operation with Porsche may be on the cards. There have even been suggestions the new platform could be used by Bentley underneath a successor to the Arnage.

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Power for the new four-door Porsche will come from the same 4.5-litre V8 engines found in the Cayenne. They include a naturally aspirated version with 340bhp and a turbocharged unit with 450bhp. An even more powerful variant with over 500bhp is also in the pipeline.

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