The structure will feature a hybrid material approach forced by more demanding crash regulations. Aluminium will be used to keep weight down, while high-strength steel will be feature for certain parts of the crash structure.
The next Panamera will also remain true to the current car’s packaging concept, in which four low-mounted seats flank a central spine running through the cockpit.
Porsche is keen to maintain the recipe for the Panamera because the car has been a bigger success for the brand than expected. More than 100,000 Panameras have been sold in the four years since its launch, around 25 per cent more than the company had originally expected.
The biggest market for the Panamera is now China, which has prompted Porsche to introduce a long-wheelbase version. Porsche has already hinted strongly at a Gran Turismo estate version of the next model, while a shorter two-door coupé and a cabriolet can’t be ruled out, either.
Today’s wide range of powertrains will continue to be offered in the next-generation Panamera, including V6 petrol engines, diesels, V8s and the E-Hybrid petrol-electric plug-in powertrain.
However, rather than use the current supercharged Audi V6 engine, the next E-Hybrid will be powered by Porsche’s newly introduced in-house turbocharged V6.
The weight of the E-Hybrid model is also expected to be usefully reduced. Porsche is forecasting a 15 per cent improvement in the energy density of lithium ion batteries every three years, which should result in the hybrid version shedding around 40kg from its battery pack alone. Today’s newly introduced E-Hybrid plug-in weighs a hefty 2095kg, substantially more than the 1810kg of the similarly powerful 3.0 biturbo V6 Panamera S.