Porsche is preparing to build a sophisticated luxury super-coupé in the spirit of the old 928 — but only if it sees an end to a global downturn in sales.
One senior company source has admitted to Autocar that the large three-door would be a "very nice" addition to the Porsche line-up. But he also insisted that the car is still some way from board level approval.
The new car would be substantially based on the new Panamera, but Porsche would need to make some significant new investments in body engineering as well as interior and exterior restyling.
Autocar understands that the Porsche bosses who are behind the new 928 say that they need to make the best use of the money sunk into the Panamera project by producing another model based on that car.
Sources say that the investment demanded by the Panamera project has been "very substantial". This is mainly because the car’s engineering is almost entirely new.
One engineer told Autocar that the Panamera’s unique and hi-tech platform was a "very expensive" move for a firm of Porsche’s small size, and given the modest annual production run planned for the Panamera.
Autocar also understands that the majority of the Panamera’s structure cannot be carried over to the replacement for the Cayenne, making it even more desirable that another model is eventually added to the Panamera production line.
However, the new 928 has not found its way to the concept stage purely to improve economies of scale. Although Porsche cleverly capitalised on the rising demand for upmarket, high-perfromance SUVs with the Cayenne, it has been a source of frustration for many in the company that it has missed out on the burgeoning market for high-performance GT cars.
Models such as the Bentley Continental GT, Maserati GranTurismo and Mercedes AMG coupés have proved that there is a market for cars that combine near-supercar performance with everyday civility.
Although the 911 will never become a GT car, some Porsche engineers are also frustrated by a six cylinder engine that cannot grow beyond 4.0 litres.