For the first time we can see the proper hood sculpting and an almost completely clean look at the character development on the Panamera's side panels--including the fender vent just aft of the front wheel. A little cladding still remains on the front bumper, on the rear flanks below the taillights, and on the taillights themselves. Some minor tape effects also remain, but do nothing to obscure the car's shape. Other than that, this Panamera prototype looks to be running around naked, finally embracing its birthday suit.
The Panamera will have a choice of three front-mounted engines when it finally bows. The entry-level powerplant will be a VW six-cylinder with more than 300 hp. Porsche's own V-8s with 350 hp and 560 hp are expected, the latter with twin turbos.
There will also be a hybrid version, which will share its gas-electric running gear with the Cayenne Hybrid, which was introduced at the 2007 Los Angeles auto show. Porsche promises a 30 percent boost in fuel economy with the hybrid technology. To achieve better weight balance, the Panamera Hybrid will stow its battery under the cargo floor, and the clutch and electric motor will live between the engine and transmission. And to keep efficiency high, the hybrid will be able to run in gas-only, electric-only, or in combined gas-electric mode.
When it hits the road in 2009, Porsche plans to sell 20,000 Panameras annually, which could push it over the company-wide number of 100,000 cars per year.
We expect the Panamera to make its world debut at the 2009 Geneva motor show.