Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking recently admitted in an interview with the German motoring magazine Auto, Motor & Sport that the carmaker's new four-door coupé - dubbed Panamera - has begun its testing marathon.
Our artist impression shows that Panamera will feature a sleek design with coupe-like styling cues (Copyright: Wayne Batty/Wheels24)
We have the first pictures, as well as an artist imopression, that show the real car in full action.
Scheduled for an official presentation at the 2009 Geneva show, the fourth range from Porsche is developed to be a strong competitor to the Mercedes CLS, Maserati Quattroporte and the future Aston Martin Rapide.
Though the Panamera takes over design elements from the 911 range, there will be significant differences, too.
While the first has always kept its rear-mounted boxer engine, the newcomer will do with a choice of three front-mounted motors, though set back to the centre of the car as much as possible.
The entry-level unit will be Volkswagen's 3.5-litre six-cylinder unit developing 221kW, while Porsche's own drivetrain will be a direct-injection eight-cylinder petrol engine, available in naturally-aspirated guise (260kW) and with twin-turbo (415kW).
That should be enough to beat out the competition for a while: Mercedes' CLS 63 AMG comes up with ?only? 380kW. However, should Stuttgart make the CLS even stronger, Zuffenhausen would strike back with the Porsche GT's 520kW ten-cylinder unit?
The target for the Panamera is to be a true sportscar while at the same time it shall be a family-car for every-day with four full seats, easy access to the rear and a luggage compartment of around 450 litres.
When it hits the road in 2009, Porsche hopes to be able to sell 20 000 units annually ? and to jump over the barrier of 100 000 sold cars per year.