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Panamera spied in the Cape

2008-01-09 07:42
Despite only being penned for local distribution in 2010, the controversial four-door Porsche Panamera was spied undergoing testing in the Cape recently.

An essentially undisguised left-hand drive Panamera was spotted near the Lord Charles hotel in Somerset-West.

It was sporting German registration plates and the number '3' instead of a licensing disc on the windscreen, indicating the possible local presence of a fleet of Panameras undergoing local testing, having been spotted in Johannesburg too recently.

Drawing its name from the fabled and forbidding Carrera Panamericana road-race through Mexico which achieved notoriety for being the most dangerous race of any kind in the 1950s, the four-door is set to the most controversial product Porsche has made since the Cayenne.

Four-door family Porsche

Primarily launched as an answer the Aston Martin Rapide concept and the highly successful Mercedes CLS AMG, Panamera is set to be front-engined and rear-wheel drive, combing traditional Porsche dynamic virtues with four-up touring spaciousness and comfort.

Although few doubt it will have the requisite dynamic talents concerning performance, many feel the uncharacteristic layout - being front-engined - and odd proportions conspire against it being quintessentially Porsche-like.

Despite widely held public reservations concerning the styling and proportions of prototype versions, Porsche is surging ahead with development.

A hybrid model is even being touted, all in the interest of continuing the company's enviable reputation as the most profitable auto maker in the world by exploring all possible performance market niches.

Diverse power sources

The Panamera is expected to be powered by a range of engines which should include an FSI version of the current 4.8-litre V8 found in the Cayenne. Augmenting these engines should be power sourced from VW and Audi in the form of 3.6-litre V6 petrol and 4.2-litre V8 turbodiesel power.

There are rumours suggesting the possibility of Porsche's manic 5.7-litre Carrera GT V10 also being offered in a bid to best all other four-door competitors.

The likelihood of this happening is very remote though, considering the bespoke nature of the engine and extreme manufacturing constrains concerning volume production of this powerplant.

The range topping Panamera is more likely to be powered by a twin-turbo 4.8-litre V8 similar to the one currently powering the Cayenne.

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