2010 Porsche Panamera - Panamera and Pals

Despite a high percentage of lightweight materials such as aluminum doors, hood, and deck lid, the top-of-the-line Panamera Turbo tips the scales at nearly 4400 pounds. But that doesn't prevent it from achieving a claimed 0-to-62-mph time of 4.2 seconds and a top speed of almost 190 mph. For the Panamera S, the numbers are 5.0 seconds and 175 mph.

The Panamera goes on sale this fall, with prices expected to come in just above those of the 911. (We estimate $90,000 for the S, $130,000 for the Turbo.) Although capacity for more than 30,000 units per year is in place, the official target is in the 20,000 range - which is still more than the Audi A8 and the VW Phaeton combined.

So what to make of the Panamera? After the transition from air- to water-cooled boxer engines, and after the atypical Cayenne, the shock effect this time is certainly less. But it remains to be seen whether the new "space coupe" is sufficiently intriguing and dynamically satisfying enough to earn its keep. Some of us certainly would not mind if the next all-new Porsche had only two doors.

Porsche Palace

Porsche is the latest German carmaker to erect a high-profile, modernist shrine to itself. The new Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen was designed by Viennese architecture firm Delugan Meissl, which says that the edifice will "express the company's self-confident stance and high standards in architectural terms, while at the same time conveying the firm's dynamism and vitality. [It] was conceived as a gravity-defying, dynamically formed monolithic structure that seems to hover above the... topography." Wait, are they talking about the Porsche Museum or the Porsche Cayenne?

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