Future Cars

2009 Sneak Preview: New and Future Porsche Cars

Just like you, we always want to know what’s coming next from Detroit, Tokyo, Stuttgart, Munich, Los Angeles, and all the other places where automotive engineers and designers dream and scheme on our behalf. Car companies, of course, are loath to share information on new products lest their competitors try to copy them–or you decide not to buy the cars they already have on dealer lots. Car companies, though, are simply groups of people, and some of them have a hard time keeping secrets. So, we poke, we prod, we cajole, and we uncover information that becomes the basis for our annual Sneak Preview issue. As always, some of our information is educated guesswork based on hints, insinuations, hunches. Make no mistake, though, these cars are on their way, even though details may change. Ladies and gentlemen: our list of 136 cars coming over the next few years…

The 911‘s oafish big brother finally arrives.

That gnashing of teeth you hear is the Porsche faithful agonizing over another deviation from sports cars. As if the Cayenne isn’t enough to provoke their ire, the Panamera four-door sport coupe arrives this fall looking like a 911 shape-shifted by Nadya Suleman’s fertility specialist. The swollen booty provides accommodation for two adult passengers and 16 cubic feet of luggage. With the rear backrests folded, the suitcase space expands to 45 cubic feet.

A full-length center console holds passenger capacity to four; sport front buckets and power-adjustable rear seats are optional. Naturally, there’s a wealth of leather, wood, and carbon-fiber trim choices. A Burmester surround-sound system blasts 1300 watts of audio entertainment through sixteen speakers plus a subwoofer. Bluetooth, a universal audio interface, and satellite radio reception are all standard.

The Panamera S and 4S are powered by the Cayenne’s 4.8-liter DOHC V-8 tuned to 400 hp. The Panamera Turbo packs a twin-turbocharged version of the same engine boosted to 500 hp. A seven-speed dual-clutch PDK automatic transmission is standard, and both the 4S and the Turbo are all-wheel drive. Direct injection and an automatic engine stop/start system help curb consumption.

Coil and air-spring suspensions are both offered. An optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control system automatically varies antiroll-bar stiffness to provide a placid ride with minimal lean in turns.

According to Porsche, the Turbo hustles to 60 mph in four seconds on its way to a 188-mph top speed. Both normally aspirated editions top out at 175 mph. The base S reaches 60 mph in 5.2 seconds versus 4.8 seconds for the 4S. V-6, diesel, and hybrid powertrains are future possibilities.

BEAUTY AIN’T CHEAP, AND NEITHER IS THE PANAMERA: Expect a base price of $89,800 for the S, $93,800 for the 4S, and $132,600 for the Turbo when the cars finally reach showrooms this October.

2010 PORSCHE 911 GT3 The track-ready GT3 gets direct injection and variable valve timing, as its flat six grows to 3.8 liters and 435 hp. The factory claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 194 mph. Optional active powertrain mounts firm up during aggressive driving. It goes on sale in October for $112,200.

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