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Deep Dive: 2018 Porsche Pajun to Rival Benz CLS

The Porche Cajun was only recently named the Macan, so we don't know yet what the badge on the trunk of the production Pajun will read; we do know for sure the bonsai Panamera is an active project. After all, chairman Matthias Müller recently told the German business weekly Wirtschaftswoche that "such a model would make an attractive addition to the range in about five to six years from now." While the Macan is a joint effort with Audi, home of all Volkswagen Group mid- to full-size crossovers and SUVs, the 193-inch long Pajun is a Porsche through and through.

How the Pajun will stack up

Pajun relies solely on V-6 powerplants. The Audi-sourced 3.0-liter V-6 TDI earmarked for the Pajun is expected to deliver 260 hp (Pajun Diesel) and 320 hp (Pajun Diesel S). Also in the pipeline are two gas 3.0-liter six-cylinder units. The lesser version is believed to churn out 320 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque (Pajun S), while the twin-turbo edition should be good for 420 hp and 413 lb-ft (Pajun Turbo); waiting in the wings is an even more potent Pajun Turbo S motor rated at 520 hp and 501 lb-ft. On the hybrid front, insiders predict a 3.0-liter V-6 paired with a 100-hp electric motor.

Although the Pajun aims at the midsize offerings from Ingolstadt (Audi A6), Munich (BMW 5 Series), and Stuttgart (Mercedes-Benz E-Class), its primary targets are the Audi A7 Sportback, BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, and Mercedes CLS. Expect two bodystyles: a five-door coupe that looks infinitely better than the hunchback Panamera in late 2016 or early 2017, and a very sporty shooting brake to be released twelve months later. While the next Panamera - due in the fall of 2015 - is expected to hatch coupe and convertible derivatives, there is currently no two-door Pajun on the horizon. The five-door Pajun coupe is said to combine Audi A5 Sportback overtones with Porsche's own 911-inspired design language. The shooting brake features a third side window, a much longer roofline with integrated spoiler, slim wraparound taillights, a deep tailgate, and a large and fast rear window. Like its Panamera big brother, the smaller model can be optioned up with things like ceramic brakes, dual-clutch PDK transmission, air suspension, four-wheel drive, torque vectoring, sport chrono plus, and an extended choice of driver assistance systems.

Porsche Pajun prices should begin around $80,000 and stretch over $130,000, sources say - an Audi A7 costs less, the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe costs more. For Porsche, the Pajun is instrumental in reaching its mid-term volume target of 200,000 vehicles per year. Like the Cayenne, Panamera, and Macan, it is bound to further reduce Porsche's dependence on sports cars.

Timing is tight because the second-generation Panamera and Pajun are both based on a new architecture, dubbed MSB, for modular sports car matrix. The flexibility of MSB is such that it can be front-, mid-, or rear-engine as well as rear- or all-wheel drive. Although MSB is masterminded in Weissach by Porsche, it will also serve Bentley, Lamborghini, and, eventually, Bugatti. What about Audi and the A8, you ask? The next A8, codenamed D5, will again be engineered in Ingolstadt, but in the long run, it may make more sense to pool the premium platforms that would, in phase two, also affect the A6 and A7.

Story by Georg Kacher, Photo Illustrations by Scott Olsen

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