Deep Dive: Porsche 911 R, All-New Panamera Planned for 2016
Four-cylinder Boxster also on the menu.
Porsche will keep busy in the New Year. In January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the automaker will debut a face-lifted 911 Turbo and Turbo S, which should see power bumps from 520 hp and 560 hp, respectively, to about 550 hp and 580 hp. Then in March at Geneva, we'll see a face-lifted Porsche Boxster that'll be available with a pair of brand-new four-cylinder engines, as well as the high-performance 911 R, which essentially is a limited-edition 911 GT3 without extroverted styling and as many aerodynamic aids.
The Porsche 911 R will be offered exclusively with a new six-speed manual transmission and the same 475-hp, naturally aspirated 3.8-liter flat-six from the GT3. Key markers of the R model are its triple nasal breathing ducts, GT2-style bonnet, massively flared wheelhouses in the rear, and bespoke 21-inch aluminum wheels, not to mention a front aero splitter, rocker sills, and a rear aero diffuser. The 911 R's electrically activated rear spoiler deploys only when required, the rear bumper accommodates two large center-mounted tailpipes, and available extras include carbon-ceramic brakes and a full Clubsport package. The 911 R's production run is limited to 600 pieces. Although the steep asking price is said to be more than $160,000, the entire run has already sold out.
Come May, when the Beijing show kicks off, we'll see a face-lifted Porsche Cayman in the same vein as the updated Boxster, with base versions that are fitted with either 2.0-liter or 2.5-liter flat-four engines.
Then, in October, the all-new, second-generation Porsche Panamera debuts at the Paris Motor Show. It will be the first Porsche based on the all-new, scratch-built MSB matrix, which stands for modular rear-wheel-drive components set. All MSB derivatives -- including the next-generation Bentley Continental/Flying Spur, the Bentley Mulsanne replacement, and the next Audi A8 -- will have a front mid-engine layout for improved weight distribution, and all-wheel drive can be made available with relative engineering ease.
The forthcoming Porsche Panamera looks sleeker, narrower, more elegant, and even sportier than its forbearer. Expect a completely overhauled interior with two large in-dash displays, a bunch of new assistance systems, and several new convenience features. The messy keyboard-style secondary controls are gone, and a drive mode selector is directly attached to the steering wheel.
The Panamera's 4.8-liter V-8 will be replaced by a new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 with cylinder deactivation that will be rated at 600 hp in the Turbo-badged model. Hybrids start trickling down the pipeline in 2017. The first hybrid Panamera will get a 4.0-liter V-8 mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and it will produce about 475 hp combined and almost 600 lb-ft of torque. (Power should jump to 595 hp after a couple years, too.) With a bit of luck, we'll see a second hybrid model featuring an all-new, 330-hp, twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 developed by Audi, who is also going to supply Porsche with two diesel engines: a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 said to be good for 326 hp and a 4.0-liter turbodiesel V-8 that can churn out close to 450 hp.
Originally, Porsche planned to add an extended-wheelbase limousine version of the Panamera during model year 2017, but disappointing sales of the first-generation version have reportedly mothballed the project. Meanwhile, the Panamera Shooting Brake, which is an almost exact copy of the good-looking Panamera Sport Turismo concept car, has been pushed back from 2018 to 2019.
You should mark your calendar.