The road to four- and five-passenger Porsches traces back a lot longer than you may think, as the company revisited the idea with some regularity starting in the 1950s. Yet it took until 2009 for the first Porsche sedan to hit production in the form of the Panamera. (Of course, a more capacious Porsche had already launched in 2002 in the form of the Cayenne SUV.) The final car was based on three concepts called the Mirage, Meteor, and Phantom, and internally the project was known as “G1.” Some 235,000 examples have been built over the last decade, but none of them may have happened if it weren’t for the groundwork laid by the cars listed here.
Porsche Type 530
The first four-seater Porsche was based on a 1950s 356 and called the Type 530. Pictured at the top of this post, it featured a lengthened wheelbase, bigger doors, and a raised roof that gives the rear profile a statelier, almost British look. Given the diminutive size of the 356, the rear quarters can’t have been too accommodating, but we’d have loved to see how this car played out in production. Alas, that wasn’t to be.
1967 Four-Door 911
This funky four-door was a one-off custom build for Dr. William Dick, a Texas Porsche dealer, who commissioned it as a Christmas present for his wife. Troutman-Barnes of Culver City, California, were given the honors of cutting a 911 in half; fitting additional, reverse-hinged doors; and adding several inches in length.
1984 942 Prototype
The 942 prototype was a 928 with a 10-inch wheelbase stretch and clamshell rear doors. It was presented to Ferry Porsche for his 75th birthday and was used by him as one of his private runabouts. A later, similar design study from 1987 was called the H50.
1988 Type 989 Prototype
A four-door with two rear seats and a water-cooled V-8 engine up front. The “family sports car” is a direct antecedent of the Panamera but didn’t get a green light due to financial constraints at the time.
The muscular Concept Mirage featured many characteristics that eventually translated to the first-generation Panamera, including a fast roofline, its bulbous rear end, and a hatchback. While that initial Panamera was polarizing to say the least, it’s fair to say that the current second-generation car is a much more attractive execution on the theme, and it’s even spawned a wagonoid version in the Sport Turismo. The powertrains on offer include a twin-turbo V-6 good for 440 horsepower, a twin-turbo V-8 with 550 horsepower, and hybrid versions that can stump up as much as 680 horses.