Less than a month ago, many publications announced that sports car makerPorsche had begun working on a compact performance-luxury sport utility vehicle based on a rumor started by German Magazine Auto Bild. The weekly auto magazine reported that the vehicle would be based off of Volkswagen's forthcoming Tiguan, but would undergo the same sort of differentiation and product engineering that distinguishes Porsche's own Cayenne from VW's Touareg. It would also provide Porsche with the chance to enter a budding market that's currently populated by the likes of the Acura RDX, BMW X3 and Land Rover LR2, and will soon include the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLK or MLK, amongst others. The magazine even proposed a name for the baby 'ute, “Roxster”.
Speaking to shareholders and company officials at a general meeting this past week, Porsche's CEO, Wendelin Wiedeking has officially dismissed the rumor of a “baby Cayenne” as false. The company will instead focus its efforts on launching the new Panamera four-door luxury coupe for 2009. Other news that was put to rest at the meeting included the possibility ofpurchasing a greater stake in Volkswagen. Currently Porsche has a 30-percent stake in Volkswagen Auto Group, but Wiedeking stated that it would not be increasing its share to 50-percent, or perhaps, as talk on the street abounds, even greater.
What's on the table, however, is increasing production for the vehicles currently offered, and making better use of what factory space and technology that it has, which is where the Panamera comes into play. Reports have suggested that Porsche is preparing to bring back a large, front-engine, V8-powered coupe that would act as the successor to the 928 that debuted in the late '70s and lasted through the '90s, in order to ease the development costs on the upcoming luxury sedan. Predicted to share around 60-percent of its parts with the Panamera, the upcoming car would ride on a shorterwheelbase, which would help to keep weight down and improve chassis rigidity.
Even though the Panamera's engine lineup has yet to be announced, there are already predictions of what will power the new “928”. All cars are likely to feature eight cylinders and at least 5.0 liters of displacement, with 350 horsepower being the estimated starting point, which should be more than plenty to compete with the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Maserati GranTurismo. This could rise to as much as 500 horsepower, if not more, thanks to turbocharged aspiration, giving Porsche the kind of firepower to compete with Aston Martin DB9s and high-end AMG Mercedes-Benz products. In a way, with the Panamera and 928 successor, Porsche could very well have an entire range of luxury performance GTs, in a similar strategy to Bentley's successful Continental GTs albeit lower in price, a position that could only contribute to the brand's prestige factor and profitability.
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