Porsche might not have invented the grand-touring luxury sedan segment, but it obviously intends to become the dominant player thanks to several innovative technologies that will be available on the new Panamera.
Among the list of innovations are some that are borrowed from Porsche’s sportscars, as well as some that are being put into production for the first time in a premium production car.
Included in the latter is a new start/stop system, which works with Porsche’s automatic transmission.
The Panamera Turbo will come equipped with a new adaptive air suspension that will allow for an additional volume of air to be added to further increase comfort. This system will be optional on all other models.
One first-in-class innovation is the use of a completely covered underbody. This not only reduces lift and improves aerodynamics for added performance, but it also reduces drag and thereby improves fuel-economy.
A final highlight is one that any Porsche lover will immediately recognize as being borrowed for Porsche’s sports cars – a multi-stage, adjustable rear spoiler. This rear spoiler will come standard on the Panamera Turbo models.
We’ll be sure to bring you full details on the Panamera when it is officially unveiled at the Shanghai Auto Show in April.
GALLERY: Porsche Panamera
More on the Porsche Panamera after the jump:
TECHNICAL INNOVATIONS MAKE THEIR WORLD
DEBUT IN THE PORSCHE PANAMERA
Automatic Engine Start/Stop Function Among Several New Technologies to be
Featured on Porsche’s Upcoming Four-Seat Gran Turismo
MISSISSAUGA – March 18, 2009 — Porsche AG today presented the key technologies of the new Panamera prior to the Gran Turismo’s world debut in Shanghai. They include several technological innovations new to the luxury performance segment. Among them are the first automatic start/stop system in conjunction with an automatic transmission, air suspension system with additional air volume on demand, as well as active aerodynamics with a multi-stage, adjustable rear spoiler moving up when required on the Panamera Turbo.
Offering the premium customer a new type of vehicle, the Panamera is a four-seater Gran Turismo that combines dynamic performance and superior elegance and is set to achieve the same outstanding position that the 911, the Cayenne, the Boxster, and the Cayman already hold in their respective segments. While competing with well-established models in the premium class, the Panamera is the segment leader in terms of performance, driving dynamics and efficiency. Indeed, these have always been Porsche’s core competences, since efficient, high-performance engines, lightweight engineering and optimised aerodynamics have always been crucial in motorsport.
For the first time, the Panamera combines this DNA of Porsche and the emotional character of a sports car with the superior space and comfort of an outstanding luxury performance saloon, creating a unique Gran Turismo in the process.
The powertrain: maximum performance and efficiency
The unique combination of comfort, performance and efficiency offered by the Panamera begins with the powertrain: it comes exclusively with high-tech power units featuring advanced and fuel-efficient Direct Fuel Injection. The consistent optimisation of friction on these engines is further enhanced by innovations such as map-controlled coolant/temperature management, as well as ancillary units with enhanced efficiency.
With the seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) transmission, Porsche offers a double-clutch gearbox for the first time in this market segment, contributing both to enhanced fuel economy and to an even higher standard of sporting performance.
Far superior to a conventional automatic transmission in its efficiency, PDK is able to save even more fuel through its long, overdrive-like top gear. At the same time, it offers outstanding performance with driving dynamics typical of Porsche through its optimum gear increments and unparalleled, ultra-fast gearshift without any interruption of engine power.
Yet a further milestone is the first start/stop system in a premium car with an automatic transmission. In conjunction with other specific improvements enhancing the efficiency of the overall vehicle – such as tires with low rolling resistance and disc brakes optimized to reduce residual brake forces – the Panamera S with achieves just 10.8 litres/100 kilometres on the New European Driving Cycle – and it does so despite the car’s superior performance.
Chassis and suspension: driving dynamics and comfort all in one
The chassis and suspension of the Panamera is not a compromise between sporting performance and superior comfort, but rather a combination of the two. In its basic setting it offers a high standard of comfort. But, at the touch of a button on the active PASM damper system, it turns into a thoroughbred sports suspension.
Another innovation is the adaptive air suspension which can add extra volume when required – standard on the Turbo and optional on other models. It allows for an even wider range of sporting and comfort-oriented qualities.
Driving dynamics and comfort may also be enhanced by active PDCC stability control, available in combination with an electronically-controlled rear axle differential.
Through the Sport Plus button, the optional Sports Chrono Packages enable the driver to choose the uncompromising high-performance set-up of all drivetrain and suspension systems, including Porsche Traction Management (PTM) with its fully-controlled all-wheel drive. PTM comes as standard in both the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo.
Body: light and functional
The Panamera’s body is the synthesis of lightweight sports car technology with superior comfort, space and efficient aerodynamics. The most advanced production methods and materials are used on the body of the Panamera. These include all kinds of steel grades, light alloys such as aluminum and magnesium, as well as plastics. The lightweight doors feature a load-bearing structure made of laser-treated pressure-cast aluminum, an aluminum outer skin and door window frames made of thin-walled pressure-cast magnesium. Thanks to this intelligent lightweight structure, the Panamera S, for example, weighs just 1,770 kg.
The rear seats set new standards for both comfort and variability. Perfectly contoured as single seats, they offer maximum comfort through their wide range of electrical adjustment as well as headrests tailored to the seats and optional seat climate controls.
The Panamera also comes with a highly functional, variable luggage compartment. Tilting forward individually, the rear seatbacks with additional through-loading provide luggage capacity of up to 1,263 litres and enable a perfectly flat floor.
The Panamera is the first car in its segment with a complete aerodynamic under-body cover, extending around the drivetrain tunnel and rear-end silencers. This reduces both air resistance and lift forces on the axles, which means lower fuel consumption and higher driving dynamics. The visible highlight of the aerodynamic package is the active four-way rear spoiler on the Panamera Turbo. Through its efficient management of control angles and surface geometry geared to driving conditions, the rear spoiler optimizes the car’s aerodynamics and performance.
Acoustics: sporting sound and superior touring comfort
Achieving a perfect balance of sound on the exhaust system, the air intake and engine as well as the car’s aeroacoustics, Porsche’s development engineers have given the Panamera a harmonious, characteristic sound, bringing together seemingly contradictory requirements.
Aeroacoustics were analyzed on a clay model right from the start, then were optimized by way of numerous technical improvements. The result is a low level of noise appropriate for the luxury performance segment. At the same time, the typical Porsche sound of power and dynamism comes out clearly when accelerating. Thus, the Panamera’s acoustic signature extends from silent cruising all the way to powerful emotion during sporty driving.
Using both new and proven technologies, Porsche’s engineers in Weissach have succeeded in solving all conflicts of interest in developing the Panamera. The engines are powerful and dynamic, efficient and clean. The Panamera combines comfortable touring characteristics with sports motoring so typical of Porsche. And despite the car’s dynamic proportions and coupé-like silhouette, the interior offers outstanding luxury, function and versatility.