Porsche will preview plans for a Panamera-based wagon concept in September at the Paris motor show. It is set to provide telling clues for the direction of a production version that could arrive in several years.
This would lend an additional element for increasing Porsche's sales as part of parent company Volkswagen AG's ambitious growth strategy. A final production decision is expected to be made after gauging reaction to the concept car. It's unlikely to arrive before 2016.
The wagon was conceived after customers indicated interest in a more versatile version of the Panamera, one with more luggage space than today's liftback model.
The wagon would form part of a second-generation Panamera lineup and would compete against an array of entries, including the Mercedes-Benz CLS wagon. Look for the Porsche wagon to get an extended roofline, angled tailgate and split-folding rear seats.
“It is one proposal we are looking at to increase the reach of the Panamera,” a source told Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News. “From the feedback we're receiving right now, there appears to be sales potential for such a car in certain markets, especially Europe.”
While it would emphasize style rather than trunk space, a wagon offers buyers greater versatility than Porsche's sports cars. The Cayenne does this now, as will Porsche's upcoming midsize SUV, the Macan.
The wagon would be offered in a standard-wheelbase configuration, as previewed by the show car set for Paris, but Porsche is considering a long-wheelbase variant for selected markets to boost its suitability as a limousine.
While Porsche has yet to reveal the facelifted version of the first-generation Panamera, work is advancing on its successor. It would share underpinnings with some Bentley models, part of a strategy by former Bentley chief (now Audi board member) Wolfgang Dürheimer to have the engineering operations of the two companies work more closely.
Underscoring that, Porsche vehicles are also expected to get Bentley's recently introduced twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 gasoline engine, a replacement for today's 4.8-liter V8, but with unique tuning properties.
Alongside the wagon variant, Porsche is said to be progressing on coupe and cabriolet versions of the Panamera to be based on a short-wheelbase structure. This new structure is also likely to be a replacement for the Bentley Continental GT and GTC.
The 2012 Paris motor show, or as it is officially known -- Mondail de l'Automobile -- will take place Sept. 27 through Oct. 14. It occurs every two years, alternating with the Frankfurt motor show in Germany.