We hesitate to call this black Porsche Panamera a prototype hiding a facelift, but indications thus far point to that being exactly the case. The whole situation is sketchy because Porsche just unveiled an updated Panamera less than a year ago. That has us scratching our heads, because this is the second time we've caught a black-as-night Panamera with camouflage tape on its face.

The first was back in May, at which time we called it a possible facelift. Now, our spy sources are doubling down on that theory but it's still just a theory at this point. The evidence is right here, in a new set of crystal clear photos capturing a Panamera test vehicle lapping the Nürburgring. We can easily see a new fascia that changes up the corner vents while also offering a larger center grille and adding a small vent above the license plate. Black tape is visible on the fascia above the corner vents, but that's it for exterior changes that we can see. Everything else is standard-issue Panamera.

Gallery: Porsche Panamera Facelift Spy Photos

That is, until we zoom in on some of the side-view images. We can only see the top of the dash, but it's enough to see covers hiding pretty much everything. A laptop mount is visible, as is the corner of a laptop screen so some form of evaluation is clearly taking place here. And Porsche apparently wants to keep the dash hidden in the process.

If this was happening a year from now, there wouldn't be the same head-scratching as there is today. It's very strange to see an automaker testing a future model so soon after releasing the current version, but it's not unheard of. One hint may come from the stickers seen on all corners of the car, which directs people to a Porsche website that outlines the company's privacy policy with regards to video recording. In this case, the policy specifically mentions video recording "in particular, for the testing of driver assistance systems." Perhaps Porsche has ambitions to step further into the autonomous realm?

In any case, we'll keep an eye out for more Panamera sightings while also scouring our spy sources for an inside scoop.

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