While Porsche has not yet officially acknowledged the existence of its GT Coupe project, it is clear that the expansion to a fifth model line will be inevitable, because it is only then that the desirable economies of scale are exploited...

2009 Panamera to spawn GT Coupe as fifth model line in 2010

German sports car maker Porsche currently is on such a high that it is difficult even for the professional spy photographer, not to mention the enthusiast car nut to keep track with all the product development that takes place. Currently out and about are:

(1) Prototypes for the facelift of the first generation Cayenne (to debut later this year), simultaneously with (2), the first test mules for the all-new second generation of the Cayenne (a further three years away), (3) prototypes for the facelift of the current 997 series Carrera (to debut exactly three years after the introduction of the first 997), and (4) first test mules for the Panamera, which is Porsche’s all-new fourth model line, a front-engined four door four-seat sports saloon. These test mules hide their new platform and running gear under an inconspicuous BMW 5-series and Audi A8 skin. Knowing Porsche’s development scheme, the debut of the Panamera is quite exactly three years away from now and hence, should take place in the second half of 2009. (5) Eagerly awaited, but not yet seen in the flesh, is the successor for the outphased limited-edition Carrera GT, which may break cover at any moment now. Also not seen just yet, but due in around two year’s time from now on, are the facelifted versions of the current editions of the Boxster (6) and the Cayman (7), plus various uprated sports versions of these models (8).

What we can reveal already now, though, in a world-exclusive first, is the very first spy pictures of (9): Porsche’s all-new fifth model line, which is expected to debut in 2010 and is a front-engined two, or 2+2-seater Grand Tourismo (GT) sports coupe, very much in the tradition of the previous, ill-fated 928. This new GT Coupe will try to resume the tradition of the 928 and bring Porsche back into a market that - for Porsche unexpectedly- has strived in the meantime, and today is dominated by the Ferrari 599 GTB (previously 575 Maranello), Bentley Continental GT, Mc Laren-Mercedes SLR, AMG versions of the CL coupe, BMW’s M6 and an entire range of Aston Martin V8 and V12 sports coupes. (Interestingly, Aston Martin, which is led today by Porsche’s former head of R&D from the 928-era, Ulrich Bez, today proves successful with a whole range of 928-style cars, and pursues exactly the same strategy as Porsche, although going the other way round, namely by deriving from their coupes a 4 door saloon car, that eventually will go head-to-head with the Panamera, or debut even before.)

While Porsche has not yet officially acknowledged the existence of its GT Coupe project, it is clear that the expansion to a fifth model line will be inevitable, because it is only then that the desirable economies of scale are exploited to their full extent which are rendered possible by the rigorous parts sharing philosophy that Porsche pursues. Hence, the GT Coupe will be spawned directly by the Panamera saloon and share at least 60 % of all parts with the larger 4-door car, including the (shortened) platform, the engines (the most expensive independent component), transmissions (the second most expensive) and suspension corner modules (the third most expensive individual single component of an automobile), amongst others. Special fine-tuning of these components, though, with different electronic mapping and suspension spring and damping rates will ensure that the GT Coupe will provide a much sportier driving experience, as appropriate for the vehicle style. On a broader scheme, parts will also be shared with the equally front engined Cayenne. So expect all three models - Cayenne, Panamera and GT Coupe - to be offered with a range of normally aspirated and turbocharged V8 and V10 engines (the latter derived from the Carrera GT) in a range from 4 to 6 litres of displacement and producing from 300 to 650 hp. However, it is unlikely that the Cayenne’s all-wheel drive will be adopted for the Panamera and the GT Coupe. Traditional rear-wheel drive with weight distribution optimized rear-mounted transaxle-setup of the gearboxes/transmissions is expected, although Audi (A8), Volkswagen (Phaerton) and Bentley (Continental) can all provide customers with the superior traction of all-wheel drive.

Our exclusive spy pictures show the upcoming GT Coupe as a first top-secret test mule, under the skin of a late 928, with considerably wider suspension (note the flared wheel arches), stuffed with costly measurement gear and equipped with trick development technical gear: The prototype is equipped with externally mounted, oversize engine intake and exhaust mufflers, along with externally mounted radiators, which all serve to remove the usually inevitable, superimposed intake and exhaust noises, in order to allow to thoroughly research and hone the brand-new engine, transmission and suspension from the crucial noise, vibration and harshness point of view.

The photos are showing:

  • Photo 1 & 2: artist’s impression of upcoming Porsche Panamera

  • Photo 3: Panamera Testmule under skin of BMW 5series. The BB-license plate is registered by Porsche

  • Photo 4: this could become Porsche fifth model range GT – computer image

  • Photo 5: Porsche’s top secret test mule for a future GT model

SPY PHOTOS: Porsche Panamera and GT Coupe