Shortly before it was released, the Panamera could certainly have been considered a gamble by Porsche. While it is true that their SUV experiment conducted a few years earlier – with the Cayenne – was an overall success, further diluting its lineup with another 4-door vehicle seemed like a questionable move by the company best known and revered for its relatively diminutive sports cars.
Fast forward 10 years and over 235,000 sales later, and it appears the risk has been duly rewarded. The Panamera has undergone a variety of changes over the years to address a modern marketplace with rapidly shifting demands and tastes. There must be huge credit given to Porsche’s fleet-footedness in responding to change, as this is certainly what has allowed a niche car within a high-end brand to not only survive, but thrive.
Further fueling the initial precariousness of this move, were the failures of previous saloon prototypes such as the 989. Adding to that even more, was the reveal of Panamera prototype – with its design eerily similar to its failed predecessor.
With parent company VW involved in the design process, the car was prioritized to be utilitarian in nature. This presented challenges in providing the Panamera with the sleek and sporty design that Porsche executives and customers alike would have likely preferred at the time.
However, the idea of the Panamera really took flight with both Porsche’s existing and future customer base. It provided an alternative to buyers who wanted something more sporty (and less soccer-mom-ish) than an SUV, but more useful than the 2-door sports car – the only other choices offered by Porsche at the time.
Porsche was really on the ball in ensuring that its option and trim list was diverse enough to encompass a broad spectrum of customers, which included performance-junkies, luxury/executive aficionados, and everything in between.
As times changed, the Panamera continued to evolve. The 2012 Sport Turismo provided the first major styling change, offering a wagon version of the car. 5 years later, the Turbo S e-Hybrid would boast the latest and greatest of Porsche hybrid technology, sharing many of its characteristics with the hybrid 918 Spyder halo car.
It will be very interesting to see how the Panamera’s journey continues – will its evolution be ongoing, or does the eventual release of other Porsche models like the Taycan, signal an abrupt change of course?