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Panamera laps Oz – now for the convertible

First lap: The Porsche Panamera sedan was launched in Australia with a 19,767km circumnavigation of the continent.

Porsche hints at Panamera ‘family’ as its first four-door completes Oz launch

13 Oct 2009

THE first official evidence that Porsche might develop an entire model family around the Panamera has emerged just as the Stuttgart supercar maker completes its Australian launch of the first Porsche sedan.

Although news of a coupe version of the four-door Panamera – which has just completed a 33-day, 19,767km round-Australia release tour – is not new, fresh comments by Porsche development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer have led to widespread speculation that a Panamera convertible will emerge based on the two-door hard-top.

“We have a broad range of 14 derivatives of the 911 that are very successful,” Mr Duerheimer told German publication Automobilwoche. “So it stands to reason we should diversify the line-up for the Panamera as well.”

The news tends to debunk earlier reports that Porsche’s new owner, Volkswagen, will not develop a second-generation Panamera, but the more expensive drop-top version is unlikely to appear before next year’s born-again 928 coupe.

Mr Duerheimer told GoAuto at the Panamera’s Shanghai show reveal in April that the newest Porsche’s G1 platform was also likely to be shared with future models to emerge from the Volkswagen Group.

25 center imageMeantime, Porsche Cars Australia last week completed its epic lap of the continent in two V8-powered (S and Turbo) Panameras, using 44 drivers, 4567 litres of fuel and a Cayenne Diesel back-up vehicle.

Designed to celebrate the local launch of Porsche’s first grand tourer, the journey began on September 1 before returning to PCA’s Melbourne HQ on October 3 – the Panamera’s official on-sale date in Australia.

Retracing some of the route taken by the first Porsche imported to Australia, a 356 Coupe that successfully completed the 1956 Redex Trial, the Right Round Down Under tour visited all 11 mainland Porsche dealerships and took eight seriously ill children for drives in the Panamera in conjunction with the Make a Wish foundation in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Alice Springs, Gold Coast and Sydney.

“Right Round Down Under has been as much about the journey and the people encountered along the way as it has about the new Panamera itself,” said PCA managing director Michael Winkler.

“While both cars proved their grand touring ability with the panache and performance expected of a Porsche, the journey was made much more enjoyable by the fascinating characters met on the tour.”

PCA said the Panamera S averaged fuel consumption of 10.9L/100km during the trip, while the Panamera Turbo returned 12.2L/100km. No mechanical issues or even tyre failures were recorded during the trip, on which the Panamera S consumed no oil, while the Panamera Turbo used 0.4 litres.

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