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Porsche Adds V6 Engines to Panamera Sedans

Forced by fuel economy regulations to become more efficient.

by on Feb.18, 2010

Down-sized engines for an upsized Porsche.

Porsche Cars North America is adding two V6 models to its Panamera sedan line. The cars will debut globally at the Beijing Motor Show in April, and arrive at U.S. dealers this June.

The so-called entry-level sedans, Panamera and Panamera 4, are priced at $74,400 and $78,900, respectively. Porsche released no projected fuel economy figures.

It did boast, though, that these cars would be more fuel-efficient than the hyper-powered V8 models, the Panamera S, the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo – 400 to 500 horsepower sports sedans,  rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at 16 city and 24 highway; the turbo is 15/23.

A new Porsche V6 – and let me stress new as this is not the current Cayenne V6 -  should easily be able to best this number, even though the weight of the four- door sedan will be an efficiency issue.

Porsche life is luxurious - V6 or V8 power.

Such  fuel economy and relatively high CO2 emissions levels are largely, if not entirely irrelevant, of course, to buyers of high-powered German cars; and German makers have a long history of paying the fines incurred  – passed on to buyers –  when they violated U.S. fuel economy regulations. They all have done it for decades, while Congress looked the other way.

However, this loophole is currently under scrutiny by industry critics and pressure groups, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency work out final fuel economy rules – and the methodology used to calculate them – which will lead to a 35.5 mile per gallon average in 2016. Passenger cars will need to average 42 mpg under the proposed rules. (To say that the auto company lobbyists are working this hard behind the scenes in pay-for-play Washington, DC, is an understatement.)

Porsche says that no Panamera sedan will be subject to a gas-guzzler tax.  And we have no reason to doubt the storied engineering firm. Official U.S. EPA fuel economy figures will be announced closer to the on-sale date. Panamera will have the stop/start mode that the V8 models have, which shuts the engine off at idle, thereby increasing efficiency. Aside from Japanese hybrids,  I think this is the only application of this advanced, fuel saving technology on the U.S. market.

The four-door Panamera was the real news last fall at the Frankfurt Auto Show when it debuted. (Click here for that story.)  Panamera remains a real product bet in the depressed global economy. The car represents Porsche’s much debated, much delayed, fourth model line. A four-door was under consideration at Porsche more than two decades ago, but the conservative German maker eschewed a saloon and ultimately gambled on what became a successful investment in a truck – the Cayenne sport utility vehicle.