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Porsche wont admit it, but this Panamera Sport Turismo estate will go on sale in 2016 as a highly desirable alternative to the Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake and BMW 6-series Gran CoupeThe head-turning Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, which, officially at least, is still a concept. After all, why would Porsche build a road-going concept of a car it has regularly hinted at and revealed to the public if it hadnt already made a solid case for production?The Panamera Sport Turismo drips with desirability. It is truly handsome, boasting terrifically low, wide and squat proportions, with a long bonnet, tapered glasshouse and muscular haunches. The surfaces are tautly wrapped and full of intriguing feature lines to break up the visual bulk. At 4950mm long, 1990mm wide and 1401mm high, the concept is 20mm shorter, 60mm wider and 19mm lower than the existing four-door Panamera – dimensions expected to be retained for the production model. The wheels are 20-inch up front and 21-inch at the rear. It is, remember, a concept, after all…The exquisite detailing stands out: the elliptical headlights, the thrusting side design feature and the slim three-dimensional rear lights help to enhance the cars width. In a nod to the future, door mirrors have been replaced by cameras within the air ducts, with images projected into the outer edges of the instrument binnacle. The fully functioning concept also showcases a new plug-in hybrid drive system, dubbed e-hybrid. It uses a more powerful version of the existing Panamera Hybrids brushless synchronous electric motor, mounted within the forward section of the gearbox housing and delivering 94bhp. It is supported by the same supercharged 328bhp 3. 0-litre V6 petrol engine used today. Together, the electric motor and petrol engine provide the big estate with a combined output of 410bhp –sufficient to propel it from 0-62mph in less than a claimed six seconds, while providing combined fuel consumption of better than 80. 7mpg and CO2 emissions below 82g/km. A 9. 4kWh lithium ion battery mounted low in the boot floor replaces the nickel-hydride unit in the current Panamera Hybrid, and features plug-in compatibility. Porsche claims an all-electric range of 18. 6 miles at up to 81mph – values that are likely to be reflected on a facelifted version of the existing Panamera. It will be the first to adopt the new driveline. No wild pipe dream, then, but a genuine production-based driveline. Theres a contemporary look to the cabin and inviting, iPad-like simplicity to the dashboard and centre console – both of which mimic the look of the 918 Spyder. There is little to complain about in the cabin of the existing Panamera, but its controls are dauntingly cluttered around the driver. The Sport Turismo showcases a simpler touchscreen system tipped to feature on future models. The layout gives an organised feel from behind the beautifully proportioned steering wheel, while leather and aluminium trims provide an upmarket ambience. Accommodation up front feels little changed from todays Panamera. The rear is a bit more cramped because of the concepts pair of large individual seats, while more cargo capacity is afforded by the more upright rear end. Porsche wont yet reveal figures but theres likely to be at least 500 litres – a 55-litre improvement on the liftback.
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