|Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo Concept|
Ten years ago, the idea of Porsche making a family estate would've been universally slated, especially a hybrid one, which this concept car is. However, now that a change of the times has occurred and they're allowed to make such a thing, I don't mind. Because it looks fantastic.
As if it matters, this concept car is powered by a developed version of the "S Hybrid" system used in the Cayenne and current Panamera, utilising a 70kW (~95bhp) electric motor - double the capacity of current Porsche hybrids - and a 3.0 V6 Turbo making 333bhp. Together they make 428bhp and a 0-60 time below five seconds. Oh, and over 67mpg with just 82g/km of CO2. In all-electric mode, it can reach 81mph and has a range of 30km (18.6 miles), although probably not at the same time. Still, that would've been enough to get me from college and back without sipping a drop of petrol, leaving the tank full for fun time on a Sunday morning! And being a Porsche, it won't be too shabby on that front - while road testers have been just as divided by the looks as everyone else, they agree that its speed, handling and ability to eat up miles are commendable, perhaps even class-leading, and the interior's apparently great too. Adding family practicality and a prettier rear end to that package is no bad thing in my book.
But what's happening here? Is the automotive world really getting excited over sports car and motor racing legends Porsche making a hybrid family car? Well, there are a few mitigating factors here. One, it looks awesome, and aside from gaining door mirrors and losing the trick headlights, I don't see any reason why this shape shouldn't make production (perhaps in parallel with a facelifted Panamera using the ST Concept's nose). Two, it's not exactly going to cost the same as a Ford Mondeo, or be pitched at the same people. Three: If you look at it the other way round, we'll be getting a practical estate car (with non-hybrid versions as well) with Porsche power and expertise. The last time that happened, we got the Audi RS2, and that set a trend for super-estates that's still going strong 18 years later. Here's hoping that this time, people will be persuaded out of premium super-SUVs that never go off-road and into five-door supercars. Because that is a market we really want to see explode into popularity. Well, I do anyway, especially if it filters down into smaller and cheaper models in the same way that demand for SUVs has given us small cheap crossovers like the BMW X1, Audi Q3 and Not-A-Mini Countryman. The Subaru Impreza estate could be back with a vengeance! We could have an Audi S1 Shooting Brake! The Reliant Scimitar GTE would become wildly popular and potentially appear on Wheeler Dealers! Alas, one can only dream of such things for now...