Porsche was sure to keep both ends of their stable’s spectrum in mind at this year’s LA Auto Show, introducing both the E-Hybrid and long-wheelbase “Executive” versions of their all-new 2017 Panamera grand tourer, as well as the all-new 911 RSR race car.
“The future of Porsche stands before us in the shape of the new Panamera,” said Detlev Von Platen, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. Whether or not you agree with that statement or think that any “face” of Porsche begins and ends with “911” is your call, but there’s no denying that the latest Panamera has grown by leaps and bounds in the styling department.
The long-wheelbase Executive version improves the styling even further as the added space between the axles – 5.9 inches – makes for an even better stance.
The arrival of the Executive also signals the arrival of the E-Hybrid version, which adds an electric motor to a twin-turbo V6 engine, good for 462 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. It can be had in either long- or short-wheelbase versions, both of which will stand out from the rest of the models in the Panamera line-up with bright yellow brake calipers and exterior accents.
Inside, the Executive version adds all sorts of creature comforts, including twin 10.1-inch displays mounted to the headrests, armrests with fold-out tables, and larger centre console.
At the other end of the Porsche spectrum stands the all-new 911 RSR race car, set to make its racing debut at the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona, looking exactly as it does in these photos. It’s based on the evolutionary 997.2 version of the venerable 911.
“It’s a better overall concept than ever,” said Marco Ujhasi, head of GT Works at Porsche, speaking of the basic 911 that underpins the RSR.
That’s not to say some heavy modifications haven’t been made; the engine, for example, has been moved so far forward it now sits ahead of the rear axle, effectively making this a mid-engined car. That allows for better balance, but more importantly, it allows for a larger rear diffuser and the better stability that presents.
Also helping with aerodynamics is a rear wing with a flat underbody, which adds more surface area and better airflow. It’s a concept borrowed from the higher-spec prototype racers that make up the upper echelons of sports car racing, and when restrictions are as tight as they are (the 500-hp maximum allowed by both the World Endurance Championship and Weather Tech World Series, for example) you’re looking for anything to gain an edge.
That’s the under-the-skin-stuff; on the surface, the latest version of Porsche’s massively successful race car somehow manages to look even more spectacular than it has previously.
The wide-body look, coupled with huge side sills, actually reminds one a little of the prototype version of the famous 959 supercar, while the sky-high rear wing and deep front splitter are futuristic takes on the classic GT race car mold. It’s spectacular, and we can’t wait to see it in action on track.