The Porsche Panamera sporty sedan offers a dynamic drive and comfortable ride, with the capability to accommodate up to four occupants. While the Porsche Panamera is a healthy proposition for North American drivers who wanted a performance-laden sedan, it does discourage potential customers looking for a sedan that could to ferry up to five occupants at a time.
Now Porsche is looking forward to win back those customers in the United States. Klaus Zellmer, chief executive of Porsche Cars North America, told Automotive News at the Frankfurt Motor Show that the German sports car maker is making available an optional rear bench. With this option, the Porsche Panamera sedan could accommodate five occupants, instead of the usual four. However, the bench option would be made available next year, so for now, Panamera sedan customers would have to settle for the four-seater.
As designed, the Porsche Panamera sedan carries two occupants on the front (driver and front passenger) and another two on the rear cabin (individually seated rear passengers). The individual seats on the front are separated by a center console, and so are the individual seats on the rear. This basically rules out the existence of a fifth passenger in the Panamera sedan.
For US customers seeking to fit five people into a Panamera, but couldn’t wait until next year, they could opt for the Sport Turismo wagon version. The Panamera Sport Turismo is a 4+1 wagon that offers dual buckets on the rear cabin, but could be specified with a rear bench with 40:20:40 split. Depending on the configuration chosen, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo could accommodate up to five people. Unveiled at the 2017 New York Auto Show, the long-roofed Panamera offers a bigger trunk than the sedan. Since the rear bench can be folded down, the cargo space could dramatically increase.
As to how well the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo is being received by customers in the US, Zellmer disclosed that the long-roofed wagon is off to a hot start. Even though Porsche considers the Panamera Sport Turismo as a niche in a niche, the wagon still managed to grab around 10 percent of the total orders for the Panamera in the US. Porsche executives had expected the Sport Turismo variant to account for between five percent and 10 percent of Panamera sales in the US. Zellmer is hoping that the Sport Turismo mix would stay at 10 percent in the US.
Porsche will commence US deliveries of the Sport Turismo in the first quarter of 2018. The German sports car maker saw US sales of the Panamera surge 36 percent in the first eight months of 2017 to 4,068 units. In 2016, US sales of the Panamera were pegged at 4,403 units.