By on September 26, 2012

When TTAC’s reliability scribe Michael Karesh bought a used Taurus X a few years ago, he was able to get it as a nearly-new car for about half of the original retail price. It’s not hard to understand why; the Taurus X, which combined the high “hip point” from the vaguely-Volvo-based Ford Five Hundred with a rather humpbacked wagon profile, was showroom poison and widely derided by automotive journalists who were in the full flush of an industry-loved love affair with “crossovers”.

Those same journos are now competing to pile the greatest number of accolades on the “Panamera Sport Turismo” concept, presumably because there are going to be some awesome European press trips involved for the writers who can generate the most suction, er, traction on the topic.

As Porsche struggles mightily to fill up every possible market niche except that of “affordable sports car”, it’s putting the Cayenne/Panamera platform to the test. While the “Sport Turismo” is certainly a visual improvement on the hopelessly dumpy PanArabia Sportisch Sedan, it’s probably an answer to a question nobody in particular has asked. The brand’s apologists will cite Ferry Porsche’s one-off 928 Shooting Brake as “heritage”, but

  • that was directly based on a 928, not a vague evolution of the Touareg
  • it wasn’t a monstrous sedan which was developed at the same time as the company was claiming it couldn’t develop a proper small Porsche

Some sort of lip service is being paid to the Greens in Europe by the announcement that this new wagon is also a plug-in hybrid. This is important for that under-served market of German plutocrats who can drop $125K on a maintenance-intensive bauble-sedan but can’t afford to put gasoline in it. Look for Chris Harris, whose journalistic integrity regarding Ferrari and other supercar makers seems to have a Stuttgart-shaped blind spot, to pronounce it the “most mega plug-in hybrid luxury sedan in history” or something similar.

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40 Comments on “The Taurus X Is A Really Cool Idea Now That Porsche’s Copied It...”


  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    Man… is anyone else picking up on the amount of disdain for Porsche that this article is publicizing? Good… it’s about time that someone publically points out the lunacy that German and Italian automakers are pumping out these days.

    I feel like makers like Porsche and Ferrari leverage thier brand image to produce (and subsequently sell) vehicle ideas that flopped when attempted by other manuafacturers. I guess its one of those “If its got the badge, I don’t care what it looks like.” type of situations.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, Porsche et.al. should team up with French Haute Couture brands. I foresee true synergy effects. Karl Lagerfeld might teach them one or two things regarding taste. No engineering required.

    • 0 avatar
      L'avventura

      I don’t think TTAC is the first to express disdain for Porsche’s automotive direction. The Cayenne, Panamera, and upcoming “Cajun” mini-SUV has been met with quite a bit of distaste.

    • 0 avatar
      tatracitroensaab

      I for one kind of like the idea of a Panamera wagon and I’m slightly suprised more car guys dont like it. Car guys like Porsches, car guys like wagons, so shouldn’t car guys like Porsche wagons?

      I also have a soft spot for the Panamera sedan because it almost takes things full circle. I’ve always appreciated Porsche and VW because they were basically both created using ideas stolen from Tatra, so a Porsche sedan takes things back…. if it was rear engined.

      Don’t lie to yourself, a rear engine Panamera would probably be the most authentic and honest thing that Porsche could ever do :)

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I would buy a rear engined Panamera sight unseen, any day. Get the darned weight off the front, so you can finally enjoy genuine steering feel in a 4-5 door. Anywhere other than 150mph Autobahn venues, it would be a winner. Heck, it might even teach people to park by backing in, to get make their luggage compartment more easily accessible.

        And even the actual Panamera is quite a nice car, whose main problem is the transmission in day to day driving. It screasm out for a manual; even more so than the sports cars do, in my honest opinion, since the small loss of outright pace is of no consequence in a Sedan, while the gain in smoothness from having the same brain controlling the tranny and throttle is doubly important when ferrying passengers.

        BUT, this thing is based on that abomination called the Tuareg. And that thing sure ain’t no Panamera, either in imaginary rear engined, or actual front engined, form.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    This reminds me a bit of my old Malibu Maxx. A brilliant concept that Chevy couldn’t properly execute. Then Toyota copies it as the Venza and does it right.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      The Malibu Maxx was a great idea poorly executed along the same lines as the ‘Taurus X’, which had previously been nominclated and sold better as the ‘Freestyle’. Not sure where this marketing scheme came from, but I can assume it was the board that couldn’t stomach the anathema of selling a Malibu or Taurus ‘Wagon’. Using words like ‘Maxx’ and ‘X’ makes it sound ‘hip’ and ‘cool’.

      The Simpsons: Aren’t words like ‘paradigm’ and ‘pro-active’ just words that stupid people use to sound smart? Can really apply here.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If a car is ugly, it doesn’t matter how good of an idea it is. Venza definitely wasn’t a new idea, but it is pretty damn attractive, compared to the Maxx & X

  • avatar
    slance66

    Definitely better looking than the Panamera. I like the 928-esque rear view. Pointless of course, but that’s nothing new.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Having just returned from visiting some of the wealthier parts of California, I now have seen some of these beasts in the wild (there’s one that’s parked in my office garage all of the time). I have to say their appearance driving around is truly grotesque, as though it were modeled on a frog which someone at one . . . leaving only the frog lips in front and the big haunches behind.

    If I had this amount of money to spend on a car, just about anything else at the price would look better.

  • avatar

    Damning with faint praise or not, I’d agree with slance66 that definitely improves the looks of the Panamera. That normal faux-911 booty just doesn’t work in grande scale. Having said that…Jack’s point of “who’s asking for one?” is well-made.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Is that brilliant automotive journalist, Peter Robinson, who declared the Toybaru FRS/FT86/BRZ (0-60 in 8.1 seconds, does the 1/4 mile in the 16s) superior to the Porsche Cayman going to be reviewing this extra long, station wagon Porsche?

    I’d really like to get his thoughts on how this Porsche compares to the very dis-similar Toybaru FRS/FT86/BRZ.

    By the way, there’s a lot of whisper rumor that Porsche is unveiling a minivan, code name “Raptor,” in 2013.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    Haters will hate, apparently. I think this thing actually looks pretty comely and should appeal to the well-heeled family man looking for something more exciting than an M5 but stopping short of going full Quattroporte. For all of the vitriol directed towards the Panamera’s exterior (some of which should have been reserved for the interior IMO), I can’t recall much criticized about the way it drove. Quite the opposite, in fact.

  • avatar
    geo

    I seem to remember the press being easier on the Pacifica than the Freestyle, as if it really were a Mercedes knockoff. I do remember hearing how gutless the drive train was in the Freestyle, while you could get a Pacifica with a beefy 3.5. And there was a lot of confusion over the “Freestar vs Freestyle” names… nobody knew which was which. Every marketing person involved with the harebrained “F” marketing scheme should have been fired immediately. Instead, they got to continue with the Lincoln names

    Anyhow, by the time Ford got around to the proper drive train, it didn’t matter to the press or to buyers. They had both moved on.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      Ford are still kind of at it with that.

      Fiesta –>Focus –>Fusion
      Escape –>Edge –>Explorer

      I wonder if that was intentional or purely coincidental.

    • 0 avatar
      cdakost

      My first car was a 06 Ford Freestyle. It was actually really good. You weren’t going to set records with the power train but it was enough to get me through a mostly straight, 3 mile gravel rally stage at an average of 84 mph. The car was a great long distance cruiser. It was very comfortable and I averaged 32 mpg driving from Minnesota to Connecticut.
      Personally though, I don’t think that Porsche ripped Ford off at all. I’m struggling to find any similarities between the two.

  • avatar
    -Cole-

    At least it’s not another GranTurismo, I thank them for that

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I rather like it – looks worlds better than the regular Panamera, and would be more practical as well. But what do I know, I actually bought and drive a sporting station wagon.

    Porsche makes entry-level, affordable, sports cars – they are called USED Porsches. I just bought a perfectly lovely ’87 924S for $5K. Doesn’t get much more affordable than that! Cheap insurance, and since it is 25 years old I get to skip our annual inspection.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    What? So instead of offering us another version of the 911 with woven carbon-monofilament seat shells, a fixed rear wing, and alcantara A-pillars for twice the price of a base car – unless you want the uber-brakes or the unicorn-foreskin shift knob appliqué, which are extra – they’ve decided to enter another market, and this upsets everyone?
    Whatever you may think of Porsche, its purpose, or the styling of the cars they make, you have to admit that they know how to make all their cars quite rewarding to drive. I don’t need or want an SUV, but if I did, it’d be a Porsche. I don’t need or want a large, AWD sedan, but if I did, it’d be a Porsche. These vehicles ought to exist because they’re different from what everyone else offers, and we ought to be glad of it.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Oh man, this x1000. The “rewarding to drive” part is probably true for everyone except the 1% hardcore enthusiasts. Some of these 1% don’t even have the cash for the car anyway. Brand purists need to get a life. Has anyone considered the fact that – just maybe – there is a demand for cars like this? If so, should Porsche and other manufacturers just sit and twiddle their damn thumbs and let a market opportunity whiz by because building such a car isn’t “part of their heritage”?

      If one truly hates the idea of this car, giving free publicity for Porsche on the internet is certainly the wrong way to go about shutting the whole thing down.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Can’t say I see even the slightest bit of Taurus X, or the justification for comparison. Decent, frumpy station wagon deemed marginally irrelevant by the Freestar and Explorer (and, as I recall, met with little more than a resounding Meh from the automotive press) somehow has anything in common with a slightly defrumped executive rocket? May as well call the press out for not caring about the last generation Kia Optima if they praise the Audi A6.

    Of course, I’ll admit to being hypothetically interested in this – if Porsche is going for a cynical cash grab, better it’s a car than an SUV.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    How did the Taurus X invent the station wagon?

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    I like it.
    I will, however, wait for the more affordable/inevitable versions produced under the Audi or VW brands.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Sorry Jack – I disagree.

    This is actually the only Porsche non-sports car product that makes any kind of sense – particularly in the European market where wagon versions of the RS6, M5 and E63 AMG are more sought after than their sedan counterparts.

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    Interesting how in using the design language from the 991 on the rear end of the car, they made the hatch look kind of lumpy to incorporate the new style taillights.

    On paper, it should be the enthusiasts’ dream come true, especially if they decide to make the diesel engine an option. As a Porsche, well, it’s a bit weird.

  • avatar
    spinjack

    Sheesh. Ask for a high performance wagon and then complain when you get it.

    It looks much better than the regular Panamera and, in general terms, looks very nice.

    Should it be build by Porsche? Maybe it should be an Audi R8 Turismo.

  • avatar

    anyway else feel like this is in response to the ferrari FF? sure, it has four doors, but porsche is working with what they have available as well, and pumping this out on the panamera platform would mean significantly lower development costs than R&D’ing a 2 door.
    either way, just another ‘filler’ porsche. sure would be nice to see that much talked about entry level sports car…

  • avatar
    niky

    I do recall Harris mentioning at one point how he preferred the 430 over the GT3, but perhaps the fact that he’s a serial Porsche owner does point to… something?

    This car is 1,000,000 times better than the Panamera, because it doesn’t have that god-awful ass. Whether they need another four/five door is debatable. Give us a two door Panamera, a 928 homage, and maybe that will work. Three different five doors in the same price range? That’s just wrong.

    And yet they’ll probably sell scads of them.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Next up: The Porsche Pickup Truck, followed by the Porsche Motorscooter, Porsche Airstream Trailer and the Porsche Winnebago Motorhome! Yay for Porsche! Keep diluting your brand name! (sound of Ferdinand Porsche turning in his grave).

  • avatar
    ZekeToronto

    It’s a supersized A3 sportback … what’s not to like? Better this than yet another pricey 4-door coupé.

  • avatar
    sfbiker

    I remember once reading a review of a Suzuki X90 that called it “the wrong answer to a stupid question no one asked.” There have been other vehicles I thought fit that description as well — the Aztek leaps immediately to mind — but now here’s another.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    This is what the Panamera should have looked like ALL ALONG.

    Who wants to bet that this was a Panamera design direction that lost out to the “purist” 911 butt, but which was picked up off the cutting-room floor for this thing?

  • avatar
    Zammy

    Oh, yay, a Porsche Pacifica!


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