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.