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Diesel may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Porsche, but in the European market - that vital one which Porsche calls home - diesels are indispensable. Particularly when you're trying to extend beyond niche sports cars and into the mainstream luxury sedan market as Zuffenhausen has with the Panamera. In fact, diesels account for 15 percent of Panamera sales worldwide (even though they're not offered Stateside), so to keep oil-burning customers happy, Porsche has announced a series of upgrades.
Set to be unveiled in the flesh at the fast-approaching Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Panamera Diesel packs 300 horsepower. That's 50 hp (or 20 percent) more than the model it replaces, significantly dropping the 0-62 sprint from 6.8 seconds to 6 flat, and raising top speed from 152 miles per Autobahn-crunching hour to 161. While they were at it, Porsche's engineers also fitted the rear differential with torque vectoring (previously reserved for gasoline-burning models) and retuned the transmission and suspension.
You can delve into the press release below for all the details - including the new model's improved towing capacity! - but the reality, for better or worse, is that the Panamera Diesel isn't offered here. So if you've been celebrating Labor Day (or even Labour Day, for our friends to the north) like we have, don't go looking for it at your local dealer, who will have only a Cayenne Diesel to show you instead.
When it comes to Porsche and its rapidly escalating endurance racing program, all eyes may be on the new 919 Hybrid - and with good reason: that's the vehicle with which Porsche will be challenging the likes of Audi and Toyota for wins in the top-tier LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans. But it's the 911 RSR that does and will continue to form the backbone of the factory's effort.
The 470-horsepower racing version of the road-going 911 took a one-two finish in its class at Le Mans last year, and also won its class at the Daytona 24 this past January as well. This year Porsche will field two of them in the WEC, another two in the United SportsCar Championship here in the US and will sell countless more to customer racing teams that will undoubtedly continue to rack up trophies in racing series around the world. This, then, might be a unique chance to see one standing still. Check it out in our gallery of live images above from the Geneva Motor Show.
According to research conducted by global information company IHS Automotive, the leporine birthing of new models by luxury manufacturers over the past six years hasn't increased their market share in the US. Even as car sales reached 15.6 million units, IHS says what's happened instead is that luxury buyers are merely moving from one brand to another, moving from larger luxury vehicles into hot segments like compact luxury crossovers or leaving the market at the same rate as other buyers enter.
Whether broken out by makes or by segment, market share has rollercoastered inside a narrow band from 10.5 to 11.5 percent since "at least" 2008. Closer investigation reveals the shifting boundaries in the aspirational pond, with brands like Mercedes-Benz and Audi gaining territory as Lexus and Lincoln lost it, and Saab and Hummer were buried, dead, under it. One neat note is that Tesla has gone from a share of zip to .12 percent.
The subcompact and compact crossover segments show growth, with those little high-riders jumping from .3 percent to 1.16 percent of overall industry sales. Their rise, though, is concomitant with the decline of four other segments: compact and midsize cars and fullsize cars and SUVs. We think the next few years that will tell if the small-car expansion can overcome the large-car retraction, with a phalanx of smaller offerings like the CLA only recently hitting the market and others like the GLA, Macan and Q1 doing so in the near future.