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Auto blogWed, 19 Nov 2014
Porsche is usually associated with being a sports car brand, but with vehicles like the Cayenne and Panamera it takes a step into the world of luxury against firmly established players like Mercedes-Benz. One way for the company to poke its head above the high-class fray is by taking things further, and in the case of the Panamera Exclusive Series at the Los Angeles Auto Show, it means pushing grandeur to extreme levels.
Coming in at an absolutely eye-watering $263,900, plus $995 destination, the Panamera Exclusive starts its life as the already sumptuous Panamera Turbo S Executive with a 4.8-liter, twin-turbo V8 making 570 horsepower on an extended wheelbase. To help justify the extra $63,000 for the Exclusive, though, the model gets 20-inch black Sport Classic wheels and an interior in swaddled in Nappa leather with dark walnut and piano black trim. Rear passengers also get 10.1-inch touchscreens mounted on the back of the front seats. A set of fitted Poltrana Frau leather luggage is included with each one, as well.
The luxurious sedan earns it Exclusive moniker because just 100 of them are being made worldwide. Scroll down to read about Porsche's ultimate limousine.
After months of teasing with camouflaged testers, Porsche has finally unveiled its prototype entry for the 2014 World Endurance Championship, the 919 Hybrid. Porsche, you may recall, hasn't had campaigned a factory team at Le Mans in years, so the 919 is nothing less than their recommitment to endurance racing.
Combining a 2.0-liter V4 (yes, a V4) that revs to 9,000 rpm, the 919 produces around 500 horsepower with a pair of energy recovery systems. The first system recovers the heat energy from exhaust gasses as they pass through an electrical generator, while the second system is a bit more familiar. Using a setup similar to what is found on the production 918 Spyder, a generator on the front axle recovers kinetic energy from the brakes, which is subsequently stored in a battery system. That power can then be sent to the front wheels at the driver's command, effectively turning the 919 into an all-wheel-drive racecar.
Despite these various forms of motivation, Porsche doesn't claim to be seeking outright power supremacy, with Chairman Matthias Müller saying, "In 2014, it will not be the fastest car that wins the World Endurance Championship series and the 24 hours of Le Mans, rather it will be the car that goes the furthest with a defined amount of energy. And it is precisely this challenge that carmakers must overcome. The 919 Hybrid is our fastest mobile research laboratory and the most complex race car that Porsche has ever built."
Seeing pictures of Italian supercars burst into flames by the side of the road, as our compatriots at Axis of Oversteer point out, has become something of a usual sight. But a Porsche? Surely those meticulous German engineers have got that taken care of, right?
Not necessarily. Reports coming in from Europe indicate that no fewer than five 911 GT3 coupes have "spontaneously combusted" in the past few weeks, prompting Porsche to launch an investigation. In the meantime, they've reportedly ceased deliveries of the new GT3 while they try to determine what the problem is and work to rectify it.
We wouldn't be surprised to see a recall issued once the problem is resolved, but for now, we'd encourage existing owners to be extra vigilant behind the wheel - or better yet, leave their cars in the garage for the time being. You wouldn't want to drive a 475-horsepower rear-drive sports car through a Polar Vortex, anyway, right?