Reborn Porsche 928 is fronting up!

23 Oct, 2009 6:48pm Jack Rix

Front-engined 2+2 set to slot in above 911, Based on Panamera, with hybrid on the way

Get ready for a blast from Porsche’s past! The German firm is developing a luxurious, front-engined grand tourer – a spiritual successor to the 928 built between 1977 and 1995. The ‘new 928’ will be a fifth model line, and is designed to sit above the sportier 911 in the range.

With the compact Boxster and Cayman, the 911, the Cayenne SUV and four-door Panamera, Porsche would appear to have most bases covered. But it’s notable for its absence in the front-engined GT segment. The newcomer will allow the brand to take on rivals such as the Ferrari 599 GTB, Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin DB9. And our exclusive pictures show exactly why the curvy, Panamera-based coupé is set to stun the competition.

Essentially it’s a two-door, short-wheelbase version of the Panamera, which will help to spread the £1.1billion development costs of that model. Its front-engined layout has a number of inherent benefits, too.

A rear-engined 911 has barely more than 100 litres of luggage space, but a similarly sized GT with its motor up front would offer a useful 320 litres – a vital attribute if the new 928 is to be taken seriously as a grand tourer.

While the nose is virtually identical to the Panamera, the shortened wheelbase and 2+2 layout mean the 928 features far smoother lines at the back. One of the major criticisms levelled at the four-door Panamera was its bloated rear, but this model’s muscular haunches and neater proportions should attract a new wave of style-conscious customers.

As you’d expect from Porsche, though, driver appeal remains a top priority. The engine line-up will mirror that of the Panamera, so a 4.8-litre V8, with or without a turbocharger, producing 500bhp or 400bhp, will be available. The naturally aspirated variant is set to come with four or rear-wheel drive, while the range-topping turbo model will be 4WD only.

Thirsty V8s aren’t the only power units on the agenda. The Cayenne SUV hybrid is ready to go on sale next year, with a petrol-electric version of the Panamera following closely behind. As the new 928 shares the latter’s platform, it’s sure to get the hybrid drivetrain, too.

An Audi S4-sourced 369bhp 3.0-litre supercharged V6, coupled to a 38kW electric motor, will give the hybrid 928 fuel economy that breaks the 30mpg barrier. That will make it the most frugal petrol-powered Porsche ever, while still providing hair-raising performance.

The 928 will slot into Porsche’s pricing line-up somewhere between the 911 and Panamera. The four-door ranges from £70,000-£95,000, while the 911 starts a little lower, at just over £60,000, but stretches to £128,000 for the GT2.

With this is mind, expect the 928 to be pitched between £65,000 and £90,000 – enough to safely undercut its Ferrari and Aston rivals when it goes on sale in 2012.