By   August 13, 2016

Porsche Panamera

Porsche Panamera

Many Porsche enthusiasts were very disappointed when the news was first announced that the German performance car maker would be building a SUV. After all the crest was meant for a sports car and that does not describe any vehicle with four doors, especially an SUV.

To make matters worse for these purists it didn’t stop at the Cayenne. No, the Panamera was next and most recently the Macan. All three offer great levels of performance and incredible engineering, but are they true Porsches?

Until the Cayenne was produced, no production models were built with four doors. Even the military targeted Jagdwagen didn’t have four-doors (in fact it had none), but it had openings that were consistent with a two-door vehicle.

Porsche 924 Four-Door Concept

That isn’t to say that Porsche had not toyed with the idea of a four-door car in the past. A factory concept of a Porsche 928 four-door vehicle was built and reports are that one finished car was sold. The car, pictured above, was on display about five years ago at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

A custom built 4-door 911 was also made in 1967, but the project was not factory backed. It was produced by Troutman-Barnes for a Porsche dealer that wanted the 911 sedan for his wife.

Especially the 928 sedan shows that Porsche was contemplating a performance sedan since the ’80s. But should they have just left two of those doors as a concept and nothing more?

From a sales stand point the answer is, NO. Sales of the four-door vehicles are much higher than the two-door sports cars. For those of us who enjoy the 911, Cayman and Boxster, the sales of the Cayenne, Panamera and Macan help support improvements in the two-door models we love.

Having experienced the four-door cars on the road and track, we can say they are incredible drives. They seem to defy the laws of physics with how capable they are. It should be impossible, but they are able to keep up with many pure sports cars. However, they are a different bread than the two-door vehicles made by Porsche. While still offering very good performance they are also more utilitarian.

Perhaps we should rephrase the question a bit. Should Porsche have produced the four-door vehicles as Porsches or should they have started a new luxury performance brand for these vehicles?

Are people purchasing the Cayenne, Panamera and Macan because of the badge, or is it because they are incredible machines? Would having them under a different name hurt sales or would they have stayed the same?

We want to hear your thoughts on if Porsche should have ever made a production four-door vehicle (at least under the same marquee) in the comments below.

  • Barnell

    This one hit a little too close to home as I drive and love my Panamera. It may have 4 doors, but it is all Porsche!

  • Lisa

    I’m with Barnell. I have a Porsche turbo but if I was given a Panamera,I wouldn’t hesitate to take it. I believe people are buying the SUV and Panamera because there incredible machines!

  • LUIZ Berwanger

    SUV market is exploding and will surpass the conventional “sedan” cars. Porsche had a vision long ago and now it is a TOP supplier mainly because of the badge but buyers know what they are buying: status, excellent design, quality, low maintenance ( yes, each time is a little bit expensive but it lasts) and above all, top performance across the board. There is no substitute!

  • Bob

    You don’t get to decide what a “real” Porsche is. If it’s designed, engineered and manufactured by a certain company, that makes it “real.” You just alienated the Cayenne, Panamera and Macan owners and other potential site visitors.

    Instead, you should have just stated your opinion or position that you don’t believe Porsche should have ever made a four-door, and why.

    By the way, GM nor Toyota (Saturn and Scion) were able to keep sub brands afloat, what makes you think Porsche – still an independent company at that point – was going to be able to afford a sub brand (and the new dealer network) with less than 25,000 cars sales in North America?

    This is just click bait on a subject that has been dead for over 10 years.

  • David Hurth

    As the Editor in Chief of this site I feel I need to comment on this post. I let what Jim wrote go through to get discussion going, but was already somewhat worried about it offending many of our readers.

    I want to say that I personally have enjoyed the 4-door cars and have been thinking about a Cayenne as a family car for a little while now. I think Bob also makes a good point that Porsche was not in the position to start a sub brand at the time of the Cayenne and Panamera.

    As a 911, Boxster and Cayman fan, I appreciate the Macan, Cayenne and Panamera for what they are. Great vehicles that also help support Porsches traditional sports cars.

    • Bob

      Hi David, thank you for the background on the post. It’s just a tired story from people that position themselves as experts, but should know better.

      In reality, they are just fans seemingly still annoyed that Porsches are more accessible than ever to people deemed “not worthy.”

      What difference does it make as to why someone buys something, unless you’re an elitist and want the “inner circle club” to remain small?

      Let me ask this this of Jim –

      Would the automotive enthusiast world be a better place if Porsche “stuck” to two door sports cars only, and then went out of business (or sold to a company that didn’t care about their history) “on principle” when the economy went south yet again?

      Or, better to “sell out” and engineer (they are an engineering company after all) best in class four door cars that people want to buy, even when sports cars aren’t selling, and then afford factory race teams that compete, and win, in the highest levels of sports car racing?

      There is no shortage of material where one can be critical of Porsche, but creating cars people want to buy in good times and bad isn’t one of them.