2016 Porsche Panamera To Share Architecture With Bentley Continental

Just the Facts:
  • The 2016 Porsche Panamera will share its body architecture with the third iteration of Bentley's Continental family, Edmunds has learned.
  • The 2016 Porsche Panamera will use a special version of Volkswagen Group's front-engine, rear-wheel-drive MSB platform.
  • The future Panamera will remain true to the current car's package concept.

LONDON — The 2016 Porsche Panamera will share its body architecture with the third iteration of Bentley's Continental family, by using a special version of the Volkswagen Group's front-engine, rear-wheel-drive MSB platform, Edmunds has learned.

The two marques have argued for their own variation of this core body structure that will differ from Audi's upscale sedans because of their differing dynamic requirements, say Porsche insiders. A key feature of both the Panamera and the Continental is a drivetrain mounted close to the front bulkhead and well within the car's wheelbase, an essential for well-balanced high-speed handling.

The powertrain in the Audi A8, by contrast, is mounted well forward. The new MSB platform will allow for these variations.

This platform structure will feature a mix of aluminum and high-strength steels in its construction — aluminum for lightness and steel for certain parts of the crash structure, this hybrid materials approach forced by more demanding crash regulations.

Porsche is aiming for a modest weight reduction over the current, freshly face-lifted Panamera, but is not expecting a significant decrease because the new car is much the same size.

The next Panamera will also remain true to the current car's packaging concept, in which four low-mounted seats flank a central spine running through the cockpit.

The low seating position lowers the car's center of gravity, to the benefit of handling, and provides a more sports car-like experience for the occupants. The Panamera is the only luxury sedan to provide this packaging, which will remain an essential element of the car's character.

Porsche is keen to maintain the recipe for the Panamera because the car has been a bigger success for the sports car brand than expected — over 100,000 have been sold in the four years since its 2009 launch, around 25 percent more than the company had originally expected. The massively expanding Chinese market is a significant factor here, this market now a bigger buyer of Panameras than the U.S.

The new car will share more electronic components and sub-systems with other VW models, Porsche benefiting from the research and development and buying power that this vast automobile group enjoys, but the look and feel of the car will remain custom.

Today's unusually wide range of powertrains will continue to be offered, from V6 gasoline engines to diesels, V8s and the plug-in hybrid drivetrain. However, rather than the current supercharged Audi V6 engine, the next hybrid will use Porsche's newly introduced in-house turbocharged V6.

The weight of the hybrid is expected to usefully reduce too, Porsche forecasting a 15 percent improvement in the energy density of lithium-ion batteries every three years, which should see this version shedding around 90 pounds from its battery pack alone. The current Panamera Hybrid weighs a hefty 4,609 pounds, substantially more than the 3,982 pounds of the similarly powerful biturbo 3.0-liter V6 Panamera S.

Edmunds says: Porsche appears to be maintaining its core engineering independence within the VW group, and plans an incrementally improved Panamera rather than radical changes for the second generation of this successful model.