Porsche Top Secret: 989, a Panamera ahead of your time
Were in the 80’s, and the success of the Porsche 928 made Porsche considering the launch of another Great Tourism of high performance. Thus was born the project Porsche 989, which would be captained by none other than Ulrich Bez, chief engineer of the brand. At the same time, it was not the best economic times for Porsche, whose benefits had been seriously affected by an exchange rate dollar/frame unfavorable. The huge exposure to the american market, Porsche was the main reason of this crisis. One of the tasks of the Porsche 989 was to contribute to the sales of a brand that needed liquidity urgently.
A Panamera advance 25 years to his time
When the project started rolling at the end of the year, 1988 he had several clear objectives: the 989 was supposed to be the vehicle more comfortable and luxurious of the range, and at the same time not to lose the sporty character, beating the sports offerings from Mercedes, Audi and BMW. Objectives are apparently simple, in a segment then unknown to Porsche. If you think about it coldly, it is a Panamera at all levels, but too far ahead of its time. A vehicle that would have premiered in the niche of sedans, a sporty looking coupe, decades before Mercedes launched the CLS or Porsche Panamera.
Harm Lagaay was responsible for the design of the Porsche 989, which should have been released in the year 1995 as a maximum. The similarities in the general appearance of the body with the Panamera are interesting, although the 989 is more streamlined and harmonious, the sharing scheme of longitudinal-engine front. Porsche recognized recently that the design of the Panamera could have been better, perhaps should have been inspired by the 911, as this one did prototype unborn. Although fail to occur, the 993 took inspiration from the optical front of the 989 and his behind ended up almost unchanged on the Porsche 996.
With a length of nearly five meters, the Porsche 989 had four doors and was powered by an engine 4.2 V8 350 HP of power – clearing part of the rumor mill on this vehicle – moving the train back through a manual gearbox of six marches transaxle. Among the technical developments that have been pioneers in this sporting saloon, designed to crush the competition were a system of control of pressure of tires, a gearbox PDK double clutch – that Porsche had already used in competition – or a ceramic brake system optional.
In the interior of the vehicle, a dashboard of modern which had nothing to envy to that of the Porsche 996, quality finishes and luxury, exemplified in a few settings excellent and some sports seats in leather and Alcantara. A sound equipment of the highest level and adjustments electrical for all adjustable were considered basic elements. In addition, it would have the best boot in the history of a Porsche. tip speed of 279 km/h and a weight of 1.572 kg were the icing of a cake much more dynamic and advanced than any Motorsport, AMG or Quattro that the triumvirate of German would have been released.
But sometimes, dreams remain dreams.
What ended up with the Porsche 989?
A confluence of factors, which were summarized in a low profitability for the project. Dr. Ulrich Bez, stopped working in Porsche by the end of 1991, which made it lose force the project to begin with. The sales of the 928 collapsed in the early 90’s, putting doubts in the policy of Porsche on the large and expensive Gran Turismo. Finally, the strength of the German mark against the dollar would have led to Porsche a minor benefit in its exports, since it had to keep the price competitive in the u.s. market, the main objective in the traditionally market’s number one Porsche.
The technological complexity of the Porsche 989 was the last nail in his coffin. Initially, the goal was to sell the 989 for a price below the 100,000 mark, equivalent to a considerable to$ 60,000 of the time. A time in which for a little over$ 30,000, you could buy a Corvette ZR1. However, the costs of the development and the progress that had incorporated the 989 would have raised the price 50% more, up to the 150,000 mark. Even at that price, Porsche would have to sell 15,000 units annually just to cover costs. To the view that the numbers did not come, the policy of Porsche is not risked.
At the risk of sink a company too injured financially, the Porsche 989 was passed to the back of the Porsche. Motor Klassik photographed the only one prototype existing in the early 90’s. This prototype is the only one that still exists and the same that was presented to us just a few days ago in Stuttgart. Interestingly, for a few years, it was claimed that all had been destroyed. Like a dead man risen and situated next to a prototype of the Panamera – not a chance – he tells us this interesting story, which has resulted in the that is one of the sedans sport’s most successful market and a turning point for Porsche.
Porsche 989, a sports sedan which was never born