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The misinformation first started back in May of 2007 - more than six years ago - when word came that Porsche was developing a compact utility vehicle to fill out its product line. Rumors swirled that the German automaker's future "Roxster" would be based on the then-upcoming Audi Q5. By September of 2010, the name had changed to "Cajun," but the vehicle was still expected to be "based heavily on the Audi Q5," said reports in the months that followed. One year later, the first test mules were spotted, the mechanics hidden beneath barely disguised Audi sheetmetal, which did nothing to give the upcoming model its own identity. And even after Porsche announced "Macan" as the vehicle's production name in early 2012, articles stated that it would "arrive on the same chassis as the Audi Q5, though with suspension, brake and engine tweaks suitable to the Porsche range."
It's no wonder that most still consider the all-new Porsche Macan nothing more than a heavily massaged Q5.
To help lift some of the mystery surrounding its latest release, Porsche hosted us in Germany for an in-depth look at its new crossover (while Europeans call it a "sport utility," its car platform allows us to call it a proper CUV). The technology workshop offered us insight to the design and mechanical execution, and it concluded with a short test ride. The trip was both enlightening and educational - and it left us with a whole new perspective on the Macan.
The entire Porsche Panamera lineup gets a refresh for the 2014 model year, and new additions to the range include two long-wheelbase models and this E-Hybrid fuel-sipper that makes its debut here at the Shanghai Motor Show. And, well, we say "fuel-sipper lightly."
Porsche has packed its hybrid Panamera with 416 horsepower and 435 pound-feet of torque, and that certainly makes for one quick sedan-hatchback-thing. Hitting 60 miles per hour will reportedly take just 5.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 167 mph. And while Porsche hasn't revealed specific powertrain details, the company says that the S E-Hybrid "improves upon the concept offered by the previous Panamera S Hybrid with a more powerful electric motor," which leads us to believe that the supercharged 3.0-liter V6 engine at the heart of it all still remains intact.
Fuel economy numbers (or estimates) have not been released as of this writing, but we expect to have that information closer to the car's on-sale date later this year. As for the new battery system, Porsche says that when plugged into a 240-volt charging station, it can be fully charged in just two and a half hours. When topped off, the Panamera S E-Hybrid should have an electric driving range of around 20 miles at speeds up to 84 mph, though, obviously, not at the same time.
Porsche is best known for building very well-regarded sports cars and better-selling utility vehicles. Come to the company with a big enough bag of cash, though, and the Porsche Engineering division can create just about anything. The group's past projects include working with Harley-Davidson, Mercedes-Benz and corporate cousin Audi, but if rumors prove true, then its latest partner might be the last one you'd expect.
Russian website Wroom reports that Porsche Engineering is building the engine for the Project Cortege government limousine project for Russian president Vladimir Putin. The mill is supposedly a turbocharged V12 displacing between 6.0- and 6.6-liters and making around 800 horsepower. When complete, it will reportedly be built by ZMZ with Russian-sourced parts.
The limo is expected to debut in 2017, according to Wroom, but it's just the beginning of Putin's grandiose plans, which also goes by the name of the Motorcade Project. The same platform is also meant to underpin several vehicles for use by the government, including an SUV, a small bus and a sedan. All of them would reportedly have a longitudinally mounted engine and all-wheel drive.