4-door pre-Panamera Porsche prototype – A look back – TopAuto
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4-door pre-Panamera Porsche prototype – A look back

Despite what purists might say, the bulk of Porches produced – and sold – nowadays are four-door vehicles.

The Cayenne and Macan SUVs are by far the most popular, while the Panamera and all-electric Taycan fill the gap between high, big-bodied bruisers and the svelte coupes that spring to mind when someone mentions Porsche.

The reality is that Porsche had envisioned its future with a range of cars over two decades before the first Panamera or Cayenne went on sale.

This was evident in 1987, when the front-engined 928 was at its sales peak – and a one-off, four-door version of the V8-engined 928 was produced.

First conceived as a model to take over the reins from the 911, the Porsche purists at the time were never wild about the bubble-back, water-cooled, front-engine grand tourer.

With the S4 variant of the 928, an established Porsche supplier that was building convertible 944s for Porsche – the American Sunroof Company – undertook the coachbuilding project.

Together with Porsche, they took the 5-litre V8 and upped its power to 246kW, then set about stretching the chassis to give the rear passengers more legroom.

Access to the more spacious rear seats was made through two small suicide doors similar to what the Mazda RX8 and Mini Clubman used more recently.

The plan

Porsche’s plan for the 928 line-up was to develop this four-door concept, a shooting brake, and cabriolet version.

However, financial woes and a decision to focus on the 911 meant that these models were frozen before they had the chance to see the light of day – except as a part of The Porsche Museum.

Instead, Porsche partnered with Mercedes-Benz to assemble the highly sought-after 500E and Audi’s first RS car, the RS2. These partnerships effectively helped Porsche stay afloat.

It can be argued that the 928 four-door concept is better looking and more well-proportioned than the first Panamera, and it’s disappointing that the concept was not explored further.

But, it ultimately meant that the company survived through the tumultuous late 80s and early 90s with enough heritage, success and reserves to create the hugely popular SUVs and sedans of today.

This path has subsequently turned Porsche into one of the most valuable automakers of our time.

Porsche 928 Four-Door – Photos

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