Porsche and Aston Martin enter the world of four-door supercars….
Pricey four-door saloons have created a whole new £100k+ automotive segment. Now it is the turn of the four-door supercar. First up (and strategically launched in Shanghai) is the Porsche Panamera, which in Turbo guise comes with 500hp, 0-60 in 4.2 seconds, 188mph and a price tag of £95k. Porsche thinks it can sell 20,000 a year of this model. A more frugal hybrid is slated for later this year. There is surprisingly generous space for four adults and a fair amount of luggage.
However, Porsche cannot afford to rest easy – hot on the Panamera’s heels comes the four door Aston Martin Rapide.
These are testing times for prestige car manufacturers, but Aston Martin is holding its nerve and maintaining focus on long-term brand-building with a number of strategic initiatives. The four-door Rapide is on course for a launch by the end of this year. Together with Porsche, this will open up a new segment of four-door supercars. Aston Martin has just introduced BeoSound DB9 in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen – a clever partnership. The company is preparing for this year’s Le Mans in June, but moving up from the GT1 class (which it has won) to the overall Prototype level, which has recently been dominated by Audi’s remarkable diesel cars. It is a huge undertaking.
Finally, Aston has confirmed that it is reviving the Lagonda brand and has revealed a radical 4WD, four-seater concept car. Described as ‘‘performance luxury,’’ it is targeted at ‘‘new markets and territories’’ such as the BRIC economies.