Porsche 989 (Panamera) (1988)
The Porsche 989 was a four-door performance touring sedan that retained the classic silhouette of the 911 Carrera but, unlike the Panamera, was never produced after its debut in 1988.
The 989 was conceived as a result of the success of the 928. Dr. Ulrich Bez, a Porsche engineer, decided to create a four-door sporty touring car that could compete with Mercedes-Benz and BMW models. As a result, the Porsche 989 featured a new front-engine, rear-drive architecture with a wheelbase of 2826 mm (111.3 in). It was powered by an 80-degree, water-cooled V8 engine producing roughly 300 HP and displacing between 3.6 and 4.2 liters.
Porsche was in the midst of an economic downturn in the late 1980s. In 1988 there was made a decision to begin development on a new model line with the 989 project. The front-engine V8 sports sedan with rear-wheel drive, marketed as a four-door “family sports car” or “Porsche for more than two,” was set to join the market in 1995 and target a new market sector.
However, even during the early project phase, development costs for the technologically advanced four-door skyrocketed, making it impossible to keep the purchase price under US$ 53,000. When the price calculation eventually surpassed US$ 80,000 and the projected yearly production quantity of 15,000 units could not be met economically, the project was halted in January 1991 by the supervisory board.
Many of the ideas and specific solutions found their way into future Porsche models, such as the 996 type series of the 911.