The stripped-out, amped-up sedan is reportedly being developed for one purpose, and one purpose only.
Of all the automakers seeking bragging rights at the Nurburgring, few (if any) have claimed as many records as Porsche. And now it looks like it's gunning for another.
According to the latest rumors, a small team within the German performance automaker is preparing a hardcore version of the Panamera with one goal in mind: to claim the record for the fastest four-door ever to lap the Nordschleife. The project is reportedly dubbed "Lion," and both ups the sedan's output and strips it down to its bare essentials in single-minded pursuit of the lap record.
Word has it that the track-focused Panamera is based on the conventional (non-hybrid) Turbo model, but instead of 542 horsepower (or 671 in the Turbo S E-Hybrid), the Lion could pack at least 750 hp – or as much as 820 hp.
All that muscle would be unburdened by the excess weight of the usual sound-deadening materials, trim pieces, and possibly even the rear seats in a similar approach taken by Jaguar's Special Vehicle Operations team in preparing the XE SV Project 8, which set the four-door lap record this past summer with a time of 7:23.164.
The increased output and decreased weight is expected to help the Panamera Lion hustle around the 'Ring in as little as 7:10 – a good 10 seconds faster than the Lynk & Co 03 Cyan concept, 13 seconds quicker than the aforementioned Jag, 15 seconds ahead of the Mercedes-AMG GT63 S four-door coupe (which kept its four seats in place), and a whopping 28 seconds quicker than the existing Panamera Turbo. The question is whether Porsche would offer the stripped-out version for purchase, whether it'd be street-legal, and if not, just what the record would count for.
However it shakes out, this wouldn't be the first record that Porsche would claim at the Green Hell. The 919 Evo holds the outright lap record at 5:19.546, beating the 956 that held the record at 6:11.13 for decades prior. And it's traded bragging rights for the fastest street-legal production car with sister company Lamborghini, the 911 GT2 RS controversially claiming that record at 6:40.33 (in quasi-legitimate Manthey Racing spec), ahead of the Aventador SVJ's 6:44.97 and the standard GT2 RS at 6:47.25. The real impetus behind the effort, however, could be the electric sedan battle that's been waged between Porsche's new Taycan and the Tesla Model S, the ultimate victor of which is still to be determined.