Even with the pall of the European economic crisis hanging over the Paris Motor Show, the ambitions of Porsche to cover the globe in its cars remains undimmed. This concept suggests how far Porsche will be willing to step from its traditions: a four-door wagon with a plug-in hybrid system that can generate 416 hp while burning as much fuel as a Toyota Prius. It's only a concept, but it could easily become a reality.
While Porsche has played around with the idea of a wagon before, the Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo would be the first true wagon the company has put on sale if it goes forward. In addition to the new rear which tastefully solves some of the ungainliness of the regular Panamera, Porsche has upped the output from the hybrid system now sold in the Panamera and Cayenne, boosting the electric motor to 95 hp when paired with the 333-hp supercharged V-6. It also made the lithium-ion battery pack rechargeable from an external plug, and claims it can now return fuel economy of roughly 67 mpg while still hitting 60 mph in less than six seconds.
Every European auto show brings up the old cartel that keeps Americans such as myself who appreciate these kind of family cars from sampling some of the fine models sold around the world. Porsche isn't saying whether the Sport Turismo would go into production, but there's nothing so fancy on the concept that would keep Porsche from building what would instantly rank among the best-looking wagons in the world.