Set to be called the Panamera Tertre Rouge, the new front-engine coupe from Porsche will be based on the same MSB platform as the upcoming Panamera and the 2018 Bentley Continental GT. A near-production concept car should be unveiled by Porsche this summer, at the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours Race, while the production version is to be shown for the first time in 2017, at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
You don't have to wait that long to see it, though, because our exclusive rendering is 99 percent identical to the real Tertre Rouge. A Stuttgart-based insider who usually gives us mainly Mercedes-Benz information about future models has seen and photographed an un-masked pre-production prototype of the car, but for legal reasons we can't show you those images.
Instead, we switched to our very own Gabriel Brindusescu to create a rendering that closely follows the lines of the prototype seen by Mr. Witzbold, down to almost every detail.
Those who follow the Le Mans 24 Hours race have probably noticed that the new Porsche model is named after a famous corner situated right before Ligne Droite des Hunaudières, also known as the Mulsanne straight. If we were to guess, the name was chosen as a homage to the Circuit de la Sarthe naming four corners after the Stuttgart manufacturer.
This time, Porsche is returning the favor, especially since the company hopes to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the 18th time in 2016, and showing a model named after a part of the circuit is a pretty nice way of saying “thank you,” if you ask us.
A coupe version of the Panamera has been rumored since the first generation came about, but Porsche chose first to concentrate on the Macan best-seller and then expand the Panamera range when its second generation arrives.
It is believed that the executives in Stuttgart weren't too happy with Mercedes-AMG going after the 911 with the GT and GT-S sports cars, so the go-ahead for the Tertre Rouge project was given as early as 2014.
From some perspectives, the Panamera Tertre Rouge Coupe is a modern revival of the 928 Coupe, which was also a 2+2, front-engined, two-door model. Unlike the 928, the new Porsche GT will offer both 6- and 8-cylinder engines, and a plug-in hybrid version is not out of the question either. As expected, all powerplants will be turbocharged.
Since the Mercedes-AMG GT goes after the 911, the Panamera's coupe will set its sights straight on the Mercedes-AMG S63 Coupe. Expect slightly less interior space and less comfort, but also better performance from the Porsche model. Unfortunately for the Volkswagen Group, the new luxury grand tourer from Stuttgart may also steal some customers from the Bentley Continental GT, especially in its V8 iterations, but that was to be expected since the two models will be technically twins anyway.
The entry-level Tertre Rouge S version will be powered by a 3.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 with 420 hp and 520 Nm (383.5 lb-ft) of torque, paired with a 7-speed PDK, double-clutch transmission, and rear-wheel-drive. A Tertre Rouge 4S with all-wheel-drive will also be available. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration time of 4.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package is to be expected from the RWD version, while the 4S should do it about 0.3 seconds faster.
The Tertre Rouge Turbo will benefit from the extra oomph brought by an improved version of the 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine from the current Panamera and Cayenne Turbo. It will have 550 hp and 750 Nm (553.2 lb-ft) of torque on tap, which can be increased to 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) via the Sport Chrono Package.
With slightly less power but a lot less weight compared to the regular Panamera, the Tertre Rouge Turbo is expected to hit 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standing start in just 3.5 seconds. Thanks to active aerodynamics borrowed from the 911 Turbo (991), which are also improved, every Tertre Rouge variant will do over 300 km/h (186 mph) in basic trim.
A Panamera Tertre Rouge GTS and a Turbo S version will also exist at one point, but they will be unveiled later on, in 2018. Both are likely to feature different versions of the same 4.8-liter V8 in the Turbo and will benefit from all-wheel-drive as standard.
A plug-in hybrid variant hasn't been confirmed by our insider, but we suspect it will also be available at some point in the model's production cycle.
Despite being based on the MSB platform, which will be shared with FWD-based Audis as well, the Porsche Tertre Rouge will be either rear-wheel-drive or use an RWD-based all-wheel-drive system with torque vectoring.
Those who are afraid of the opening angle of those gargantuan doors, don't be. According to our insider, the door hinges are based somewhere between the A-pillar and the exterior mirror, meaning that the door opens as wide as on any other coupe, but looks twice as cool.
The interior will be more accommodating than that of a 911, that's for sure, but taller people shouldn't expect to feel very comfortable in the back. The trunk, on the other hand, should be more than enough to fit two golf bags inside it, while the hatch should give it a nice opening.
Despite being based on the upcoming Panamera, the Tertre Rouge Coupe's internal codename is 401, making it the first modern Porsche not to sport an internal designation that starts with “9.” Expect more details about the model in the upcoming months.