A celebration of the Panamera is timely, given the presentation of the all-new version taking place right now. Built in Leipzig alongside the Macan and Cayenne, the Panamera is outsold by its SUV cousins by a factor of around 2:1 in each case. But between the three of them they account for around 80 per cent of Porsche's total sales – forget 911s, Boxsters and Caymans, these are the cars that make Porsche the money.
At the time of writing I don't know much about the new Panamera. I can be sure of one thing though – there won't be a rear-wheel drive manual like this one in the range. Even from the start this was the curio of the line-up; finding one for sale now is a real achievement, especially one in a decent colour and with the kind of spec you'd want.
And, as I say, I'm among the few to have driven one. I remember being on the launch event and asking the UK PR if there were any rear-driven manuals on the launch fleet. There was a deliberately non-committal "I don't think so..." based on the correct assumption journalists would love it as much as the market would hate it. I could understand the PR's point. Last thing Porsche wanted was a bunch of reviews saying 'the four-wheel drive PDKs are OK but the manual RWD is THE ONE!' When as far as sales projections went it clearly wasn't.