The design of the Porsche Panamera has been divisive, to say the least. Pretty much any Porsche with four doors was going to draw the ire of enthusiasts, but the fast-back-style roofline, prominent curves and seemingly never-ending hood have particularly irked some brand loyalists.
"There have been some small mistakes and we will do it better. For example the design could be better." – Matthias Mueller.
Finally, Porsche's headman is admitting as much. Sort of.
Speaking to Australian auto news site Motoring.com.au, CEO Matthias Mueller said the appearance – inside and out – has missed the mark, and changes are coming for the redesign. "There have been some small mistakes and we will do it better," Mueller said. "For example the design could be better."
Porsche design chief Michael Mauer told the website that improvements have been made for the new model, and that it will have an even more dramatic roofline. "We have addressed certain things and I think it is more attractive, but if as a designer I was to tell you the successor generation doesn't look as good as the old one, then most likely I should look for another job," Mauer said.
The appearance of the Panamera has found some supporters, and the sedan has been generally well-received for its power, poise on the road and luxurious features. Moreover, it's extended the scope of Porsche's lineup, fattened the company's bottom line and added a crucial vehicle for the China market.
The Panamera was designed on Mauer's watch, though long before Mueller took over as Porsche CEO in October 2010. It launched in 2009, and the Panamera portfolio has grown to include a long-wheelbase model, a plugin hybrid and other variants that allow it to compete everything from the Tesla Model S to the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.
Since then, the Panamera's appearance has grown on some enthusiasts, as our Michael Harley noted immediately in our first drive back in 2009:
Regardless of what descriptor you use, most of us seem to agree that it looks like the unlikely five-door offspring of an illicit tryst between a Porsche 928 and a Chrysler Crossfire. Interestingly enough, the more time we spent with the Panamera the more we understood, appreciated, and genuinely started to value its looks.
Meanwhile, Panamera sales have remained strong in the United States, well into its life cycle. Sales dipped slightly in September to 450 units (25 fewer than a year ago), but are still up 447 units to 4,395 sales this year.