This came to light during our recent drive of the 2017 Panamera. Discussing the door dampers with Panamera chief Gernot Döllner, I half-jokingly offered the idea of swapping to magnetic dampers. He very earnestly responded that Porsche was already looking at that kind of system. While you might look at this as unnecessary complication, this is the kind of German over-engineering I love. See a problem, apply knowledge, problem solved.
These dampers would be electromagnetic, not unlike the magnetorheological (a fantastic word) dampers that are used in car suspensions that go by trade names like MagneRide or Magnetic Ride Control. Those use a magnetic fluid and an electromagnet to vary the resistance of the damper. By changing the amount of current applied, you change the damper's resistance to movement. For doors, you could skip the magnetic fluid, since there's no need to be able to vary the resistance of the strut keeping the door open – it's either on or off, holding the door or not. That could be used in concert with a normal hydraulic damper that softens the movements of the door. No, this doesn't improve the car's on-road performance. Yes, it does improve, uh, handling.
There are a couple things keeping this elaborate setup from parking itself in production doors. For one, there would need to be some kind of control logic to let the electromagnet know when to let go and allow you to close the door. This could be a button or release of some sort, or the door could sense when a certain amount of load is being applied and then let the door move freely. We imagine packaging is an issue, as well, and given the extra weight it would probably make most sense on the Panamera and Cayenne, and not sports cars like the 911 and 718s. But it sounds like Porsche is actively exploring how to do it, and that just makes us happy.