Rate It: Porsche 989, the Spiritual Predecessor To the Panamera

By Colin Wood
Aug 24, 2020 | Porsche, Rate It, 989, Panamera

How do you follow up on the initial success of the Porsche 928? If you are Porsche, you develop a four-door model to compete with the big sedans from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Development of this prototype sedan, called the 989, began in 1988 under the leadership of Dr. Ulrich Bez (who also oversaw the development of the 930 Turbo as well as a few other notable Porsches), with power coming from a 4.2-liter V8 capable of 350 horsepower.

The project would eventually be scrapped in 1991, citing a decrease in overall sales coupled with Bez's departure from Porsche.

Despite not being developed, design cues from the 989 would inspire the styling of later 911s, and the idea of a four-door Porsche model would live on in the current Panamera and even Taycan

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View comments on the GRM forums
KurtAKX New Reader
8/24/20 11:49 a.m.

I remember that car.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/24/20 12:04 p.m.


aw614 Reader
8/24/20 3:16 p.m.

I also see quite a bit of where they got the styling for the 996 too

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/24/20 9:06 p.m.

I saw this thing in person at the Petersen. I didn't know it existed prior to that. As someone who waffled on getting a 996 and then after buying it realized it is the absolute Goldilocks car for me, something that looked like a 4dr 996 gave me a significant hankering. Heartstrings pulled uncomfortably. The thing that luckily let me off the hook of an eternity of coulda-beens was that the interior looks a lot more like a 928 than a 996, and that to me is a bad thing. I dont have much against 928 interiors but it didn't seem to suit this more modern exterior well at all.  If a 4dr 996 existed i'd break all my rules to get it, but a Panamera is massively massively larger than that and for the small amount of time I've spent with them, I end up preferring Cayennes if my Porsche is going to be 4000+ lbs. I'm sure i just 'havent driven the right Panameras' but a 4dr 996 would have been 3400-ish lbs and still a 'small' car and a Panamera just... isn't that. At all. 


dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
8/24/20 9:26 p.m.

I really like it. Never knew that existed. 

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