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Porsche Panamera: Has wings, rides on air

The Porsche Panamera will be unveiled for the first time at the Shanghai Auto Show in China on 20 April, and we've been tipped off to a few of the key technologies ahead of the launch

Rory Reid

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The Porsche Panamera will be unveiled for the first time at the Shanghai Auto Show in China on 20 April, and we've been tipped off to a few of the key technologies ahead of the launch.

As if having four doors wasn't enough, this grand tourer (or gran turismo as our Italian chums call it), also packs stop-start technology to help preserve fuel and reduce emissions, on-demand air suspension, and a four-way, adjustable rear spoiler that works very much like the wing of an aeroplane.

The spoiler tucks neatly away when the car is stationary, or being driven at low speeds, but extends when the vehicle reaches speeds that warrant extra downforce, or grip. Nothing unusual about that, but the spoiler also extends at the left and right edges, essentially increasing in size to optimise the car's high-speed handling.

The Panamera ditches old-skool springs and shock absorbers in favour of an adaptive air suspension system that actively adjusts the ride. Systems like this have the potential to improve ride comfort at the expense of handling, due to their slow response time, but Porsche's engineers say the Panamera will be very agile, thanks to a unique 'air on-demand' system that adapts to driving conditions on the fly.

The Panamera will also have features such as touchscreen sat-nav and audio controls, a Bluetooth phone feature with a cordless handset for use by passengers sitting in the rear, and -- our favourite feature -- a seven-speed double-clutch transmission system called Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, (PDK). Yes, that's a real word.

The Panamera will go on sale this September for £72,266, so you'd better start thinking about selling the Mondeo now. Click 'Continue' for more photos.

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With the rear wing retracted, the Panamera cuts a sleeker, less aggressive figure.
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The adaptive air suspension makes for a softer ride, but is still capable of delivering sports-car handling.
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The touchscreen entertainment and navigation system lets you find your way around, listen to your iPod and more.
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It's so innocent-looking. Who'd have thought the Turbo version can do 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds?

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