Is the Porsche Panamera an Argument for a Four-Passenger Corvette?
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, or so the old saying goes. So when Porsche came out with the first “true” four-door sports car, the huge and kind-of-hideous Panamera, other companies were forced to take notice. Of course, GM already offers the Cadillac CTS-V, a blisteringly fast sports sedan. There are also rumors of a new “Chevy SS” sports sedan. So GM really seems to have the whole fast four-door field covered.
But that didn’t stop Automotive News writer Rick Kranz from deciding that what GM’s lineup really needs right now, amid high gas prices and looming fuel economy standards, is to build a four-passenger Corvette.
To be fair, Kranz brings to the debate of a Corvette-based sedan a number of examples of popular four-door sports cars. The Panamera sold almost 50% more cars in its first year than Porsche predicted (7,800 total) and the recently unveiled station wagon-like Ferrari FF coupe (with seating for four) has sold out production through the middle of next year. Then there is the Maserati Quattraporte, the Aston Martin Rapide, and plenty of other examples of sporty, four-passenger vehicles. The only car missing from this list is the Maybach 57. All of these are plenty fast cars with seating for four. Corvette sales have been slumping recently, and Kranz suggests that a Corvette for four is exactly what the nameplate needs to get a shot in the arm.
Yet the strongest argument against a four-passenger Corvette comes from GM’s own lineup; the Cadillac CTS-V, the world’s fastest production sedan. It’s got a 556 horsepower supercharged LSA engine that shares many of its components with the top-of-the-line ‘Vette, the ZR-1. GM doesn’t need another four-door sports car, especially with the Chevy SS sedan supposedly in the works.
We agree with Kranz that GM needs to start attracting younger buyers to the Corvette brand. If they want to do that though, they’re going to have to offer some concessions in the name of price. We think it’d be a better idea to offer a Corvette with a V6 engine, rather than two extra seats or even worse, two extra people.
Make it a spirited performing car with fewer bells and whistles, and offer a nice bump in price and options with the V8. Just because the Panamera, a purpose-built sports sedan, worked for Porsche doesn’t mean a similar idea works for GM. The current Corvette was never designed to hold four people, and at a time when GM is trying to shed weight from its sports cars, turning a coupe into a sedan makes as much sense as scuba equipment for cats. Let’s just see what GM delivers for the seventh-generation Camaro instead of playing “clown car” with our sports coupes.