One of the criteria for the NST-Peugeot Design competition is how well you weave Peugeot’s design DNA into your concept car’s final design.
Design DNA is done not just for stylistic sake but it helps enforce a brand identity that helps people relate where the car is coming from as well as establish the brand’s on-road presence. And no car manufacturer sticks stubbornly to their design DNA quite like Porsche, sometimes the end result end up doing its design more harm than good.
Since Porsche's 911 sports car is one of the world's most recognisable sports cars, their designers have gotten it into their heads that any other product Porsche produces has to be a homage to the 911.
As such, Porsche's model range has firmly stuck to the 911's template.
Though the 911's design works well for low-slung sports cars, it doesn’t translate well when it is applied to a bigger canvas such as the first-generation Porsche Cayenne SUV and the Panamera limousine.To the casual observer both the Cayenne SUV and Panamera look ungainly, but look at the design cues closely and it is clear that their designers were just applying the 911’s design cues onto an SUV or limousine body without considering the different body proportions.To Porsche designer’s credit the second-generation Cayenne SUV was much more successful, and looking at their new Sport Turismo concept, the next Panamera just might follow suit.The Panamera’s sloping rear rump, which was suppose to mimic a 911 but made it look awkward, has been re-profiled, giving it a more complete, smooth and rounded rear-end.
Where the current Panamera looked like a stodgy limousine with its Cayman-like rear hips, the Sport Turismo looks like a proper station wagon with its rounded rump and stretched roofline.
Porsche doesn't say what the Sport Turismo concept will become, be it the much rumoured about 'Pajun' (short for Panamera-junior) M5-challenger, or a completely new model range, but we can be certain that its body is a refinement of the Panamera's shape.
The Sport Turismo isn’t excluded of any 911 design cues, the rear LED taillight cluster looks similar to the new 991-generation 911s, and the front lights are clearly inspired by the 2010 918 Spyder concept car.
One design cue that the Sport Turismo doesn’t follow with other Porsche concept cars is its wing mirrors, or the lack of it.
Instead of mounting tiny rear-facing cameras like other concept cars do, the Sport Turismo maintains its clean shape by positioning the cameras in its front side air intakes.
Because the Sport Turismo was built to showcase Porsche’s latest plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the Sport Turismo is coloured in light metallic blue similar to the 918 RSR concept, and like the 918 plug-in hybrid supercar concept, has its nameplate highlighted in acid green along with acid green coloured brake calipers. It is these small design details that define the Sport Turismo as part of Porsche’s family of environmentally friendly concept cars and highlights its eco-credentials. Where the dashboards of current Porsches are usually a festival of buttons, knobs, and dials, the Sport Turismo sets out to minimise the clutter with the use of TFT displays and touch screens around the cabin.
The cabin’s rising centre console, a homage to the Carrera GT and a cabin feature of the new Boxster, incorporates a touch screen where drivers can access the controls to the climate control, seat adjustment, lights, and reversing camera.
Carrying over design cues from one model to another might sound like lazy work, but the Panamera has shown that it is no simple task bringing over the signature shape of a car as timeless as the 911 onto different body styles.
But more than just style, looking at the Panamera or the Cayenne or the Boxster or the Cayman, one would already be instantly reminded of the 911.
And everyone knows that the 911’s shape is exclusively that of a Porsche, and that is what makes the brand grow in presence on the road, despite the actual 911 being a rare sight.