Reports have been swirling around about Porsche exploring the possibility of building a model that will rival the wildly successful Tesla Model S. The Stuttgart automaker has remained pretty mum on the topic, but then it has always preferred to keep things a secret as long as it can. Now, a new report from the folks at Car Magazine claims that Porsche is hard at work on this project, which is internally codenamed the 717, and it passed on some information regarding its status.

The source of this information is kept under wraps, so it is hard to determine what information is actually from the source and what info Car pulled from thin air. Giving Porsche’s love of secrecy, I am leaning toward most of Car’s information being pure speculation. That said, I took the time to sort through all of it and pull out what I thought was on the mark, and add in some speculation of my own on the 717.

Click past the jump to read my preview on the Porsche 717.

Note: Porsche Panamera pictured here.

Exterior

The report from Car Magazine is that the 717 will be a four-door sedan based on the VW Group’s MSB architecture, with cues taken from the 911, making it look almost like a smaller version of the Panamera. While some may consider this a cookie-cutter approach by Porsche, it’s the same formula that has been working for ages, so why change it now?

What’s more, with Porsche faithful becoming more accepting of the Panamera’s look, this shrunken version will ride its coattail of acceptance.

Interior

Inside the cabin, the 717 remains a bit of a mystery, but I think that, like the outside, the interior will be just a slightly smaller clone of the Panamera. And that is certainly not a bad thing, as the Panamera is absolutely stunning and a great place to spend time. Picture tons of leather and other premium materials and loads of tech gadgets to keep you entertained.

Drivetrain

The drivetrain is what really matters in the 717, as fighting the Tesla Model S will require a delicate balance of efficiency and performance. Unlike the model S, which features a flat battery that also doubles as the floorboards, Car Magazine claims that the 717’s design will require a topologic (mountain-like), 108-cell battery with some parts of the battery extended up into the sills and footwell areas.

Reportedly powering the 717 is a four-motor system (one on each wheel) that will be available in three different power levels: 400 horsepower, 500 horsepower, and 600 horsepower. With a motor at each wheel, the 717 will obviously be all-wheel drive, and it will also include torque vectoring and four-wheel steering.

Car Magazine claims the 717’s range will be 300 miles, but by the time the model arrives, that may be too low. I expect that estimate to jump significantly in the coming years.

Prices

In order to compete with the Tesla Model S, the 717 will need to be priced accordingly. No, the 717 won’t touch the price of any non-D Model S, but it should be able to at least compete with the $87,570 Model S 85D. I am thinking just shy of $100,000 would be appropriate, considering the 717 would likely be more luxurious than the 85D.

In its 600-horsepower version, I expect the 717 to start around $130,000, putting it way above the Model S P85D’s $104,500 price.

Competition

2014 Tesla Model S

2015 Tesla Model S High Resolution Exterior
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The only competition to date for the 717 would be the Model S. Tesla’s luxury sports sedan starts out at $74,570 for the bottom-of-the-line 60 kWh model that produces 380 horsepower and sprints to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds. Moving into the 85 kWh version nets the Model S the same 380 horsepower, but its sprint time drops to 5.4 seconds and its range jumps from 208 to 265 miles. Adding the D dual-motor system drops the 85 kWh model to 376 horsepower, but its sprint time falls to 5.2 seconds and the range jumps to 270 miles. The P85D model is the range-topping version, and it checks in with a total of 691 ponies, a sprint time of 3.2 seconds, and a range of 253 miles.

In terms of pricing above the base model, the 85 kWh model runs $82,570, the 85D runs $87,570, and the P85D checks in at $105,670.

While the pricing of the Model S is significantly lower than what I anticipate the 717 coming in at, keep in mind that the level of luxury in the Porsche model should be much higher. Additionally, you are getting Porsche’s famed sports car soul.

Conclusion

With Porsche slowly trying to fill the gaps in its lineup, a full-electric vehicle is the next logical step. Porsche needs to tread lightly though, as the Model S is already entrenched in this class and has hordes of followers. The only thing really in the 717’s favor right now is Porsche’s network of dealers and its own loyal followers. The big sticking point now is the 2019 release date, which may give Tesla the time it needs to fix its distribution woes and further improve the Model S.

  • Leave it
    • Likely far more expensive than the Model S
    • Design eliminates a smooth battery with even weight distribution
    • Release date seems a bit out there

Source: CAR

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