Porsche Panamera Prototype Spyed With Center Lock Wheels, Big Brakes

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Wheel Center Lock is not normally used on street cars. They require a fair amount of torque to secure and as such, they are not easy to remove if you get a flat. The design is beneficial for racing, as the smaller center lock hub means more room for the big brakes. Porsche uses center lock wheels on extreme 911 versions like the GT3 and Turbo S, but we’ve never seen such technology on the much larger Panamera sedan. Until now.

To be clear, the vehicle captured in this spy photo is not a production model. This is clearly a prototype with updated bodywork hidden by black bands and camouflage panels. It’s also possible this is a test mule, evaluating the center lock hub for use on other models. But we also have to consider the possibility that Porsche is preparing the very hot Panamera sedan to join the next-generation lineup. That’s a tantalizing proposition considering the current Panamera is already approaching 700 horsepower (522 kilowatts) in the Turbo S E-Hybrid trim.

It’s also not a fake wheel designed to look like a center lock. Our spy photographer took a lot of side-by-side pictures with a moving car, then a few more with a parked car. The spoked wheels don’t resemble anything we’ve seen on prototypes, be it Panamera’s previous spy shots or the upcoming 911 GT3 RS. What’s more, there are some really big brakes behind those wheels. This leads us to ask the obvious question: Is Porsche planning the Panamera GT3?

A new generation of Panamera is coming, and it will borrow style cues from the electric Taycan. Extensive changes to the front and rear are still cleverly hidden with this test car, but if the GT3 is in the mix, we haven’t seen the wild aerodynamic changes that usually come with the moniker. Unfortunately, the windows were quite dark so we couldn’t see much of the inside. Although there may be a roll cage installed in the back.

A Porsche Panamera GT3 could rival the likes of Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz for the title of fastest sedan on the Nurburgring. We know how much Porsche loves the ‘Ring record, so there must have been a motive for making such a super sedan happen. We probably won’t have an answer until next year at the earliest, when the new Panamera is expected to debut.

Enjoy more Porsche discussions on the Rambling About Cars podcast, available below.

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