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Ruf XL: A longer Porsche Panamera for the Chinese market

Wed, 18 Jan 2012

The Chinese love their rear-seat legroom. The workhorse of Shanghai taxi fleets is an extended-wheelbase Volkswagen called the Santana; think 1980s Quantum with longer rear doors. Audi's Chinese division designed and builds a long-wheelbase version of the last-generation A6. Rolls-Royce has made a full-court press into the Middle Kingdom with its Ghost EWB, launching the extended-wheelbase car at last year's Shanghai show.

So when Alois Ruf decided to take on China, he did it by following the path of least resistance--by creating a long-wheelbase version of the Porsche Panamera.

Famous for purchasing Porsche bodies-in-white, screwing on his own VIN plate and exacting gobsmacking levels of performance out of his erstwhile 911s, with the CTR3, Ruf ventured into a car largely of his own design. The XL finds the specialty builder from Pfaffenhausen taking a step back, seeing a gap in the exploding Chinese market and moving to fill it.

While rumors float around that Zuffenhausen has an LWB Panamera with a 4.7-inch stretch in the works, the Ruf XL adds 15.7 inches to the sports sedan's wheelbase. We don't have word on pricing, but in this rarefied world, if you care about such piddling trifles, the car's probably not for you.

By Davey G. Johnson