If architecture sharing is part of the plan for the vehicle expected to sell 20,000 to 30,000 units annually, the luxury Audi brand obviously is closer to Porsche in the hierarchy of things. Audi is rolling out an über-architecture with the flexibility in length and width for everything from the next-generation A4, due in fall 2008, to the A8. Known internally as B8, the new modular architecture eventually will replace three old platforms (A4, A6, and A8).

To go seriously uplevel, Porsche could turn to Lamborghini. We salivate at the thought of a four-door raging bull.

Sharing with Volkswagen makes less sense on the surface, except for the fact that VW also is developing a “four-door coupe” for the VW brand to slot between the Passat and the Phaeton luxury sedan that has since been discontinued for North America.

Failed Maserati Alliance

The VW project dates to about 2003, when it was known internally as the C1 and was to be the child of an alliance between Audi and Maserati. It was to spawn from the Maserati Quattroporte platform and use an existing powertrain configuration. It was to have a different body style so as not to compete with the Audi A6 sedan, according to then-chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder. But the alliance fell apart, and the C1 project was scrapped two years ago.

The objective—to close the price gap between the Passat and Phaeton—did not die. It was reborn in a new project dubbed the CC, which was to be a four-door luxury touring coupe or coupe/convertible and which was promised to VW dealers as early as this year.

But the project has suffered numerous delays, the most recent to address styling issues to appease new Volkswagen AG chairman Martin Winterkorn and also due to a changing of the guard in the design studios.

We still expect the CC to slot below the next-generation Phaeton, which continues to be sold in Europe. We expect the next-gen Phaeton will only come in one size, likely the more-powerful stretched version that was originally designed for North America, leaving more room for the VW coupe and Panamera to coexist.

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