Porsche's marketing people for months have dropped hints about a new four-door fastie that would sock it to the Maserati Quattroporte and give the Mercedes-Benz CLS what for. But the wait was worth it. When the wraps came off the Panamera Gran Turismo at Auto Shanghai on Monday Porsche revealed a sleek bossmobile that looks more like a Porsche than the Cayenne yet will appeal to Chinese executives who prefer to be seen in the back seat rather than at the wheel of the finest cars. Set for a mainland launch in January, the Panamera was the highlight of an event attended by 1,500 recession-hit manufacturers smelling money that may not have melted away as quickly as in other markets. With a normally-aspirated 400 brake-horsepower V8 petrol engine (starting with the S version at 1.84 million yuan; HK$2.1 million) or a twin-turbocharged 500bhp V8 petrol block, the fastie has rear-wheel and all-wheel drive chassis configurations. Six-cylinder petrol-engine and hybrid derivatives will follow, Porsche says. The Panamera is 4.97 metres long and only 1.42 metres high, but seems to accommodate four fat tummies in fast-lane comfort. And the marque's boffins seem to have worked overtime on show-off tech, from the first engine start-stop system in conjunction with automatic transmission and air suspension with additional air volume available on demand in each spring to 'active aerodynamics' with an adjustable, multi-dimensional extending rear spoiler on the turbo version. All Panameras come with direct fuel injection engines, low-friction drive systems and optimised lightweight bodies, the marque says. The 1.92 million yuan, 400hp Panamera 4S (tops at 283km/h; 100km/h in 5.4 seconds; 10.8l/100km; 253g/km of carbon dioxide) and the 2.49 million yuan Turbo (tops at 302km/h; 100km/h in 4.2 seconds; 12.2l/100km; 286g/km of carbon dioxide) will have four-wheel drive and the new seven-speed PDK gearbox as standard, Porsche says, adding that the models' all-wheel-drive system is controlled by Porsche Traction Management via a multi-plate clutch that adjusts the power distribution between the front and rear axles for increased grip and agility. The marque also showed the Cayenne GTS Porsche Design Edition III, which will be priced at 1.89 million yuan this summer and the Cayenne S Transsyberia, on sale for about 1.6 million yuan in May. Rolls-Royce finally called its 'RR4' the Rolls-Royce Ghost, reviving the name of the 40/50hp model the marque introduced in 1906 and developed over the next 19 years. And BMW world-premiered the Mini Convertible and a fifth-generation 7-Series with a new 544hp V12 engine: the top-of-the-range 760 Li. Previous versions of this swishie roll like a dream on the autobahn, but the latest version gets a new eight-gear automatic transmission and ego-boosting cabin details such as chrome-plated door sill strips with an illuminated V12 logo and wood interior trim with inlays, says BMW, which has already mainland-stretched the 530Li, 525Li and 523Li with a 140mm longer wheelbase for back-seat tycoons. The Bavarian marque also showed off the Concept 5 Series Gran Turismo luxury sports activity vehicle, due for a mainland launch in 2010, and the X5 M, with a 555 horsepower 4.4-litre engine that is said to have matched an M3 on the Nuerburgring's northern loop. The marque also Asia-premiered the X6 M and the Concept 7 Series Active Hybrid, which combines an eight-cylinder petrol engine and a 20-horsepower electric engine with maximum torque of 210Nm. Mercedes-Benz presented the 2009 S-Class, the new E-Class and the redesigned S 65 AMG, promising 4.4-second sprints to 100km/h. But its new S400 Hybrid stole the limelight, with claims to be 'the most economical luxury saloon with a petrol engine' and promising a fuel sip of 7.9 litres per 100km. Fitted with 'the world's first series production hybrid powertrain to feature lithium-ion batteries', the S400 Hybrid is the 'CO2 Champion of the luxury class', with the promise of 186 grams of carbon dioxide emissions per km, the marque says. Ferrari Asia-premiered the California and highlighted the founding of the first Ferrari China Owners' Club, the introduction of Pilota driving courses and its concierge and road assistance services on the mainland. Toyota brought a plug-in hybrid electric concept for possible trials; Audi impressed with the A3, SR8 and a facelifted Q7 with a 3-litre diesel option; while Volkswagen showed fleet managers its 1.8-litre Passat New Lingyu with the promise, Edmunds.com reports, of up to '6.2l/100km' in further economy. Jaguar was also reported to have shown pictures of its new XJ - without letting any big cats out of the bag. But Buick seems to mean business, first with area managers with its launch of the New Regal 2.0 Turbo, promising peak torque of 350Nm at 2,000 to 4,000 rpm and a sprint to '100 km/h in 7.8 seconds, which will make it the most powerful turbocharged engine on the market', General Motors says. But watch out for the Buick Business Concept Vehicle hybrid MPV, which is intended to put 'business class on the road' and could wean mainland bosses off the Toyota Alphard. It was developed in China by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Centre (Patac), a design and engineering joint venture between General Motors and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (Saic). 'The Chinese market and business person have some unique requirements,' says GM global design vice-president Ed Welburn. So the designers 'incorporated a 'yin and yang' with interior tones drawn from diverse inspirations, including ... Chinese artifacts and modern electronic icons', says Patac concept car chief designer Cao Min. The interior has been plushed-up with burgundy suede and subtle creams, leather bucket seats, plush carpet and a padded steering wheel, the marque says. Geely also drew bosses to its plush Phantom-like GE limousine. BYD touted its 2-litre M6 MPV, and Soueast presented its Lancer-like V4. Chang'an Auto rolled out its eclectic Chana E301, with gullwing doors, and the Corolla-like V101 concept. Riich unveiled the G5 sedan and Haima rolled out the 2-litre S3 compact crossover vehicle and highlighted the M2 hatchback, derived from the Mazda 2 and due for production in 2010. Saic's 1.8-litre MG6 and Roewe's 550 sedan also turned heads, but the foreign marques stole the international headlines.