What are the meanings of Porsche’s car names? From 911 to Panamera

Porsche is one of the most iconic sports car brands in the world, although half of its sales are now SUVs. What do the brand’s car names mean and where do they come from?

In this video we look at all of the company’s current models, including the 911, 718 Boxster and Cayman, Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne.

If you really can’t be bothered here’s a brief summary with links to fuller explanations of each car’s etymology:

911 – Originally set to be called 901 after the project code, but Peugeot owned the rights to all automotive names with three numbers and with a zero in the middle. So, the name was changed to 911 in order to utilise existing “1” badges.

718 – This name will, it seems, in time replace the Boxster and Cayman, and is three number badge, a la 911, with a one in the middle. The modern 718 is said to honour a race car with that name from the 1960s.

Boxster – A portmanteau of “boxer” and “roadster”. Boxer being the engine’s layout, and roadster being the vehicle’s body style.

Cayman – The coupe version of the Boxster is named after the caiman alligator, not as many presume, the Cayman Islands, home to many a tax dodging offshore bank account.

Panamera – Porsche’s first “sedan” is named after the famed and dangerous Panamericana road race through Mexico.

Cayenne – The company’s first crossover is so called after the chili variety.

Macan – The smaller Audi-based SUV is takes its name for the Indonesia word for tiger.




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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Editor-at-large — Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]


What are the meanings of Porsche’s car names? From 911 to Panamera