The Panamera is likely the greatest departure from the standard Porsche formula to day. After a surprising success with the Cayenne, Porsche decided to get even more ambitious with what could be a Porsche. Now we have the Panamera, a four door hatchback sedan. It has already proved itself a huge success regardless of the fact that many in the automotive industry berated the Wizards of Stuttgart when it was announced. They knew what they were doing, it would seem, as the draw of a Porsche sports machine that could seat four in comfort has made it the fastest selling model at Porsche dealers. Its styling alone remains a possible deal breaker for some. While it offers all the performance one would expect from a Porsche, the exterior lacks some of the seductive lines that are commonly attributed to Porsche's.
Performance is something that the Panamera does have, and has plenty of it. The front mounted engine is a 4.8 liter V-8 available either in naturally aspirated or twin turbocharged formats. The turbo is good for 500 HP. These engines are both mated to Porsches now famous 7 speed PDK transmission. Power can be sent to the ground via either rear wheel or all wheel drive.
Engines: 4.8L V-8, 4.8L twin-turbo V-8
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
Models: Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera S, Panamera 4S, Panamera Turbo
Everything's new -- this is Porsche's first foray into the four-door-sedan realm. All versions except the Turbo sport the 400-horse naturally aspirated V-8. Base and S models are rear-drive, while the 4S and the Turbo are all-wheel drive. The rear hatchback offers impressive loading versatility. Be prepared to pay, though: Top models wear a sticker in the solid six figures.
The weakest link in the Panamera's hardware chain. Rightly or wrongly, Porsche made rear-seat room a priority -- at the expense of sleekness (you'll say "rightly" if you've tried to board an Aston Rapide's rear cabin).
Simply stunning. Four adults fit comfortably, and the cockpit is beautifully trimmed. Because Porsche hasn't developed a uni-controller (like BMW's iDrive), the dash is bristling with buttons and switches – kind of like having your own Learjet.
Performance & Handling
We tested the naturally aspirated, rear-drive Panamera S, and it rocketed to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, braked from 60 mph in just 108 feet, and circled the skidpad at 0.95 g -- how's that for a four-door luxury sedan? Porsche says the Turbo can hit 60 in just four seconds and reaches a top speed of 186 mph.
The Panamera offers a complete suite of safety systems, from side air bags front and rear to two rows of curtain air bags and knee bags for both front passengers. A rear parking camera is optional.
EPA Fuel Economy
Panamera: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway
Panamera 4: 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway
Panamera S/4S: 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway
Panamera Turbo: 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Porsche-worthy performance
- Private-jet cockpit
- Thrilling handling
- Shocking Corvette drivers
You Won't Like
- Lofty sticker
- Pricey options
- Function-over-form exterior
Better than the Rapide, but not as sexy
If You Like This Vehicle
- Aston Martin Rapide
- BMW 7 Series
- Maserati Quattroporte
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class