New & Used Porsche Panamera: In Depth
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The Porsche Panamera is a high-performance luxury sedan that combines speed, comfort, and space that few competitors can rival. There are a number of drivetrains available, including the entry-level V-6 to a turbocharged V-8. A plug-in hybrid is also on its way. It competes with the Maserati Quattroporte, Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class, and the Aston Martin Rapide.
Many models are offered, ranging from the base Panamera and Panamera S to the Panamera 4 and 4S, the Panamera GTS, and the Panamera Turbo and Turbo S.No matter which model, it's part of a growing group of fast four-doors with less formal rooflines and a pronounced emphasis on performance. With its new fastback-like styling, the latest Jaguar XJ also slots into this sleekly styled set. Its styling has been controversial, to say the least. And if you believe the rumor mill, the Panamera's somewhat bulbous rear end looks like it does because a former 6' 3" chairman demanded the new car be roomy enough for his comfort in the rear seat.
The Panamera's performance makes it a true companion to Porsche sportscars like the 911, Boxster and Cayman. The base engine for the 2010 model year is a 400-horsepower 4.8-liter V-8 lent by the Cayenne. With twin turbos, the same engine cranks out 500 horsepower. Both engines split power to the rear or to all wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission. Handling is spectacularly balanced, with light steering feel that's not typical for Porsche.
The Panamera's roomy interior is also unexpected. It delivers the usual Porsche performance despite a long body and a long wheelbase. Four adults will find plenty of room--even more in the back seat, in fact. Those seats also flip forward, opening a cargo space that delivers enough room to cart a couple of bicycles even without removing the front wheels.
Porsche fits plenty of standard safety and luxury features to the Panamera, from curtain airbags to Bluetooth. Owners can specify custom trim or choose from a range of wood or metallic trim, as well as some finely stitched leather--and matching fitted luggage. The optional 1000-watt Burmeister audio system feels as powerful as the Turbo's scalding thrust.
Then, for the 2011 model year, the Panamera became a little more attainable, with the introduction of a new V-6 model. With an all-new 3.6-liter V-6 that Porsche builds on the same line as its V-8 (not to be confused with the VR6 in the Cayenne SUV), the Panamera V-6 can get to 60 mph in a respectable-enough 5.6 seconds and works well with the same seven-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission.
For 2012, a new Turbo S model pushed the power rating up to 550 hp and a GTS version added 30 hp to the S, while an all-new Panamera S Hybrid model was also introduced. All but Panamera base, S, and S Hybrid models now come with all-wheel drive.
At the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, a new Sport Turismo concept was introduced, giving the Panamera a more wagon-like profile. While Porsche hasn't confirmed any plans for series production, we wouldn't be surprised to see this variant join the range in the next few years.
In the 2013 model year, Porsche is offering a new Platinum Edition model, which adds unique paint, trim, and equipment to yield a more custom look.
A update is has arrived for the 2014 model year, freshening the Panamera's looks and equipment, as well as adding a new Panamera S E Hybrid model and a long-wheelbase variant, and adding a new twin-turbocharged V-6 engine for Panamera S and 4S models.