I think I'm about to forgive Porsche for giving its Panamera sedan an awkward hunchback. Just look at these interior photos: no less than stunning. I imagine that sitting coddled in all that leather, enjoying huge rear seat comfort (CEO Wendelin Wiedeking insisted that his 6'4" frame fit comfortably front and rear), and blasting down the autobahn with 500 turbocharged hp goes a long way towards alleviating qualms about the humpty-dumpty rear. While the controversial exterior styling has some Porsche aficionados up in arms, the interior seems, at first blush, a resounding success at merging supersedan luxury with Porsche panache.
Take a look at the cockpit. Not only is it lined with Italian-grade leather, beautiful stitching, and Lexus-like surfaces and details, but it retains appropriate doses of Porsche; namely, a prominent center-mounted tachometer, the nifty sport-chrono gauge nestled mid-dash, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the PDK 7-speed, and two elegant rows of buttons flanking the sturdy, purposeful-looking gear selector. Porsche has moved lightyears past its generic interiors of only a decade ago.
Then we move to the rear compartment, whose comfy dimensions are directly responsible for the car's bulbous backend. Or are they? The back of the Panamera doesn't look much more (if any) commodious than, say, the new Jag XF, a car whose profile has been earning accolades from the likes of design maven Robert Cumberford of Automobile Magazine. Shrunken, slinking rear ends don't seem to impress when tacked onto luxury sedans; the Infiniti J30 and early 80s Cadillac Seville bustleback come quickly to mind. Was Porsche wise to insist on sticking with its iconic downswept rear (a la 911) for its new GT sedan, or should it have pursued a clean-sheet strategy instead?