- Supercar power (Turbo and Turbo S)
- Excellent PDK gearbox
- Confident handling and high-speed stability
- Nimble feel
- Incredibly spacious backseat
- Styling misses the mark from some angles
- Button-busy center console
- Driving feels almost synthetic due to numerous aids
The 2013 Porsche Panamera continues the success of the brand's unusual-looking fastback sport sedan.
Controversial styling aside, the Porsche Panamera is a fantastic combination of the core elements of any sport sedan: luxury, features, power, and handling. As the brand's first (and so far, only) sedan, the Panamera has helped Porsche to reach a wider audience and increase sales without compromising the virtues of its more dedicated sports cars.
For the 2012 model year, Porsche added Turbo S and S Hybrid models to the Panamera range. For the 2013 model year, the Panamera lineup remains unchanged.
While we've grown accustomed to the controversial exterior styling of the Panamera, the extended roofline, which is intended to evoke the fastback profile of the 911, jars some as being over-large, but everywhere else, the Panamera offers supersized versions of classic Porsche themes, from the headlights to the fenders to the tail. Inside, the cabin is elegant and sports car-like up front yet limo-like in the rear, with ample room.
Even in base form, the Panamera is quick, and in Turbo S guise, it's downright blistering. The base Panamera is rated at 300 horsepower from a 3.6-liter V-6 engine, and the line ranges upward from there to a massive 550 horsepower from a twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8 in the Turbo S. The S Hybrid is quite stout, despite its greener aspirations, rated at 380 horsepower and 5.7 seconds to 60 mph while still pulling down 30 mpg on the highway.
All Panameras come standard with the excellent seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, which clicks through shifts in automatic mode or with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for manual mode when equipped with the Sport Chrono package.
With the rear seats laid flat, the cargo space is impressive. The nearly hatchback-like rear profile lends real space to the area for larger packages or luggage. Porsche even claims two fully assembled bicycles can fit in the rear of the Panamera.
Accommodations in the cabin are plush, with the driver-centric section of the front divided from the passenger's seat, and the sport-oriented front row from the more comfort-focused rear.
There are plenty of features in the Panamera, though you won't find some of the high-tech safety equipment you'll find in other luxury brands' full-size sedans. What you will find is a sea of buttons for discrete control of nearly everything--to some, this is a major advantage over the menu-driven interfaces of other cars, while to others, it's just busy and confusing. Available equipment includes cruise control, dual-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, navigation with customizable maps, Bluetooth, and much more.
The 2013 Porsche Panamera hasn't been crash-tested by the NHTSA or the IIHS due in part to its expense and relatively small sales volume. Standard safety equipment, however, gives us confidence behind the wheel. Porsche's advanced electronics systems, including Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, also help keep the Panamera pointed where intended, even in poor weather. Rearview cameras, hill-hold assist, and optional rear side airbags can also boost the Panamera's safety factor.