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2013 Porsche Panamera Performance

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Five variants of the Porsche Panamera continue to define the range in 2013: the rear-drive Panamera, the all-wheel-drive Panamera 4, the Panamera GTS, the Panamera S Hybrid, and the Panamera Turbo. Panamera, Panamera 4, and Panamera Turbo also have higher-performance S variants, raising the total model count to eight for the sticklers.

Five core powertrains complement the five core models. The base Panamera and Panamera 4 use a 300-horsepower V-6; the Panamera S and 4S use a 400-horsepower V-8; the Panamera Turbo gets a 500-horsepower turbo V-8; and the Panamera Turbo S gets a 550-horsepower turbo V-8. All models are fitted with Porsche's dual-clutch PDK seven-speed transmission, except for the Panamera S Hybrid, which uses an eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic. Only the Panamera, Panamera S, and Panamera S Hybrid are available in rear-drive; the rest are all-wheel drive.

With such a long list of available powertrains and drive configurations, you might think the Panamera spans a wide range of performance characteristics, and, to a degree, it does. But mostly, the difference between the Panamera variants comes down to differences power and slight differences in handling. Even the base model is quick, at 6.0-seconds to 60 mph, but at the pointy end, the Turbo S scrabbles to 60 mph in a supercar-like 3.6-seconds. The Turbo S also tops the top speed measurement at 190 mph, and, accordingly, tops the price sheet.

With most of the thrill of Porsche's two-door sports cars, the 2013 Panamera is one of the most dynamic luxury sedans available.

Despite its 4,000-pound-plus curb weight, the Panamera is a delightful handler. Steering is light and makes the car seem almost nimble, despite a slightly overboosted, artificial feel. Porsche's advanced chassis and electronics systems help give the Panamera this sporty demeanor.

Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), and, if equipped, the Sport Chrono package, are among the chief elements of electronic wizardry. Together, these systems can manipulate damper stiffness, body roll, and yaw rates, as well as lower ride height, improve cornering grip, and adapt to suit both road and driver inputs.

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