- Incredible power and acceleration (Turbo and Turbo S)
- Excellent PDK gearbox
- Confident handling and high-speed stability
- Powerful and efficient S E-Hybrid
- Very roomy back seat
- Styling is an acquired taste
- Busy center console relies heavily on buttons
- Sometimes synthetic driving feel due to numerous aids
The 2014 Porsche Panamera adds to the desirability of an already heady mix of performance, style, and functionality.
The second-generation Porsche Panamera strikes a balance between athleticism and practicality that few cars can match. At the same time, it's luxurious and feature-packed, with an exemplary range of gasoline, diesel, and hybrid powertrains.
The latest addition to the Panamera range, new for the 2014 model year, is the S E Hybrid, a plug-in hybrid designed to leverage Porsche's engineering strengths while delivering a combination of sporty driving and surprising gas mileage.
While the Panamera's styling is an acquired taste, from its extended roofline and slightly humped back, intended to echo the 911's fastback profile, the overall effect of the Panamera's exterior is appealing and definitely Porsche--if somewhat super sized. The cabin's refined finish and sports car-like layout is welcome up front; in the rear, the effect is more like that of an executive limo, with plenty of space and features. For 2014, a complete, though mild, redesign gives a more streamlined, swept-back look thanks to revised front and rear end treatments, a shallower windshield angle, and, on Executive models, longer rear doors.
From the base and Panamera 4 models, now sporting 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque from a 3.6-liter normally aspirated V-6 engine, to the Panamera Turbo at 520 horsepower from a 4.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine, to the all-new Panamera S E-Hybrid's 416 horsepower from a 95-horsepower electric motor and 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 combo, there's plenty of pep at any point in the range, with room to upgrade for those seeking more get-up-and-go.
A new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 powers Panamera S, Panamera 4S, and Panamera 4S Executive models, rated at 420 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque.
All versions except the Panamera S E-Hybrid come standard with Porsche's PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmission with paddle-shift manual mode. The E-Hybrid gets its own eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission, also with manual-mode shift controls on the steering wheel. Porsche Traction Management active all-wheel drive with anti-slip regulation (ASR) is standard on all-wheel drive models.
As with the previous generation, there's ample cargo space inside the Panamera with the rear seats laid flat. The hatchback-like profile adds clearance for larger packages or luggage--Porsche claims two fully-assembled bicycles will fit in the rear. Fit, finish, and materials are all held to a high standard, and the driver-centric layout of the front row controls give a sporty look and feel.
As for features and electronics, Porsche offers many standard and optional systems, including standard ParkAssist distance-sensing, standard cruise control, a standard Porsche Communication Management system with 7.0-inch color touchscreen and navigation with 3D maps. A BOSE surround sound system with 14 speakers and 585 watts of total power (545 watts in Panamera S E-Hybrid models) is standard on Panamera Turbo models; an available Sport Chrono package (standard on Panamera GTS) with improved performance modes; and a range of highly adjustable power seat upgrades are also available.
On the safety front, Porsche offers a full complement of side, front, knee, and curtain airbags as standard, plus additional seat belt pre-tensioners, manual seat belt height adjustment, and LATCH child seat mounts, also standard on all models. You won't find some of the advanced safety electronics systems offered by other luxury performance sedans, such as night vision or pedestrian detection, however. The 2014 Porsche Panamera hasn't yet been crash-tested by the IIHS or NHTSA.
2014 Porsche Panamera
Updates for 2014 make the Porsche Panamera's controversial look more palatable, and the interior is undeniably beautiful.
The most noticeable changes for the 2014 update are at the nose, where wider air intakes and a more sharply radiused power dome on the hood give greater definition and a fresh feel to the Panamera's shape. At the rear, the bumper and diffuser have been re-worked to provide a greater sense of width, visually helping to flatten the slightly humped hatch area.
Inside, the Panamera's style is pure modern Porsche: if you don't like buttons, you won't like this. If you do, however, the layout is clean and highly functional, placing a lot of options that are buried in touchscreen menus in competitors at a single press of the finger in the Panamera.
2014 Porsche Panamera
The 2014 Porsche Panamera offers most of the fun of the brand's two-door sports cars, with the utility of a five-door hatch.
Under the hood, the V-8 engine previously used in S and 4S models is replaced with a new twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 that's more powerful and more efficient. Rated at 420 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque, it's ample for any sort of street driving, including hitting the Autobahn at full tilt.
The other new drivetrain is the Panamera S E-Hybrid, sporting a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine paired with an electric motor with plug-in charging capabilities. Though it's rated at 416 combined horsepower, including the output of the 95 horsepower electric motor, it doesn't feel as spry as the twin-turbo V-6 non-hybrid S models do--likely due to a gain of about 550 pounds for the hybrid system and 9.4-kWh battery pack. Nevertheless, it's quite quick for a hybrid, and despite the added weight, Porsche's suspension tuning brilliance shines through. The S E-hybrid is also capable of 22 miles (claimed) of all-electric range at speeds of up to 83 mph, and recharges from a 240-volt outlet with the provided charger in about two and a half hours. The E-Charge system can charge the batteries while driving, using power from the gasoline engine, as well.
For the drivers out there, the Panamera GTS is the pick of Porsche's four-door range, retaining its potent and throaty 4.8-liter V-8 engine (good for 440 horsepower and 384 pound-feet of torque for 2014), all-wheel drive, and the best steering of the Panamera range--the last of which is immediately noticeable when switching between models, with the GTS losing any sense of over-boosted floatiness for a solid, connected, if not overly communicative, feel.
Turbo models get a 520-horsepower twin-turbo version of the 4.8-liter V-8, and while it's more powerful and undeniably quicker than the GTS in a straight line, it's a more relaxed driving experience.
The base Panamera keeps its 3.6-liter V-6 engine, rated at 310 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It's the slowest Panamera, clocking 6.0-second 0-60 mph times with rear drive (5.7 seconds with Sport Chrono) or 5.8 seconds with all-wheel drive in the Panamera 4 (5.5 seconds with Sport Chrono). The Panamera S cuts acceleration times to 4.9 seconds (4.6 with Sport Chrono) and the 4S manages 4.6 seconds (4.3 with Sport Chrono). Adding the 5.9-inch wheelbase (and attendant weight) of the Executive to the 4S adds two tenths of a second back to the 0-60 mph time. The GTS is the second-quickest of the Panamera range, hitting 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds, 0.3 seconds behind the Panamera Turbo, which Porsche lists at 3.9 seconds (or 3.7 seconds with Sport Chrono). The S E-Hybrid slots right about in the middle of the range, hitting 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.
Whichever model you choose, the Panamera's chassis remains an able basis, delivering better handling than you'd expect from its 4,000-pound-plus curb weight. The strong basis is aided by Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC), and, if equipped, the Sport Chrono package, which add electronic enhancement that improves handling as well as safety.
In addition to improving efficiency at the root with the engines themselves, Porsche offers automatic stop-start and a new coasting function. PDK seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions are standard on all models except the S E-Hybrid, which uses an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
2014 Porsche Panamera
Comfort & Quality
A new Executive model adds to the already roomy rear seat, while the well-appointed cabin and ample cargo area continue the Panamera's strong blend of utility and speed.
Already roomy and spacious in its first iteration, the revamped 2014 Porsche Panamera's cabin grows nearly 5 inches in Executive form, available on 4S and Turbo models. This extended-wheelbase option is clearly aimed at the executive sedan crowd, and while it doesn't offer quite the level of rear-seat amenities of the Mercedes-Benz S Class or BMW 7-Series, those who are drivers at heart, or who simply wish to stand out from the crowd--while remaining classy--may find the Panamera an attractive alternative.
The rear seats, even in non-Executive models, are still spacious and comfortable. Entry and exit is easy despite the fastback-like profile. In Executive form, there's more room to recline as well as more leg room, thanks to modifications to the seat back.
Behind those rear seats, and under the hatch, there's a surprising amount of cargo space. Fold down the rear seats and it improves further, just as it does with any five-door hatch.
Up front, the seats are comfortable, with a driver-focused dash that still allows the passenger adequate access to the touchscreen and other controls. Headroom, legroom, and hip and shoulder room all meet the demands of six-footers and 200-plus-pounders, so few are likely to find the space constricting.
Fit, finish, and materials throughout the cabin are what you'd expect of the Panamera's roughly $78,000-$160,000 price points, though if you poke and prod at the less-accessible parts of the cabin (around the B-pillars, and below the knee-line) you'll find quite a bit of hard plastic.
Ride quality is very good, thanks in part to the PASM and PDCC systems explained in more detail in the Performance section of this review, which adapt to the road surface to deliver a balance of comfort and handling.
2014 Porsche Panamera
The 2014 Porsche Panamera hasn't yet been crash-tested, but it offers a strong complement of standard and available safety features.
Given the Panamera's strong set of standard safety equipment, including dual front, side, knee, and side-curtain airbags, and an active pop-up hood for pedestrian protection, however, the Panamera should be confidence inspiring.
Active safety features grow for 2014, with the addition of an available Surround View 360-degree display for parking and low-speed maneuvering in tight situations, as well as lane departure warning. Adaptive cruise control with Porsche Active Safe is also available.
Available all-wheel drive (standard on some variants) enhances traction in inclement weather, or anytime grip is low, while Porsche's various electronic aids further help keep the vehicle on the driver's intended path.
2014 Porsche Panamera
With new camera- and radar-based safety features and upgraded rear-seat equipment in Executive models, the 2014 Panamera takes a step closer to its full-size luxury rivals.
A new Porsche Car Connect app, standard on Panamera S E-Hybrid models and available on all others, enables remote access to the car in three ways: Remote Services, which offers information on the car; Porsche Vehicle Tracking; and hybrid-specific E-Mobility Services; as well as other remote vehicle functions.
Camera and radar-based features added for 2014 include lane departure warning and Surround View cameras (both optional). Adaptive cruise control with Porsche Active Safe is also available, helping keep a proper following distance during cruising and aiding braking in emergency situations.
Bi-xenon headlights are standard on all models, with optional LED headlights introduced for 2014. The Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus comes with the LED headlights, adapting to oncoming traffic to keep from blinding other drivers. Four-point daytime running lights are also included with the LED package.
Inside the Panamera, new colors and two-tone combinations are available for 2014, and a new Executive long-wheelbase option is added for Panamera 4S and Turbo models. The Executive extends the wheelbase by 5.9 inches, growing leg room by 4.7 inches while increasing the recline angle of the electronically adjustable rear seat. Three-stage heated and ventilated seats are standard, with front and rear controls, matching four-zone automatic climate control for individual comfort.
An available Burmester sound system is a smart upgrade, delivering crisp, clear audio--a noticeable upgrade over the standard system. The Sport Chrono package adds performance-focused features as well as a dash-mounted multi-function timer/clock.
A wide range of available exterior and interior colors and combinations are available, as well as wood, aluminum, and carbon fiber trim elements. In fact, the Panamera is a highly configurable car; the only caveat is to be wary of the bottom line as you tick boxes--the price can grow more quickly than you might expect.
2014 Porsche Panamera
The Porsche Panamera range manages a fair balance between efficiency and performance, but gas misers will want to investigate the S E-Hybrid.
The base Panamera uses a V-6 engine to score 18 mpg city, 28 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined per the EPA. The somehwat sportier Panamera S scores 17/27/21 mpg. With all-wheel drive, the Panamera 4 rates 18/27/22 mpg. The higher-performance Panamera 4S downsizes the V-6 and adds a turbo to yield EPA ratings of 17/27/21 mpg, while the long-wheelbase Panamera 4S Executive scores just slightly lower at 17/26/20 mpg.
Moving up to the driver's choice, the Panamera GTS scores 16 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined. The high-tech Panamera S-E Hybrid is rated two ways: with electric-only and gasoline-hybrid mode combined, it scores 50 mpg combined city/highway; in gasoline-only mode, it rates a combined score of 25 mpg.
The high-performance Panamera Turbo dips only slightly in EPA ratings in comparison to its non-hybrid counterparts, at 15 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined. Kicking up the performance to Panamera Turbo S levels yields the same 15/24/18 mpg gas mileage, as does opting for the long-wheelbase version of the Panamera Turbo S.
Taken in the full context of its performance, size, and equipment level, the Panamera is not precisely efficient, but it's not the worst offender at the pump, either.