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- Enviable composure
- Wide range of engines
- Beautiful inside
- Surprisingly utilitarian
- New Sport Turismo stands out
- Phenomenally expensive
- Not a total knockout outside
- Perhaps too many choices?
- Not comfortable for five
The 2018 Porsche Panamera is a worthy four-seater for the vaunted Porsche badge.
The 2018 Porsche Panamera does nearly all the things all the time—and even more this year. It’s the 911 of sedans, just as Porsche intended it to be, and in our eyes it rates 8.4 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
There are a staggering 15 models from which to choose: base cars, all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 and 4S cars, long-wheelbase Executive cars, Turbos, 4 E-Hybrids, and Turbo S E-Hybrids, some of which are available as Sport Turismos.
For 2018, Porsche filled out the Panamera lineup with a bevvy of new models that start under $90,000, but in true Porsche fashion can rise to triple that. The range begins at an impressive enough 330 horsepower in the new Panamera and all-wheel drive Panamera 4. From there, the S models boast 440 hp and can hit 60 mph from a stop in as little as 4.0 seconds. The Panamera Turbo ups things to 550 hp from its boosted V-8.
Consider the Panamera E-Hybrid’s two offerings as distinctly different beasts. The lineup goes from the 462-hp Panamera 4 E-Hybrid that can travel upwards of 30 miles on only electricity to the flagship, the 918 Spyder-inspired Turbo S E-Hybrid with 680 ponies under its long hood.
Simply put, there’s now a Panamera for everyone with six figures or more to spend.
From the A-pillar forward, they all pretty much look the same aside from different wheels and an available sport body kit. The last generation Panamera’s mushy styling has been cast aside in favor of a cohesive look with Cayenne-like headlights and a long hoodline. From the side, the standard sedan—which really has a hatchback— is toned and sinewy, with nary a wasted line. There’s a hint of Porsche’s traditional flared hips out back as the tail works its way into a thin strip of red LEDs emblazoned with the Porsche logo.
This year’s new Sport Turismo doesn’t discard with any of that heritage-laced style, instead pushing the roofline up ever-so-slightly and out well over the rear axle. The look suggests shooting brake more than station wagon, but it’s not really either. But you’re buying the Sport Turismo, which is available only in certain powertrain combinations, because you want to and not because you’re expecting gobs of utility. Its boot only holds about a shoebox worth of additional cargo over the standard Panamera.
What’s good news is that the Sport Turismo doesn’t have any adverse impact on the Panamera’s inherently brilliant ride and handling. All models we’ve driven are beautifully composed and compliant as daily drivers, even the range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid.
Rear-wheel drive Panameras exist for those in, say, Miami or Los Angeles, but all but the base model shuttle power to all four corners with a quickness via an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission that Porsche calls PDK. An axle with integrated rear-wheel steering is on the options list and it’s probably worth the coin. Not only does it shrink this big four-door’s turning circle, it aids highway stability and makes it feel far more composed and confident on a twisty road. Carbon ceramic brakes are also on the options list, but try before you buy: they’re otherworldly powerful, but they can be a burden in town and boast phenomenally high running costs, even for a Porsche.
Inside, it’s screens galore: twin 7.0-inch screens make up the instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch tablet-like display holds court in the center stack. Conventional models boast seating for just four, although there’s not really a bad throne in the house. The Panamera Executive with its longer wheelbase adds about 6 inches of rear-seat leg room. Sport Turismos can be ordered with either four-place seating or a new 4+1 package that discards the rear-seat center console in favor of a very narrow, high-riding middle seat. If you routinely carry five, perhaps pick a different vehicle.
Predictably, the Panamera starts off well-equipped at around $86,000 for the base, rear-drive sedan. But Porsche knows that you’ll spend so much time configuring your own that they’ve equipped dealers with small samples of each paint color and upholstery choice. Nearly every surface can be swathed in something that feels like a million bucks.
The Car Connection Consumer Review
- RWD $85,000
- AWD 4 $89,600
- Sport Turismo AWD 4 $96,200
- AWD 4 Executive $96,300
- AWD 4 E-Hybrid $99,600
- AWD 4S $103,000
- Sport Turismo AWD 4 E-Hybrid $104,000
- AWD 4 Executive E-Hybrid $104,100
- Sport Turismo AWD 4S $109,200
- AWD 4S Executive $113,900
- AWD Turbo $150,000
- Sport Turismo AWD Turbo $154,000
- AWD Turbo Executive $160,000
- AWD Turbo S E-Hybrid $184,400
- Sport Turismo AWD Turbo S E-Hybrid $188,400
- AWD Turbo S Executive E-Hybrid $194,800