- Any-speed composure
- Decadent interior
- Practical (!)
- Marvelous engines, every one
- Sport Turismo is a looker
- Phenomenally expensive
- Optional fifth seat is useless
- Overwhelming lineup
features & specs
It’s expensive, but the Porsche Panamera proves that old saw about getting what you pay for.
No longer considered sacrilegious, the five-door Porsche Panamera has earned its place in the Porsche lineup as the family-style 911. It’ll dance along roads with much of the same aplomb as that iconic sports car, but it’ll do so while carrying twice as many people and all their luggage to boot.
That everyday usability along with the full dose of typical Porsche performance earns the 2020 Porsche Panamera a 7.2 out of 10 on our scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
If you want one, be sure to set aside a weekend to scrutinize all the available flavors of Panamera. Two wheelbases, two body styles, multiple powertrains, and the usual potpourri of Porsche trims all abound. In total Porsche sells 15 different Panameras.
The price gap is just as broad, stretching from just under six figures to well over a quarter-million dollars. Horsepower tallies are no less impressive, either. There’s the 330-hp base models and the mid-level 440-hp S and 453-hp GTS. Up top sits the venerable 550-hp Turbo. The Turbo S-E Hybrid doles out 677 hp in a semi-environmentally-conscious way.
Whatever mix-and-match combination you build with regard to wheelbases and engine choices, the Panamera offers an exceedingly comfortable ride. This is true whether you’re doing triple digits down the autobahn or just taking some pockmarked backroad home from work.
While you’re rocketing along in this long-legged cruise missile, there’s plenty of time to enjoy the features and technology that are plentiful throughout the cabin. Even base models get a 12.3-inch center touchscreen and two 7.0-inch screens in place of an analog gauge cluster. The Panamera has standard leather upholstery, navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Options include carbon-ceramic brakes, fancy leathers, and the classic Sport Chrono package.
Most trims use a 2+2 seating arrangement. On the wagon-esque Sport Turismo there’s an optional rear bench seat. It’s narrow, but it’ll do in a pinch. There’s also the lavish long-wheelbase model that adds six inches of leg room.
Perhaps the most incredible thing is that across the whole Panamera spectrum there’s not a bad choice in the litter. Whether you’re buying a base, rear-wheel-drive Panamera or a top-shelf Turbo model, this hatchback delivers the driving dynamics, interior quality, and definitive style that has long separated Porsche from lesser products. It’s the most well-rounded, finest-driving executive car out there.
2020 Porsche Panamera
The 2020 Porsche Panamera delivers a great riff on a classic design.
The 2020 Porsche Panamera wears the second-generation style that seems to have thoroughly studied the Audi A7 playbook. Styling is much more elegant than it used to be, thanks to a more gently curving roofline that looks more thought-out than the frog-like appearance of the first-generation model. We give it a 9 out of 10.
Look closer and the 911-inspired details emerge in the sculpted haunches, the full-width LED taillights, the subtly peaked fenders. All of it looks like a 911 massaged into a larger form—which, essentially, was the primary directive of the Panamera program. The lineage is there for all to see, and the brand’s design language is equally apparent.
The real beauty queen in the lineup, though, is the Sport Turismo model. It’s about as close to a Porsche wagon as we’re ever likely going to get, though it’s still technically a hatchback. We find the longer, straighter roof visually lengthens and lowers the car, giving it a sleek and lethal look that’s totally appropriate for this kind of high-speed cruiser.
Inside, the Panamera also leans on the 911 for inspiration. There’s the telltale tall, upward-sloping console and the flat-across dashboard with only a small binnacle for the dual 7.0-inch digital gauge clusters and analog tachometer. A slick,12.3-inch touchscreen setup for infotainment blends in seamlessly into the middle of the dash. The look is restrained, dapper, and upscale—in other words, completely Porsche.
2020 Porsche Panamera
The 2020 Porsche Panamera lets drivers pick from an impressive array of performance hardware.
If Porsche takes one thing seriously, it’s performance. Not a car escapes from Stuttgart without the chops to reinforce Porsche’s reputation for driving excellence. Tha Panamera is no exception. We give it a 9 out of 10 for performance.
We’ve driven about half of the available models in the Panamera range, including the base 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 that makes 330 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque. In base RWD form it can scoot to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds; that time drops to 5.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package—who knew adding a timepiece to a car can make it go faster—and finally down to 5.0 seconds in all-wheel-drive models equipped with the Sport Chrono pack.
For a base engine, there’s nothing particularly base about that 330-horse V-6. Nonetheless we do prefer the next engine up in the pecking order, which is the 440-horse twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6 used in the 4S trim. It does an excellent job of motivating the Panamera, thanks in large part to the fact that its full 405 lb-ft of torque is available from 1,750 to 5,500 rpm. Translation: mash the throttle at just about any given moment and you’ll be thrust back into your seat as the Panamera bounds forward like a golden retriever after a tossed ball.
For a little more gumption there’s the new-for-last-year GTS, which uses a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. In terms of power this engine isn’t too far removed from the 4S: its 453 hp is just 13 more than the twin-turbo V-6. Torque is rated at 457 lb-ft, which is a 52 lb-ft gain.
But if you know about engines, you know the adage about no replacement for displacement. That sentiment comes to mind with this engine. This V-8 has a feel that’s all its own, and though it's heavier than the V-6 in the 4S, it feels more alive and high-strung. It can tackle a 0-60 mph run in just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 181 mph is attainable.
If that still sounds weak-chested, the venerable Turbo model turns up the wick on that 4.0-liter V-8 until it churns out 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. For all that power, it doesn’t have the untamed, raw feel of a muscle car. Instead it’s composed and progressive, with the power coming on in a linear, predictable fashion. It seems to know what kind of machine the Panamera is intended to be and behaves appropriately. Still, if you let its hair down you can hit 60 mph in 3.4 seconds and ultimately reach 190 mph.
With all these engines you get an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission, known as PDK in Porsche parlance. Typical of the dual-clutch design, it can bang off shifts with incredible speed both when triggered by the paddle shifters mounted behind the steering wheel or when left to its own devices. The only niggle we have with this gearbox is its tendency to occasionally stumble at low speeds—a common trait with all dual-clutch transmissions.
Included with all Panameras are multi-mode adaptive dampers. In their firmest setting the car becomes noticeably stiffer but the ride doesn’t get jittery. Dial it to the soft side of things and the Panamera gives a buttery ride that cradles passengers. There’s also the available Porsche Active Suspension Management system, or PASM, which lowers the Panamera slightly and allows for individual damping adjustments at each wheel.
Another worthwhile upgrade is the available rear-steer system. By turning the wheels in tandem with the fronts or opposite of them, the system can either increase stability or maneuverability. In cars so equipped you can feel the difference, and it does help to make the Panamera’s considerable bulk more manageable.
In a nod to the times, the Panamera has branched out from internal combustion engines to include a pair of hybrid gas-electric powertrains. Known as the E-Hybrid line, these Panameras are pairing an electric propulsion setup to either the V-6 from the 4S or the V-8 found in the Turbo model; those with the V-6 are known as the 4 E-Hybrid, and those with the V-8 are the Turbo S E-Hybrid.
The more approachable, both in price and performance, is the 4 E-Hybrid. It makes 462 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque and will run a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.4 seconds. The Sport Chrono pack is standard, which gives it the launch control necessary to replicate those numbers. When you’re not flat-footing it, there’s an available 30 miles of electric-only range. It’ll also reach 186 mph in electric mode, but don’t expect to run along at that speed for 30 miles.
The E-Hybrid comes with the usual Sport and Sport+ modes which are part and parcel of the Sport Chrono package, but it also includes a few modes unique to the hybrid: the Hybrid Auto mode, E-Power mode, E-Hold mode, and E-Charge mode all are exclusive to the E-Hybrid lineup.
If you drain the battery, it’ll take nearly 13 hours to recharge using a standard house outlet. If you’re fast charging on a 240-volt outlet that time drops to just about 2.5 hours. It’ll cost extra for the proper high-voltage charging hardware, though.
The Turbo S E-Hybrid is for those who demand the pinnacle of performance and technology. Pairing the 4.0-liter V-8 from the Turbo with some lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor makes nets a total of 680 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque. These are impressive numbers outright, and because all that torque is available from a standstill it’ll practically push you into the back seat during acceleration.
In the transition to hybridized propulsion, the Panamera didn’t lose any of the traits that make it such an enjoyable executive sedan. The crisp and communicative steering remains, as does the nimbleness that is downright surprising for a car that’s nearly 200 inches long and 5,000 pounds. If you want the finest-driving, highest-performing big luxury sedan around, this is it.
2020 Porsche Panamera
Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Panamera is comfortable and practical, and makes a fine stand-in for your 911 when you must bring along more than one passenger and a shared duffel bag.
The Panamera is more than a driver’s car—it’s a usable piece of transportation that can be driven daily. The excellence of the front seats and the generous cargo space earn it a 7 out of 10.
Yes, the front seats are that good. They quickly endeared themselves to us thanks to their well-supportive bolsters, ergonomic shape, and multi-way adjustability. They sit low, a la the 911, but the low hood and big windshield make it easy to see out.
The back seat isn’t a bad place to spend time, either. The standard setup is a pair of outboard seats with a center console in between. Sport Turismo models get a fifth seat, but it’s hardly usable thanks to the high driveline hump that forces the middle rider to splay their legs outwards and a high seating position that kills any hope of head room. It’s best to stick with the four-seat arrangement.
The long-wheelbase variant adds 6 inches of leg room to the rear. It doesn’t help with the sloping roofline that eats into head room or the oddly-shaped doors that can make ingress and egress awkward. It is perfect for shuttling around your local basketball players, though.
The Sport Turismo, with its wagon-esque shape, is a better hauler than the standard model, but not by much. It can tote 18.3 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats and up to 49 cubic feet with the second row folded down. The standard model is good for 17.4 and 46 cubic feet, respectively.
There’s a few nitpicks to be had with the interior, such as some shiny black plastic switches and stalks that are out of place on a car that can stretch into the quarter-million-dollar price range. But overall it is comfortable and well-built, and a fine place to whittle away time spent on the road.
2020 Porsche Panamera
With no crash-test data to its credit, it’s impossible to give the Panamera a score for safety.
The Panamera has yet to be crash-tested. Without data, we abstain from assigning a safety rating.
Standard safety equipment includes forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking. Optional equipment includes active lane control, adaptive cruise control, and automatic parking assistance. If you want to really get fancy, there’s also a Night Vision Assistant that sees pedestrians and animals using a thermal imaging camera; once it recognizes them it will alert the driver. All this optional equipment is available as part of the $5,400 Assistance Package.
Porsche's InnoDrive is a driver-assist set of features that works by combining adaptive cruise control, navigation data, and signals from radar and video sensors. By amassing the data from all these inputs it can take over acceleration, deceleration and gear changing for 1.8 miles.
We’ll be sure to update this section if the Panamera undergoes crash tests.
2020 Porsche Panamera
It’s not a Porsche if it doesn’t take hours to tick off the options list.
Porsche holds to a formula with their cars: price them high, endow them with a decent—but not great—amount of standard features, and make all the real luxury goodies optional on nearly every trim level. The Panamera is no exception, and we’ve given it a 7 out of 10 for features. It gets boosted here for an excellent infotainment system, standard features, and the high level of personalization that it offers buyers. It loses a point for how fast the price balloons once you add in even just a few desirable options.
The Panamera costs $88,550 in base form, but good luck finding one of those on a dealer lot. If you do come across one, you'll find it comes with leather-trimmed upholstery, a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation, smartphone integration, and power front seats. The $3,860 Premium Package adds to that blind-spot monitors, more power adjustment for the front seats, Bose audio, and keyless ignition. Soft-close doors, LED headlights, and heated and cooled front seats are available for $2,400.
Up a notch is the Panamera 4. It costs $92,150 and is equipped much like the base model. From there a long-wheel base Executive costs $98,850, while a 4 E-Hybrid is $104,150. The 4S and Turbo are $105,250 and $152,750, respectively. The final big jump is to the Turbo S E-Hybrid, which starts at $187,450; with all the options this number can jump to $270,000. Affordable the Panamera is not.
Options abound across all of these trims. Some of the more notable choices include bespoke paint schemes, five-figure wheel choices, optional leather-covered everything—including the key fob—and a 21-speaker Burmester audio system, among other things.
2020 Porsche Panamera
Hybrid technology helps counter the Panamera’s general thirst for fuel.
The Porsche Panamera does pretty well for its size and heft, especially the E-Hybrid models. But the more popular powertrains aren’t quite as stellar, so we give the Panamera a 4 out of 10 for economy.
Base rear-drive models are rated for 19 mpg city, 27 highway, 22 combined. All-wheel-drive examples drop the highway rating by 1 mpg. The 4S is rated at 18/26/21 mpg, and the GTS at 16/23/19 mpg. The Turbo is good for 18/25/21 mpg.
The E-Hybrid range is decidedly better than the gas-only fleet. The 4 E-Hybrid is good for 51 MPGe when running on electricity and 23 mpg combined under usual gas-electric circumstances. The Turbo S E-Hybrid is a bit worse at 48 MPGe and 20 mpg combined, but that’s still darn impressive for such a fast and capable car.