When it comes to Porsche, fast is the name of the game. And so when the company released the Porsche Panamera sedan, car guys with families or wives everywhere rejoiced, winced after seeing it and then, upon driving the absolutely-a-Porsche sedan, went back to a sort of half-hearted squinty rejoice.
And then Porsche went and muddied the waters and appeased the CAFE gods by stuffing a 3.6-liter V6 into the otherwise killer four-door. Sure, it makes 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, which is routed through a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung transmission to the rear wheels, but it's a V6 in an automatic Porsche! And it's water-cooled! And it's rated by the EPA at 18 mpg city and 27 highway. Not only does this luxury barge hit nearly 30 mpg highway, but it's the only Panamera not subject to the gas-guzzler tax. But when you've got nearly $20,000 in options on a $74,400 car, does that matter?
All nice, but does this thing even drive like a Porsche? We took a 2011 Porsche Panamera V6 to the track to find out.
Vehicle: 2011 Porsche Panamera
Driver: Chris Walton
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Seven-speed auto-clutch manual
Engine Type: 3.6 liter naturally aspirated V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,605 / 220
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 300 @ 6,200
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 295 @ 3,750
Brake Type (front): 14.17-inch ventilated disc with six-piston fixed calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.99-inch ventilated disc with four-piston fixed calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent double-wishbones, coil springs, driver-adjustable variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, driver-adjustable variable dampers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): 255/40ZR20 101Y
Tire Size (rear): 295/35ZR20 105Y
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Pilot Sport PS2
Tire Type: Summer Performance
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 4,025 (52% front)
0-30 (sec): 2.3
0-45 (sec): 3.8
0-60 (sec): 5.8
0-75 (sec): 8.4
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.0 @ 98.4
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 5.4
30-0 (ft): 28
60-0 (ft): 110
Slalom (mph): 69.7 (Stability on: 68.5)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.94 (stability on: 0.94)
Db @ Idle: 31.4
Db @ Full Throttle: 82.8
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 65.8
RPM @ 70: 1,800
Acceleration Comments: In normal drive, the car allows quite a lot of wheelspin even with traction control on. In "launch" mode (sport plus and two-pedals) there's obviously some clutch feathering and short-shifting happening; however, it works very well. Be that as it may, you only get one or two launches before the clutch gets hot and unhappy and launch mode no longer works.
Braking: Solid pedal, minimal dive, excellent fade resistance. Fast-cycling ABS with no hum or vibration at all.
Handling: Skid pad: Gentle understeer at the limit, but the limit is quite high. Steering is light but informative with ESC on. I couldn't detect any corrections, so either the parameters weren't violated for intrusion, or the corrections were very slight. Slalom: Even in Sport Plus, it takes some time for the chassis to take a set, but once it does, it's solid and predictable with quick reflexes-- especially given the size of this sedan.