The Porsche Panamera is many things. It's controversial, since anything other than a sports car is going to put Porsche purists' undies in a twist. It's polarizing because, well, have you seen the thing? And yes, the Panamera is also quite expensive. But ultimately, the Porsche Panamera is a magnificent grand tourer that strikes an impressive middle ground between practicality and driving thrills.
Current Porsche Panamera
The Panamera, Porsche's first four-door sedan, slots between midsize and full-size luxury sedans in terms of size. This sizing grants the Panamera a surprisingly spacious two-person backseat plus a decent amount of luggage space underneath the rear hatchback.
The model lineup includes the base Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera S, Panamera 4S and Turbo models. The base and Panamera 4 are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The S models get a 4.8-liter V8 developing 400 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The Turbo ups the ante with a twin-turbocharged variant cranking out 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, but with the Panamera Turbo Kit, that's upped to 540 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. Or you could get the Turbo S trim, which produces 550 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque (which gets bumped up to 590 lb-ft with an overboost function.)
Power is transmitted through Porsche's seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automated transmission on all models. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the base Panamera and the S, while power flows to all four corners on the 4, 4S and Turbo. In an effort to improve fuel economy, both V8s feature a start-stop capability that imperceptibly shuts down the engine when the car stops and restarts it when the driver releases the brakes.
If that's not green enough for you, the Panamera S Hybrid features a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and an electric motor to produce 375 hp and 427 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed traditional automatic transmission is used. Despite its ample power, the Hybrid returns better fuel economy than the base Panamera V6.
Inside the cabin, the Panamera boasts a multifunction touchscreen, and dual-zone climate control is standard, with a four-zone system available as an option. The driver gets a center-mounted tachometer and a passel of console buttons for managing a multitude of functions. Behind the front seats is a pair of rear seats divided by a console. The seats easily accommodate 6-footers and can be equipped with power adjustments as well as heated and ventilated functionality. Unusually for a high-end luxury sedan, the Panamera's seatbacks fold forward to create a flat cargo floor and about 44 cubic feet of space.
On the move, the Porsche Panamera is simply striking. The combination of ample power, super-quick shifts from the PDK gearbox, PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) and PDCC (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control) creates a sport sedan with no equal. The Panamera Turbo hits 60 mph in less than 4 seconds and continues to a maximum speed of 188 mph, and the naturally aspirated models aren't too far behind. Despite its 2-ton curb weight, the Panamera can still tackle a twisting road with greater speed and composure than any of its rivals.
In this exclusive segment, it all comes down to personal preference. Large luxury sedans from Mercedes-Benz and BMW might have the edge in traditional passenger-oriented comfort, and the Maserati Quattroporte outdoes the Porsche with its classically beautiful lines. But the Porsche Panamera combines luxury-sedan accoutrements and exceptional performance in a single package unlike any other.
Read the most recent 2014 Porsche Panamera review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Porsche Panamera page.