2011 Porsche Panamera Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive cornering ability
  • engine choices from willing to thrilling
  • comfortable ride
  • beautiful cabin quality.
  • Only four seats
  • pricey options.
List Price Range
$28,790 - $32,000

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The Porsche Panamera extends its lineup for 2011 with two new V6-powered models, an optional turbocharger kit for more power and a few optional cosmetic enhancements.

Vehicle overview

The Porsche Panamera's freshman year is over and any initial doubts about its future have been laid to rest. First, it is a "real" Porsche, and second, it's a real success, too. Not only has the Panamera been a critical success but also it has proven itself a sales success. We think these accolades are well founded, as we rank the 2011 Porsche Panamera very highly among luxury sedans.

Our adoration begins with the Panamera's broad appeal, because this four-door Porsche truly can be everything to everybody. First, the Panamera can accommodate four full-sized adults with exceptional comfort, as its interior space, materials and design give passengers the feeling that they're traveling in a private jet rather than touring the interstate.

Second, the Panamera delivers astounding levels of performance for driving enthusiasts. Acceleration from the V8-powered Panamera is impressive, while the performance of the Turbo model is downright shocking. The car's handling limits are also surprising, as it corners like a much smaller sports car. Even the ride quality doesn't suffer, as this athletic sedan can insulate its occupants from the travails of the outside world just like a fine luxury car.

Porsche hasn't taken time off to enjoy the fruits of the Panamera's success, as new models of the sedan debut for 2011. The V6-powered Panamera and Panamera 4 optimize fuel efficiency, and in fact these two cars not only increase EPA-estimated fuel economy but also are exempt from the federal gas-guzzler tax. So while these Panamera V6 models share many of the interior components of the Panamera V8 models, the savings over the V8 models on the price tag amount to more than $15,000.

Perfection is an illusion, however, and the big Porsche does have a few marks against it. The Panamera only seats four, while its competition -- the 2011 BMW 7-Series, 2011 Maserati Quattroporte or 2011 Mercedes-Benz S-Class -- can seat five. Also, the price skyrockets as buyers add options. But these faults do little to tarnish the Panamera's impressive shine.

2011 Porsche Panamera models

The 2011 Porsche Panamera is a four-passenger, four-door hatchback that is offered in five trim levels that each corresponds to a drivetrain choice. The base rear-wheel-drive Panamera is powered by a V6 and includes 18-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, a power rear hatch, dual-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, eight-way power front seats, driver memory functions, a cooled glovebox, heated front seats, leather upholstery, a 60/40-split rear seatback and rear bucket seats. Also standard are a hard-drive-based navigation system and an 11-speaker CD audio system. The Panamera 4 differs only in that it has all-wheel drive.

The V8-powered Panamera S and all-wheel-drive 4S are appointed similarly to the V6 models.

The Panamera Turbo adds a turbocharged V8, 19-inch wheels, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, adaptive air suspension with load-leveling and adjustable ride height, front parking sensors, keyless ignition/entry, 14-way power front seats and adjustable lumbar support, expanded driver memory functions, a power-adjustable steering column, heated rear seats, a full leather interior, a microfiber suede headliner and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.

In typical Porsche tradition, a very lengthy and expensive list of options allows buyers to easily customize the cars. For example, other than its engine, all of the Turbo's extra features are available on the S and 4S.

Other options include ceramic-composite brakes, variable-assist power steering, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (adaptive antiroll bars and a limited-slip rear differential), 20-inch wheels, a rear wiper, ventilated front and rear seats, eight-way power rear seats (switches seat-folding to 40/20/40), adaptive sport front seats that include adjustable side bolsters, "ruffled" leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, rear sunshades, rear ambient lighting, a rear-seat refrigerator, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, voice control, a rear-seat entertainment system, satellite radio, an iPod interface, a six-disc CD/DVD changer and a 16-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system.

The Sport Chrono Package Plus adds analog and digital stopwatches and adjustable engine and suspension settings. The Sport Design package dresses up the Panamera's exterior with a special front fascia with wider intake grilles and side skirts. There are also countless ways to customize practically every interior surface with different shades of leather, wood, metal, carbon fiber and paint.

2011 Highlights

The Porsche Panamera extends its lineup for 2011 with two new V6-powered models, an optional turbocharger kit for more power and a few optional cosmetic enhancements.

Performance & mpg

The Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 are powered by a front-mounted 3.6-liter V6 that produces 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The Porsche Panamera S and 4S receive a 4.8-liter V8 good for 400 hp and 369 pound-feet of torque. The Panamera Turbo gets a twin-turbocharged version of the same V8 for a grand total of 500 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. An optional Panamera Turbo Kit adds titanium alloy turbines and engine management tweaks, boosting the Panamera Turbo's output to 540 hp and 590 lb-ft.

Every Panamera is equipped with a ZF-engineered seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission, a device known as the Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK). The Panamera and Panamera S offer rear-wheel drive, while the Panamera 4, 4S and Turbo are equipped with all-wheel drive.

In recent testing by Edmunds, the Panamera 4S impressed us with an acceleration run from a standstill to 60 mph in only 4.6 seconds. The Panamera Turbo had us positively awestruck, as it needed only 3.7 seconds to reach the same speed. We were equally surprised by the Panamera 4S's handling prowess at our test track, where it produced a slalom run at 68.4 mph and circled the skid pad with 0.96g of cornering grip. The Turbo turned in a 70.2 mph slalom run and registered 0.92g on the skid pad.

Fuel economy is likely not a primary concern to buyers in this market segment, but one notable item in the Panamera's list of features is an auto start/stop feature (something normally associated only with hybrid vehicles) that reduces fuel consumption by shutting off the engine whenever the car comes to a stop and then restarting it automatically when you're ready to go again. The EPA estimates fuel consumption at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined for the base Panamera, while the Panamera 4 makes 18 mpg city/26 highway. The Panamera S and 4S are both rated at 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway, while the Panamera Turbo achieves only 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway.


Every 2011 Porsche Panamera comes standard with antilock brakes (with brake assist), stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Ceramic-composite brakes and a rearview camera are optional. With the standard brakes, both the Panamera 4S and Turbo models stopped from 60 mph in incredibly short distances: 109 feet and 111 feet, respectively.


The 2011 Porsche Panamera is an accomplished, luxurious grand touring car as well as an engaging, highly capable high-performance car. Drivers can select several driving modes to fit their particular preferences. In Normal mode, the Panamera feels as soft and leisurely as any European flagship sedan. Engaging full Sport mode -- depending on options and trim level -- sharpens nearly every aspect of the driving dynamics, including throttle response, suspension firmness and ride height.

The V8-powered Panamera is capable of incredible performance. Steering is precise and handling is comparable to much smaller sports cars. Power can be served up with muscle-car wallops or in measured increments. The PDK transmission fires off gearchanges with urgency when pedaling the accelerator hard, or with fluid transitions when cruising leisurely down the highway. Yes, the Porsche Panamera does truly deliver the best of both worlds: sports car and sedan.


From the driver seat, there's no mistaking the Panamera's interior for anything but a Porsche, because styling cues from the Porsche 911 echo throughout the cabin. The tachometer is centered in the instrument cluster and flanked by the speedometer, a multifunction display and supporting gauges.

The Panamera lacks a centralized control system like BMW's iDrive, and as a result, there are more than 80 buttons and knobs littering the cockpit. Fortunately, these buttons are logically grouped and placed, and after time, operation becomes intuitive. Some might even find the multitude of controls preferred to shuffling through onscreen menus.

All four seats are similar in appearance and comfort. These well-formed seats provide excellent levels of support when cornering as well as plenty of comfort to enable long-distance touring. The rear quarters afford enough room for even taller adults, and the seats can be fitted with options to make them not just power-adjustable but also heated and cooled. The trunk can hold an impressive 15.7 cubic feet (15.2 cubic feet with the Turbo) and 44.6 cubes with the rear seats folded flat. The hatch opening is a bit narrow and the cargo bed is high, complicating the loading of bulkier items.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2011 Porsche Panamera.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Pure Porsche, But Evolved
4 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 7AM)
This is my fourth Porsche vehicle: Boxster, Carrera, Cayenne, and now this. All Porsche, yet all different. The car is deeply impressive and engaging. It compares favorably against cars costing twice as much, or more. Handling, cockpit features, design, power, etc. -- all top-notch. I think the Panamera is now the one to beat in the 4 door sports luxury category. Most people would be concerned that the V6 would be less-than-powerful. I drove both this and the S model, and came away preferring the V6 -- lighter, more nimble, and the engine was more responsive than the heavy V8. The looks have been criticized, but I don't see the problem -- the car looks drop-dead gorgeous to me!
Mixed review...want to love it
4 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 7AM)
First Porsche. Overall this car is an exciting car to drive. The interior is reminicent of a jet cockpit. There are many "hard buttons" to access features which may seem daunting at first. However, everything is logically placed and easily learned, and makes feature selection much easier than drilling down through computer menus. I have a mixed review on performance. Once the car is rolling, it is superb. However, there is a big catch in my opinion. When pulling away from a standing stop there is a sort of stall/lunge sequence that almost throws you forward then back in the seat. My dealer tells me this is a known issue and likely not resolvable. If so, this is a deal killer.
Panamera 4 review
4 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 7AM)
First Porsche. Considered and drove several times the following: E350/550, BMW535/550, Jaguar XF, Infinity 37/56, Audi A6. By far the most fun to drive was the Panamera. A bit more expensive than most on the list but the most unique on the road. The competition is common on the road. It is fun to get the looks and the thumbs up from many. The V6 has ample power compared to the V8. Been getting over 23 mpg on combined city/highway with average speeds of around 45 mph. This car is a bit sluggish right off the start but it really picks up once you hit 35 mph. Getting from there to 60-80 is a breeze.
Panamera Sports Sedan
4 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 7AM)
After looking at the 7, A8, S550 and XJ, the Panamera 4 was the clear winner. Not only does it drive like my '09 911 4S, it has Sport and Sport Plus options to remap the engine and suspension. Pictures do not do this car justice, as the subtle curves that are Porsche design elements just do not show. The interior is outstanding, clearly the best of all the cars in this class. The cockpit feel and the multiple adjustment seats with ventilation are outstanding. This car just feels great. This is truly a Sports Sedan

More about the 2011 Porsche Panamera
More About This Model

We're in the countryside outside Cologne, Germany, where the roads meander past identi-kit villages built on the cheap in the postwar world of the 1950s and 1960s. The area is thoroughly German and thus an ideal setting for the 2011 Porsche Panamera V6.

A village gives way to an open stretch of road. Pull the left shift paddle twice and the PDK dual-clutch automated manual transmission slips down a couple of gears. The V6 gathers voice, spins past 4,000 rpm and starts to deliver meaningful thrust.

This car isn't quick in the cor, blimey! sense that the Panamera Turbo gives you, but neither is it so slow as to sully the Porsche badge. This car might be the poor man's Panamera, but all things are relative. It still offers 300 horsepower and costs the not inconsiderable sum of $75,375.

Not the Cayenne V6
Let's try to unravel what is at first glance a confusing situation. Porsche now offers two V6 engines, both of which have a displacement of 3.6 liters and produce 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The first came our way in the Porsche Cayenne and continues in the newly introduced second-generation model. This new V6 in the Panamera is actually a derivative of the Porsche V8 introduced by the 2010 Porsche Panamera.

At first glance, this overlap in V6s seems like some product planner's balls up, but Porsche says there is a solid rationale at work. The Cayenne's V6 engine came from VW, part of the Porsche and VW agreement to share the development costs of the sport-utility that became the Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg. It's a narrow-angle engine with undersquare cylinders, so it proved too tall and skinny to fit under the low, sleek hood of the 2011 Porsche Panamera.

Porsche therefore took the bold decision to develop a new V6 based on its own V8. As a result, the new V6 shares the 90-degree angle between its cylinder banks of the V8. This isn't so good for vibration control when it comes to a V6, but the new engine can be built on the same production line in Leipzig, Germany, as the V8. Porsche says the V6 shares 40 percent of the V8's parts, and it offers direct injection, variable valve timing for the intake camshaft, plus Porsche's variable valve lift system.

The Fuel Economy Special
At first glance, the output of this new 3,605cc V6 might seem modest, as it develops 300 hp at 6,200 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 3,750 rpm, which seems barely enough for a car that weighs 3,880 pounds in two-wheel-drive trim. The Panamera S V8 offers 400 hp for $15,400 more, while the Panamera Turbo V8 delivers 500 hp for $58,200 more.

The Panamera's sprinting ability is undeniably compromised by its V6, of course. While the Turbo gets to 100 km/h (62 mph) from a standstill in 4.0 seconds and the S reaches the same mark in 5.2 seconds, the V6 will get you there in 6.0 seconds (5.8 seconds if you opt for the high-performance Sport Chrono package that includes launch control).

How you respond to this rather depends on what you expect from a 2011 Porsche Panamera. Anyone seeking a practical four-door 911 will find the V6's performance disappointing, yet if you regard this car as something of a sporting GT, then the V6 is adequate, especially when you start looking at fuel economy. In normal conditions, you tend to work the V6 engine harder than you would the V8, but you rarely find yourself lamenting the lack of power.

Working the engine hard is no chore, either. The throaty hum of the V8 has been replaced by a more strident, high-pitched engine note. Don't expect 911-style aural entertainment, but the sound is never less than refined. The contrast with the Cayenne V6 couldn't be greater, as this V6 is full, fat Porsche in every way.

Shift, Don't Lift
The V6 also proves an ideal foil for the seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox. Wimpy push buttons on the steering wheel were initially the control interface for the PDK (the initials for the German word that defines "Porsche double-clutch"), but near universal criticism has prompted a rethink. Officially the sport steering wheel with shift paddles is still an option, but the fact that it was fitted to all of the test cars available to us is a tacit admission of defeat.

Needless to say, the aluminum shift paddles on the 2011 Porsche Panamera's steering wheel are a huge improvement over buttons if you think of the PDK as a high-tech manual transmission instead of just a fuel-efficient automatic. There is a manual transmission available for the V6, but we won't be getting it in the U.S. and our brief experience with its notchy, long-throw action suggests we're not missing much.

The PDK system also has been tuned to complement an automated stop/start system for the V6 that silences the engine at stoplights. This fuel-saving measure is now being widely applied to small cars by a growing number of European manufacturers, but it's rare in an engine of this displacement and output. When you come to a halt, the engine stops; take your foot off the brake and the engine restarts. It's simple and affordable, and it helps the U.S.-specification Porsche Panamera V6 achieve an EPA-rated 18 city and 27 highway mpg. In comparison, the Panamera S with its normally aspirated V8 gets just 16 city and 24 highway mpg.

Efficient Driving
The Porsche V6 weighs 66 pounds less than the normally aspirated V8 and has been moved 0.6 inch closer to the rear bulkhead of the engine compartment. Open the hood and there's now sufficient space between the engine and the nose to house a sizable briefcase, and the bottom line is the car's balanced weight distribution of 52 percent front/48 percent rear.

Porsche's engineers reckon they've introduced subtle tuning revisions to the 2011 Porsche Panamera V6's suspension that produce greater ride comfort, and they like the results so much that they've also incorporated them into the Panamera's V8-powered models. While a conventional suspension of springs and dampers is standard equipment, our test car has the optional air suspension with active, driver-adjustable dampers.

Though we've been driving the Panamera for a year now, its width still comes as a surprise. At 76 inches across, it's 2.3 inches wider than a Mercedes S-Class. This feels more of an issue on the twisty roads west of Cologne near the Belgian border than it would in the U.S., yet it still undermines the car's agility. It's also hard to understand quite why it needs to be this wide.

This aside, though, the Panamera remains a hugely accomplished car. With the dampers set to Comfort, the ride quality is excellent and it diminishes little even if you switch to Sport. For such a big car, the Panamera changes direction remarkably well and the cornering grip is prodigious. It would be nice to have a little more feel through the helm, while the optional carbon-ceramic brakes as usual lack the pedal feel of the steel alternatives, but these are modest criticisms. First time out, Porsche has blended the demands of sporting GT and luxury sedan to magnificent effect. It's hard to think of a better long -distance tool.

We drove both the two- and four-wheel-drive versions of the new car, the Panamera and the Panamera 4, and the lower output of the V6 means traction is unlikely ever to be a problem in either car.

Design Language
Even the most devoted Panamera spotter will struggle to discern the V6 from its grander siblings. The side window surrounds are now matte black instead of chrome and the exhaust pipes are oval instead of round, but that's about it.

The rest of the exterior remains as challenging to the eye as ever. Time and familiarity have not been kind to the Panamera's fat rump in particular, not that this stopped the locals from offering exclamations of patriotic pride as we cruised by. Nevertheless, the Panamera still makes us think that Porsche surely needs to develop an alternative design language that doesn't rely on the distinctive silhouette of the 911.

The Panamera's interior, by contrast, remains a triumph. Ample space for four adults, a distinctive style and immaculate build quality make for a hugely convincing proposition. Just go easy on the options list or you'll end up paying more for a V6 than you would for a Turbo.

The Smart Porsche
Globally, the 2011 Porsche Panamera V6 is likely to account for up to 50 percent of overall Panamera sales, at least until the even more fuel-efficient diesel version arrives.

In the U.S., however, the situation is less clear cut. Air emissions and the question of conspicuous consumption is less of a concern here, so the market for luxurious yet sporting cars like this has always been associated with the acronym "V8." Whether buyers will be willing to pay such a hefty sum for a V6 with a comparatively modest engine output remains to be seen, but those who put away their ego will be rewarded with an accomplished car.

Sure, the 2011 Porsche Panamera V6 does make you miss the easy thrust of the V8 and turbo engines, but not as much as you might imagine. This new V6 is a modest engine with immodest ability.

Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored press event to facilitate this report, which originally appeared on insideline.com.

Used 2011 Porsche Panamera Overview

The Used 2011 Porsche Panamera is offered in the following submodels: Panamera Sedan. Available styles include Turbo 4dr Sedan AWD (4.8L 8cyl Turbo 7AM), 4dr Sedan (3.6L 6cyl 7AM), 4 4dr Sedan AWD (3.6L 6cyl 7AM), S 4dr Sedan (4.8L 8cyl 7AM), and 4S 4dr Sedan AWD (4.8L 8cyl 7AM). Pre-owned Porsche Panamera models are available with a 4.8 L-liter gas engine or a 3.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 500 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2011 Porsche Panamera comes with all wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 7-speed automated manual. The Used 2011 Porsche Panamera comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Porsche Panamera?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Porsche Panamera trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Porsche Panamera 4 is priced between $29,000 and$32,000 with odometer readings between 69377 and85102 miles.

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 Porsche Panamera?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Porsche lease specials
Check out Porsche Panamera lease specials