2014 Porsche Panamera Review
Pros & Cons
- Stellar handling
- world-class refinement
- top-notch engines
- available plug-in hybrid model
- exquisite cabin quality.
- Narrow backseat with seating for only two
- poor rearward visibility.
Edmunds' Expert Review
Extensive updates, including a long-wheelbase option and a new plug-in hybrid variant, reinforce the 2014 Porsche Panamera's status as one of the best luxury sedans in the world.
The 2016 Porsche Panamera is a curious automotive creature. It has the feature content, interior quality and price tag of a flagship luxury sedan, yet it has only four seats and the hatchback body style of, well, a hatchback. It has the interior design and performance soul of a 911, and the exterior styling of one that went on a binge diet of Baconators. The Panamera really is like nothing else on the road, and that just makes it all the more special.
The 2016 Porsche Panamera is one of the oldest vehicles in its segment, but it's still one of the very best.
A big part of its distinctiveness is the sheer number of variations available. The whopping 14-model range covers performance (from the 310-horsepower base V6 to the ballistic 570-hp Turbo S), eco-friendliness (there's a plug-in hybrid model), poor-weather friendliness (all-wheel drive is available) and interior space (regular and "Executive" extended-wheelbase models). And then there's the abundant equipment. Although the Panamera boasts more standard features than the typical Porsche sports car, its options list still includes many of the same customization choices as the rest of the lineup. Would you like leather-lined air vents and body-colored painted wheels? Sure. why not? It's only money.
Since the Panamera is so unusual, however, it can be a little difficult to recommend obvious alternatives for your shopping process. High-style, high-performance sedans like the Audi S7/RS 7, BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class offer similar performance and lower price tags, but they aren't as roomy. Then there are luxury sedan mainstays like the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. They are more spacious and generally more elegant in regards to cabin ambience and driving experience and typically have more high-tech options to select.
Of course, all of the above are great cars. But if you like to drive, the 2016 Panamera could very well be the best fit.
2014 Porsche Panamera models
The 2016 Porsche Panamera is a four-door, four-passenger sedan with a hatchback-style trunk. There are 14 trim levels: base, Edition, 4, 4 Edition, S, 4S, S E-Hybrid, GTS, Turbo, Turbo S and the extended-wheelbase 4S Executive, Turbo Executive, Turbo S Executive and the ultralow-volume Exclusive.
The base rear-wheel-drive Panamera and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 are powered by a V6 and include 18-inch wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, front and rear parking sensors, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors, automatic wipers, cruise control, a sunroof, a power liftgate, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats, partial leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split rear seatback.
Standard tech features include a navigation system, a 7-inch central touchscreen, smartphone app integration, Bluetooth connectivity and an 11-speaker sound system with satellite and HD radios, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB port and a media player interface. The Edition trims add special badging and design cues, the Turbo's 19-inch wheels, two-tone leather upholstery, a power-adjustable sport steering wheel, 10-way power front seats with four-way lumbar adjustment and memory functions and heated rear seats. Other than the design elements, this equipment is optional on other Panamera models.
When ordering your Panamera, the standard equipment list is likely going to be just the tip of the iceberg.
On top of the base Panamera equipment, the S models add a turbocharged V6, different 18-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, quad exhaust tips, adaptive suspension dampers and chrome window surrounds.
The plug-in Panamera S E-Hybrid adds to the S equipment a gas-electric powertrain plus hybrid-specific gauges, the "Porsche Car Connect" smartphone app that provides remote access to various vehicle functions, and speed-sensitive steering assist ("Power Steering Plus").
The extra-sporty GTS gets a naturally aspirated V8 along with many items shared with the Turbo, including extra LED exterior lighting, 19-inch wheels, all-wheel drive, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a simulated suede headliner. Unlike with the Turbo, its window surrounds are black. The GTS is also the only Panamera to receive as standard a sport exhaust system, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather/simulated suede upholstery, carbon-fiber interior trim and 14-way adaptive sport seats with four-way power adjustment, adjustable bolsters and memory functions.
The Panamera Turbo adds to the S equipment a turbocharged V8 along with 19-inch wheels, an adaptive air suspension, LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, the power-adjustable steering wheel, 10-way power front seats, heated rear seats, a full leather interior and a 14-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system.
The Turbo S throws in even more power, 20-inch wheels, ceramic-composite brakes (PCCB), adaptive antiroll bars (PDCC), a torque-vectoring rear differential (PTV Plus, which also modulates the inside rear brake during cornering for optimal cornering precision) and two-tone leather upholstery.
Standard on the GTS and Turbo and optional on other trims is the Sport Chrono package. It includes launch control, an additional Sport Plus vehicle setting, steering wheel display, additional performance information within the infotainment system and a dash-top analog clock.
Many of the fancier models' standard features are optional on lower trims, including the Turbo S's ceramic brakes and advanced chassis electronics. In typical Porsche fashion, there's a lengthy and expensive list of additional stand-alone options highlighted by a sunroof, a roof rack, adaptive cruise control, a rear seat entertainment system, rearview and 360-degree surround-view cameras, voice controls, a 16-speaker Burmester surround-sound audio system and a refrigerated rear compartment that includes two drinking glasses engraved with the Porsche crest and logo. You can also customize practically every interior surface with leather, wood, metal, carbon fiber or paint.
The 4S Executive, Turbo Executive and Turbo S Executive provide all the standard features of their smaller equivalents, plus a 5.9-inch longer wheelbase, thermally and noise-insulated glass, soft-close doors, four-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, a rear interior lighting package, eight-way power rear seats, and power rear and rear side sunshades. Most of these features are offered as options on regular-wheelbase Panameras.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Porsche Panamera is available with a variety of engine choices. Each is paired to an automated manual transmission known as PDK. Rear-wheel drive is standard on most models. The GTS, Turbo, Turbo S and "4" come equipped with all-wheel drive. An automatic engine stop-start system is included on all models to save fuel.
The base Panamera is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 good for 310 hp and 295 pound-feet of torque. Porsche estimates it'll go from zero to 60 mph in 6 seconds, though we expect it to be quicker than that given testing of a previous, less powerful model. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 22 mpg combined (18 city/28 highway) with rear-wheel drive and 21 (18/27) for the Panamera 4.
The Panamera S has a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 that produces 420 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. Porsche estimates a rear-drive version will hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, or 4.6 seconds with the launch control function included with the Sport Chrono package. The 4S and its superior traction should shave off 0.3 second. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg (17 city/27 highway) with rear- or all-wheel drive. The 4S Executive returns 20 (17/26).
The GTS comes with a naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 that produces 440 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. We spurred the previous 430-hp GTS to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, so the current one should be a hair quicker. It returns an EPA-estimated 19 mpg (16 city/24 highway).
The Turbo has a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 good for 520 hp and 516 lb-ft. The optional Sport Chrono package temporarily "overboosts" maximum torque to 568 lb-ft at full throttle. In Edmunds testing, an older Panamera Turbo with an even 500 hp took 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph: That's supercar territory. Both the Turbo and Turbo Executive return an EPA-estimated 18 mpg (15 city/24 highway).
The Turbo S has a version of the same engine pumped up to 570 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Its overboost gives it 590 lb-ft of torque. Porsche says it'll hit 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. It returns the same EPA-estimated fuel economy as the regular Turbo.
Finally, the rear-wheel-drive plug-in Panamera S E-Hybrid receives an Audi-sourced supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that's paired with a 95-hp electric motor for a combined output of 416 hp. The transmission is a conventional eight-speed automatic. The EPA estimates that it will return 25 mpg combined when driven in hybrid mode when the plug-in portion of its battery has been depleted. It also estimates an all-electric range of 16 miles, which we verified in our own testing.
A full recharge can be achieved in 2.5 hours on 240-volt current — or in about 20 miles of driving (we observed it took 26.5) via the unique E-Charge drive mode, which enlists the V6 to charge the battery pack while you're on the move. Fuel economy predictably plummets in this mode, where we observed 18 mpg while simultaneously driving and charging.
In Edmunds.com testing, an S E-Hybrid managed the 0-60 sprint in a very impressive 4.7 seconds. Mind you, this feat was accomplished with "all hands on deck." In EV mode, it's not nearly as quick.
Every 2016 Porsche Panamera comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags.
A rearview camera is available, as is a blind-spot monitoring system. The Panamera's optional adaptive cruise control feature is bundled with a forward collision mitigation system that first issues audible and visual warnings, then automatically applies the brakes (potentially all the way to a stop) unless the driver takes action.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Panamera 4S and Turbo models with standard brakes stopped from 60 mph in 109 feet and 112 feet, respectively. A GTS equipped with the carbon-ceramic brakes repeatedly stopped in 110 feet. Perhaps most shockingly, the shortest simulated panic stop, at 102 feet, was from the Panamera S E-Hybrid.
Probably the toughest question for 2016 Porsche Panamera shoppers is which powertrain to get. Although the base V6 engine is quite strong by the numbers, the chassis can handle so much more power that we recommend upgrading. But to what? The turbo V6 is certainly a nice piece, and the GTS's naturally aspirated V8 is the most characterful of the bunch. Yet if you've got the bankroll, the Panamera Turbo and Turbo S boast laugh-inducing levels of power and the resolute traction of all-wheel drive to get you moving with a tenacity bettered only by exotic sports cars or possibly something offered up by the United States Air Force.
If you're looking for the driver's car of this class, the 2016 Panamera stands alone.
On the other end of the spectrum, the S E-Hybrid is easily one of the coolest and quickest cars of its ilk. We enthusiastically awarded it an Edmunds "A" rating as its fuel economy is indeed very impressive given its acceleration potential.
Regardless of engine, the Panamera is one of the most rewarding four-door cars to drive. Its precise steering and flat cornering capabilities cannot be matched by more conventional high-dollar luxury sedans, while its ride — though certainly on the firm side — is pleasant and very well damped. This is especially true of the two available adaptive suspensions. At highway speeds, wind and road noise are kept to a minimum, and indeed, this is one of the most hushed cabins you'll find.
The Panamera's family resemblance is strong inside, boasting the same tall, rising, button-festooned center console found in every other Porsche model. Those buttons (we've counted as many as 80 inside) are a polarizing element: Some find them overwhelming, while others appreciate the direct nature of one button, one task as opposed to digging your way through various menu functions on a display screen. The Panamera still has a touchscreen for most infotainment functions and generally works well, but its 7-inch size can be nearly half of some rival systems.
Rear accommodations in the 2016 Panamera are truly business-class.
In terms of comfort and space, there's a good chance this Porsche will be a very pleasant surprise. The various available front seat designs are similar to those found in the 911: highly supportive, very comfortable and capable of adjusting in a multitude of ways. In back, there are only two seats available, but they are very similar in design to those up front and boast more than enough space for even tall occupants. The Executive models get even more legroom, along with eight-way power adjustment and heating and ventilation. A major downside, besides the four-person limit, is that the backseat is mounted low and with the car's rising beltline it can be a tad claustrophobic compared to more traditional sedans.
The Panamera does boast surprising cargo capacity. Its 15.7 cubic feet of trunk space is what you can expect from a full-size luxury sedan, but its hatchback grants it extra versatility. Fold its seats down and there are a handy 44.6 cubes available. Executive models add a bit more maximum space, while the S E-Hybrid is reduced to 11.8 and 40.7 cubes, respectively. Note that the hatch opening is rather narrow, and the high cargo bed makes loading bulky items a bit of a chore.