The Porsche Panamera was released in 2009 at the Shanghai International Automobile Show. The Panamera is the German car manufacturer’s current full-size luxury car, and it is available as a five-door hatchback with a front engine and either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive options.
Once again, the hard-core Porsche fans frowned on the company’s attempts to broaden their portfolio, and the Panamera was not necessarily well received in all quarters. Where the traditional models focus their attentions on performance, the Panamera does this with the added advantage of luxurious interiors and a very comfortable style.
The body shape of the Panamera is very much like a stretched 911, with long, languid lines and an elongated bonnet, with a round-nosed front and a tucked-under boot. This is a lovely streamlined executive car with sports-car looks and potential. In 2011, there were additions to the range with the S Hybrid, Diesel, Turbo S, and the GTS cars being made available.
Occupants will feel totally at ease in the Panamera; there is plenty of legroom and headroom, sumptuous wrap-around bucket seats, leather upholstery, and optional wooden trim give the car a luxurious quality to the interior. On the practicality level, there is a lot to like about it, as there is plenty of storage space and a large boot as well.
At the launch, Porsche fitted the larger 4.8L twin turbo V8 engine into the Panamera, followed the next year by the smaller 3.6L V6 engines. While the V8s are capable of generating 373kW and 700Nm torque, the V6s still put out a useful 224kW of power and 400Nm torque.
The engines are hooked up to the 6-speed manual, the 7-speed PDK unit or the 8-speed, Aisin Tiptronic automatic gearboxes. The PDK comes as standard with the 4, 4S, and Turbo models but extra power can be gained if you include the sport chrono package.
The power train on the Turbo S takes the car from nought to 100km/h in 7.2 seconds. Its fuel economy is pretty respectable too for a car weighing over 1870Kg, and it has a combined consumption of 12.2L/100km with a CO2 emissions level of 286g/km.
Considering its weight and size, the Panamera’s acceleration is nothing short of phenomenal. This big car thinks nothing of charging down the horizon, and it handles remarkably well. It is not a roadster, but for a large, executive car, its statistics are nonetheless impressive.
The Porsche Panamera does not come cheap, and you would be right to expect a high level of equipment for the price tag. There is no need to worry because, as standard, even the entry-level car comes with speed control, memory seat, powered moonroof, auto temperature control, air-con, leather upholstery, tilt steering, and telescoping steering wheel. The infotainment package is pretty good too with a MP3 decoder, DVD audio, steering wheel-mounted controls, radio/CD player, and 11 speakers.
Features include daylight running lights, automatic headlights, intermittent wipers, rear defrost, compass, low tyre pressure warning, rear reverse warning system, trip computer, and ABS. The safety package is substantial, and even without an ANCAP rating, you know it's going to be good. For protection, driver, passenger, curtain, side, and knee airbags, a panic alarm, immobiliser, the Porsche electronic stability (PAS), and traction control all come as standard.
To add a little personalisation to the car, the options include wood console and dashboard, ventilated front seats, leather or wood steering wheel, parking cameras front and rear, rear wiper, an upgraded entertainment system, rear HVAC, and distance pacing cruise control. Features like rear blinds, home theatre, and fridge options let you truly make the car your own.
Rather than the safe, staid image of the executive car, the Panamera pitches itself as a high-performance luxury saloon car. It is more in competition with the likes of Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes Benz CLS-Class, Aston Martin Rapide, and the BMW Series-5 Gran Turismo than the BMW Series 7 or the Mercedes Benz S-Class.
The Panamera produces excellent results across the board. The Cayenne 4x4 is the only one to beat it on space, but in terms of style, looks, performance, and quality, the Panamera wins hands down. This is a sporty, practical car that suits those who need a little space but still want power. It’s well built, marvellously finished, and available in an appealing range of models, engine sizes, and styles. The Panamera may not be in everyone’s financial range, but it will be on most people’s wish list.