When Porsche first announced it would develop a four-door sedan performance car, nearly everyone in the auto industry scratched their head wondering why in the heck would Porsche, of all the auto companies, go down this winding road? Well the answer from Porsche was, because we can and we have the expertise to produce one of the finest automobiles in the world. And then they presented the 2010 Panamera to the world. Guess what? This large Porsche turned out to be a fabulous automobile and continues to set standards others are attempting to attain.
The Panamera not only reached for high standards it has exceeded many with its elevated degree of luxury combined with Porsche performance, both on acceleration and sports car handling. While the base V8 version has gone away it is replaced by a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that makes a great intro to the Panamera. Happily my test vehicle was the Panamera GTS that is equipped with a normally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 that is also fitted with the sport exhaust system that is well worth the price. This well tuned V8 makes the hair on your arms stand on end with its symphony of sound. Of course, the 440 horse power and 384 lb-ft of torque sure helps a great deal.
Even Porsche engineers must deal with the issues of fuel consumption and green initiatives. With a vehicle like the Panamera they have enlisted Auto Stop-Stop that shuts off the engine at stops and restarts the engine as soon as driver releases the brake faster than you can blink an eye. A new system of decoupling the engine from the transmission to reduce drag when coasting helps to increase fuel economy.
Minor exterior features give the 2014 Panamera a fresh look yet retain the family 911-like appearance. Even with the slight changes to the headlight design that include new LED lighting as well as front fascia you know, with no doubt, that this automobile is a Porsche. The Porsche exterior design is one that has transformed itself for over 60 years and yet retains that familiar family resemblance.
Luxury in the cabin is not sacrificed for performance sake in the Porsche Panamera. Supple leather seats wrap passengers in a comfortable environment. The front power adjustable seats will place even the hard to please in the perfect comfort position. Sliding behind the wheel of any Porsche is likened to doing the same in the highest luxury aircraft. All the gauges and switches are placed in the proper position. Wrapping your hands around a Porsche steering wheel is like nothing you have experienced. The mere action transports you to your most favorite country road in your mind’s eye.
The Panamera GTS isn’t just a sight and sound machine, this four-door shows it is every bit a Porsche, with its road holding prowess. Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control brings a sophisticated controlled suspension system into play that gives this large vehicle the handling of a smaller sports car. The seven-speed dual-clutch transmission known as PDK, is superbly mated to the engine and no matter if in automatic or manual mode it reacts to the desires of the driver.
Comfort and luxury on the road is another of Porsche qualities that continue to flow through the Panamera GTS. A combination of suede and carbon fiber cabin trim add luxurious touches while the Sport Chrono package adds both analog and digital stop watches. Plus a Sport Plus mode offering launch control, provides extremely quick acceleration from a stop.
Granted the Panamera GTS hovers just over the $110,000 and the Turbo Executive climbs over $160K, but a very satisfying ride can be pulled into your garage for under $80,000 with a base model Panamera. Even you greenie types can climb into a Panamera S E-Hybrid for just under $100K. While the Panamera sits in the upper range of normally attainable automobiles, Porsche continues to keep a restraint on reaching for unachievable pricing.
The Panamera, no matter the model, remains a vehicle that is quite comfortable to take three of your friends on a cross-country adventure, while giving you the tools to stay off the interstates experiencing those back country two-lanes you always wanted to enjoy with vigor.