By on May 16, 2011

The Porsche Panamera: should it exist? Eight years after the introduction of the Cayenne SUV, many enthusiasts remain steadfast in their conviction that Porsche should stick to sports cars with aft-mounted powerplants. While a two-ton four-door is certainly a lesser evil, has Porsche managed to offer one for which there is no available substitute? A $69,000 Cadillac CTS-V performs extremely well, in both objective and subjective terms. Why, then, spend tens of thousands more for a Panamera?

With a disproportionately long midsection and a humped up rear roofline, the Panamera makes a poor first impression. No doubt the designers faced a tough challenge, to take hard points driven by engineering criteria and make the car instantly recognizable as a Porsche. Still, it’s hard to believe that some subtle tweaks wouldn’t vastly improve the design. The Boxster and especially the Cayenne were oddly shaped in their initial iterations, then improved when redesigned. Will the same be the case with the Panamera? As is, the car’s exterior styling isn’t going to compensate for any other weaknesses. Rather, the rest of the car must be even better to compensate for the styling. One success: the Panamera is instantly recognizable as a Porsche.

The Panamera’s interior is more successful, though here again form is driven by function. There are no artfully exaggerated curves. The instrument panel and center console form a simple, subtly tapered T. For the secondary controls Porsche opted to take the road less traveled, and employ a vast array of oversized buttons and switches rather than burying all but the most basic functions in an on-screen menu. Placing these buttons on the center console makes them easy to hit on the fly. Want to adjust the settings for the transmission or the suspension? They’re right there at your fingertips, no need to even lift your elbow off the armrest. Aggressively raking the high center console to provide a large amount of easily viewable and reachable real estate just happens to look suitably sporty in addition to working well. Some hard plastic is evident, most notably on the steering wheel spokes. But everything looks and feels solid. The instrument and door panels are soft to the touch in the standard car and can be covered in stitched leather. Porsche has come a long way since the interiors of the late 1990s 986 Boxster and 996 911. The glossy, light-colored wood in the tested 4S doesn’t suit the character of the car, but there are many other interior trim options.

As soon as you drop into the driver’s seat it’s evident that the Panamera is much different than the CTS and just about every other four-door luxury car. The aforementioned center console is just the start. In sharp contrast to current trends, the instrument panel isn’t much higher than the center console. A Honda Civic might need a huge, visually imposing, two-tiered instrument panel to convey information to the driver, but a Porsche does not. So while the seating position is low, forward visibility is very good. The low, straight lines of the instrument panel and unusually slender front seatbacks only further emphasize the unexpected width of the cabin. The seats are far from cushy, but provide support in the right places, with modestly sized bolsters that nevertheless get the job done. The Cadillac (and every other conventionally packaged four door) feels tall and narrow in comparison. The difference in height between the two cars is actually only three inches, but feels like at least six.

There’s a good reason you sit high in just about every current four-door car: this enables more legroom within a given wheelbase. Yet despite a low seating position and a wheelbase only 1.6 inches longer than that of the CTS, the Panamera’s rear seat is roomy and comfortable. Some credit is due the fairly long wheelbase and humped up rear roofline that make the exterior appear so odd, but these only contribute an inch or two to the equation. Mathematically, the Porsche’s rear seat room just doesn’t seem possible, since more has been taken out of the car’s height than has been added back by these tweaks. Very intelligent interior packaging and seat design deserve much of the credit. Thanks to the slender front seatbacks and expansive windows the view out from the rear seat is much more open than in the average luxury sedan. What you can’t get: a three-person bench. Since only rear buckets separated by a flow-through console are offered, it’s not clear why the Panamera is so wide. For handling?

The emphasis on function continues with the cargo area: entering a field dominated by sedans, the Panamera is a hatchback with split folding rear seatback. You’ll find as much cargo volume in the typical compact hatch, but the Porsche’s versatility is nevertheless a welcome break from the norm.

The Panamera is currently offered with three engines: a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, a 400-horsepower 4.8-liter V8, and a 500-horsepower turbocharged 4.8-liter V8, with a 550-horsepower variant of the last on the way. In terms of power, the Turbo is the closest match for the 556-horsepower CTS-V, so the salesman asked if that’s the one I wanted to drive. This being Michigan, all of the available cars were all-wheel-drive, which is mandatory with the Turbo but optional with the lesser engines. But since the Turbo starts at $136,250 and ends up over twice the price of the CTS-V once typically optioned, I demurred. One of the non-turbocharged cars would be better. By which I meant the V8-powered S. Approaching the car, I noticed that it was actually the Base model, with the V6. I started to walk back in to request the keys to an S when my curiosity got the best of me. Could a V6 actually be a suitable powerplant for a two-ton $90,000 Porsche? So I drove both it and a nearly $120,000 S.

Though the same displacement as the undersquare, narrow-V Volkswagen engine that continues to power the base Cayenne SUV, the Panamera’s V6 is a new direct-injected, oversquare, 90-degree-V unit. It’s essentially Porsche’s V8 less a pair. With its wide V, shorter stroke, and dry sump lubrication system (i.e. no deep oil pan), the new engine should sit much lower than the VW engine would have, enabling both a lower hood and a lower center of gravity.
The base Panamera is quick judging from the rate at which the speedometer needle rotates, and Porsche’s first V6 sounds pleasantry energetic while going about its business, but the engine’s basic competency doesn’t stir the soul. The V6 might be too refined for its own good. The torque curve is so smooth and linear, there’s no point at which it comes alive and then surges to its redline. Which, given the oversquare cylinders, should be much higher than 6,500. Similarly, output should be much closer to 100 horsepower per liter—is Porsche sandbagging to leave room for future upgrades? Currently there’s also not enough torque to throw you back in your seat or to rotate the all-wheel-drive chassis; the rear-wheel-drive car could be more entertaining.

After driving the V6 I was about ready to ascribe the lack of visceral thrills to the car as a whole—but then I drove the V8-powered Panamera 4S. The subjective difference is night and day, even if the objective difference from rest to sixty is only about a second (4.8 vs. 5.8, according to Porsche). It only winds a couple hundred rpm higher, and does no better in power per liter, but the V8 sounds and feels far more energetic than the V6. And this is before tapping the button to open up the $2,950 “sport exhaust,” which releases a bunch more burble. Even hobbled with all-wheel-drive the larger engine rotates the rear end at will, shoves the seat into your back, and encourages bad behavior in ways the V6 doesn’t begin to. Would the Turbo make me feel the same about the normally-aspirated V8? I doubt it. Though down 156 horsepower, the regular V8 can go toe-to-toe with the CTS-V in the visceral thrills department. The Turbo is no doubt quicker still, but the difference is likely a matter of degree rather than of kind.

It helps that the Panamera is substantially lighter than the CTS-V wagon. Even in all-wheel-drive 4S form the large hatch weighs 4,101 pounds, compared to the Cadillac’s 4,398. Clearly some of the extra money spent on the Porsche goes towards some premium, lightweight materials.

In a sign of the times, a third pedal is not available. All of the Panamera’s engines pair with a “PDK” seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual. In casual driving this transmission behaves enough like a conventional automatic, with smooth shifts, that some owners will never realize that it isn’t one. The PDK’s most notable flaw: even in normal mode it sometimes holds a low gear far longer than it has to. This flaw is more than outweighed by the transmissions many strengths. Because, like a conventional manual, the PDK provides a direct mechanical connection between the engine and the wheels, responses to the throttle are stronger and more immediate than with a conventional, torque-converter-equipped automatic. Full-throttle shifts are nearly instantaneous, so minimal momentum and microseconds are lost in the process. Manual shifts can be summoned via buttons on the steering wheel. But this is rarely necessary. Instead, hit the “sport” or “sport plus” button on the console, depending on how aggressive you want the transmission’s gear selections to be. A third pedal might add some needed driver involvement with the V6. But with the V8 one wasn’t much missed.

Even the base Panamera is fitted with huge brakes, 14.2” discs clamped by six-piston calipers up front and 13.0” discs clamped by four-piston calipers in the rear. So strong, fade-free braking is a given. Less common: these strong brakes aren’t touchy in casual driving, provide clear feedback, and are very easy to modulate. Speed can be scrubbed as quickly and precisely as it can be gained.

More than anything else, I was curious about how the Panamera would steer and handle. The steering is light, but immediate, quick, and precise. Though not exactly chatty, there’s good feedback and the long, wide hatch can be intuitively placed exactly where you want it. The harder the Panamera is driven, the smaller and lighter it feels, though the nagging feeling that the car is a couple inches longer and wider than it needs to be never quite goes away. Something just seems wrong about driving a car with a full-sized back seat like a sports car. Yet I couldn’t stop myself from doing it. Balance and poise are superb. Hammer the car through a bumpy curve and it easily maintains it composure, varying not a touch from the chosen line. Even with all-wheel-driven the chassis feels dynamic—especially with the V8 to kick the tail out a notch. The adjustable shocks standard with the V8 and available for $1,990 on the V6 can be employed to further reduce roll and tighten up the chassis, though the difference isn’t large. Want even livelier handling and even flatter cornering? A system that pairs active stabilizer bars with a torque vectoring rear differential is available, but will set you back $5,000 plus another $1,990 for the required air suspension.

Given this handling, it should come as no surprise that the Panamera rides less smoothly than the CTS-V, much less the average luxury sedan. The ride is far from harsh, but it is very firm. Even small bumps and divots can be felt—and heard. The tires clomp loudly across all but the smoothest surfaces. The optional air suspension might help here, but probably cannot perform miracles. A reason not to buy the Panamera? Not for anyone who cares at all about driving. But those who are seeking luxury first and foremost will be happier elsewhere.

The Panamera being a Porsche, it will cost you dearly, especially if you’re not careful with the extensive options list. All-wheel-drive adds $4,000, about double what others charge. Want this or that bit of the interior covered in leather? Larger wheels? Or a special color? They’ll do that—as long as you’re willing to pay. Painted air vent slats? A mere $2,330. Checking all of the boxes will more than double the base price. The tested Panamera 4 was lightly optioned, and still listed for $90,360, well above the $79,925 base price. The moderately optioned 4S, with a base price of $95,725, listed for $119,525. Dimensionally, the new Audi A7 sport hatch is very close to the Panamera, but costs over $20,000 less. The Audi is initially offered only with a 310-horsepower supercharged V6, though, so it competes only with the Panamera V6. Compare the Panamera 4S to a BMW 550 xDrive using TrueDelta’s car price comparison tool, and the feature-adjusted premium for the Porsche approaches $30,000. To be fair, a Maserati Quattroporte is about $30,000 in the other direction, while not steering and handling nearly as well. And an Aston Martin Rapide, with its sharper styling but less usable back seat? If you have to ask…

Ultimately, semi-exotic price notwithstanding, the Panamera can be justified. Porsche didn’t simply copy what others have been doing then attach its marque to the result. Instead, its engineers thoroughly reworked the envelope to make a large four-door car feel as much like a sports car as possible—while still providing above-average levels of comfort and versatility. People have often claimed that BMW’s sedans and those that have tried to beat them at their own game (e.g. the CTS) drive like sports cars. They don’t. Even if a sedan achieves the same test track results as a sports car, if it has the driving position, center of gravity, and suspension geometry of a sedan it will feel like a sedan.

In sharp contrast, the Panamera sits like a sports car and drives like a sports car, albeit a very large one. The V6, though it posts respectable test track times and is far from the embarrassment it could have been, comes up a little short in visceral thrills, at least in its initial iteration. The specs for both the V6 and V8 suggest plenty of headroom for easy upgrades, but higher-winding, more powerful engines are only future possibilities. Though Porsche charges $12,690 for its additional pair of pistons, the V8-powered Panamera S is currently the way to go. Perhaps if someone else had combined sports car dynamics and an adult-friendly back seat in the same car, Porsche would not have had to. Until someone else does, there is no substitute.

Scott Vollink of Suburban Porsche in Farmington Hills, MI, provided the cars. He can be reached at 248-741-7980.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive pricing and reliability data


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89 Comments on “Review: Porsche Panamera (4 vs 4S)...”


  • avatar
    jmo

    I must say, I see a few of these in my neighborhood and the styling has really grown on me after seeing them in person.

    • 0 avatar

      Only one of these in my neighborhood, and the guy’s other car is a Gallardo. His cars cost more than his house is worth! Clearly a matter of priorities.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        His cars cost more than his house is worth!

        Don’t you live in Detroit? Aren’t most people’s cars worth more than their house?

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        Michael Karesh: “Only one of these in my neighborhood, and the guy’s other car is a Gallardo. His cars cost more than his house is worth! Clearly a matter of priorities.”

        By your first statement, I thought you must live in a super rich neighborhood …

        The cheapest house in my neighborhood is still more than the two cars combined (even at the elevated Canadian price). The most expensive car is an E-class. There is an old couple who live in a $1M+ uniquely designed (in a good way) house and drive a Paseo.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      I agree – it has a real presence, and though Porsches generally look like inflated balloon cars, this bulk has a purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      The Panamera looks like an LA chop shop had its way with a 911. If I want a Porsche, I’ll get a 911. If I want a sedan, I’ll get a Mercedes or BMW.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        The Panamera is a simply limo-stretch 928. Same drivetrain layout, same basic 8-cyl up front, same RWD.

        Sign of the times, means it’s available in V6 and turbo, or AWD.

        But it’s still basically a stretch 928.

      • 0 avatar

        So what if you would get a Mercedes or BMW? Then this car is not for you. Why point this out?

        It’s not a 928 at all.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        As a small child, I really liked the 928. My Majorette version was one of my favorite dinky cars. It had better suspension and a little more ground clearance than my Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, so it did well on the carpet race tracks I’d lay out using masking tape. Maybe that’s why I’ve always liked the Panamera’s appearance. I have no other explanation for why the apparent ugliness escapes me.

    • 0 avatar
      Diesel Fuel Only

      I too have seen one in a nearby burg, and another when on vacation last week. Think that they look better in real than in photographs, there is no mistaking that they are Porsche’s, as the article points out, and don’t look too bulky to me, esp. as compared to today’s camcords, which are as large as LTD’s of a generation ago.

      They’re not for me, I certainly don’t dream about winning the lottery and getting one, but they’re not so outrageous. Much ado about nothing, really.

  • avatar
    tom

    Great review. And certainly a great car if you can afford it and if you don’t mind its ugliness.

  • avatar
    Hank

    I was really not a fan of this car on paper, but I agree, in person it really does give an entirely different impression. I really like the interior, and under the hood…well…that is a real engine, isn’t it? I’d take it over much of the competition on those two points alone. Throw in Porsche handling and I’m thinking it’s fun for the whole family.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Unsightly for sure. And unfortunate even used are not as good a deal as a uased CTS-V for under $40K.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      A used CTS-v is worth under $40K for a reason – that’s how quickly it depreciates once it’s driven off the dealers lot.

      You get what you pay for at GM (regardless of the model) – cost-cutting, bean-counting engineering which pays for the exorbitant salaries of clueless GM executives..

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    I think of it as a 4-door 928, and if it helps Porsche develop more interesting cars, then I won’t complain.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I don’t think it is ugly, it just looks like a Porsche. Neither good nor bad, it just IS. And of course it drives like one, even the Cayenne does.

    But I do fail to see the point really, if you can afford a $120K+ car, you can afford a luxury sedan AND a Porsche.

  • avatar
    spinjack

    It actually looks fairly attractive in soccer mom colors, such as beige. Go figure.

  • avatar

    I’d like to have some reliability stats for the Panamera–just a matter of getting enough owners involved.

    To participate in the Car Reliability Survey, with just about any car:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I think it looks a little “humpy” from the three-quarters rear angle in the first photo, probably because the hatchback part is slightly convex (budges out). Other than that though, I think it looks surprisingly good.

  • avatar
    Johnnyangel

    It has been reported in other auto pubs that the Panamera was developed on the Caynenne platform, which perhaps explains the width. Nothing adequately explains the external hideousness, however.

    • 0 avatar

      I recall the same, but cannot imagine the two models have much in common aside from some underbody hard points that might enable them to efficiently use the same assembly line at the Leipzig plant. The chassis of the Cayenne would have to be much stronger to deal with possible off-roading and the vehicle’s higher curb weight. A Panamera closely based on the Cayenne would weigh much more than it actually does.

      Then again, maybe those few underbody hard points are enough to force the 76-inch width.

      Looks like the Cajun will also be made in the same plant. A new line, the same width isn’t necessary to share the same assembly line, or the small SUV will also be beamy?

      http://www.caradvice.com.au/110453/porsche-cajun-to-be-built-alongside-cayenne-panamera-in-leipzig/

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    That is one ugly mutha…

  • avatar
    outback_ute

    A very impressive car, and I can’t help but wonder if it could be better-looking if they hadn’t tried to make it look like a 911. Were they afraid that people would say “sorry, I’m not buying that car because it doesn’t look like an ugly, bloated 911″? I’m talking about the rear half not the front here, which would be enough to keep the family connection IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      Doc

      I had trouble with the styling at first also, but for some reason, in person, it works for me.
      Oddly, for some reason, this car looks much better in person than in pictures or on television. The rear end looks more in proportion to the rest of the car in person.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I didn’t like the styling at first, but it has really grown on me. Of course, maybe that’s because the rest of the car is so good overall.

    What’s with the rear seat configuration, though? The rear bucket seats themselves are probably very comfortable, but what purpose does the rear console serve that couldn’t be achieved with a fold-down console?

  • avatar
    stuki

    Nice review. At least if niceness is a measure of how much you agree with me :)

    Also nice of you to save the Turbo (S?) review for Baruth :) That thing has his name written all over it, yet he refuses to give it the love it deserves.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Some credit is due the fairly long wheelbase and humped up rear roofline that make the exterior appear so odd, but these only contribute an inch or two to the equation

    It probably does make all the difference in the world. Many modern sedans see the roof start to fall away just past the front seat. Combined with the throne-like front seats in many modern cars and you lose either headroom and/or thigh support. Add a sunroof and it’s game-over.

    In this car, as well as, say, my old Saab 9-3, the roofline doesn’t start dropping away until after the rear seat, so you get precious inches back, allowing you to raise the seat cushion. It might be a few inches, but it only takes a few inches to make it.**

    I don’t understand why more modern cars aren’t hatchbacks. The decklid is practically vestigial on most cars, so why not hinge it at the roof and be done with it.

    ** oblig “that’s what she said!”

  • avatar
    findude

    I actually like these. I’m sure the designer had the silhouette of a Tatra sedan imprinted deep into his unconscious early on.

  • avatar

    Great review. Great car. Nice pictures too. Love the paner. That chrono blob on the dash is funny. Absolutely boss car. The interior excites me. Porsche! OBVIOUSLY you don’t need to have more than one car.

    In sharp contrast, the Panamera sits like a sports car and drives like a sports car

    Zigs like crazy!

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Do you suppose the reliability of this car will be more like the 911 or the Cayenne? If more like the 911, might it be overall lower cost than an E63 or M5?

    If the designers had just continued to back straight out it could have been a small station wagon. That would look a lot better. Oh well.

    I went to a test drive get-together at my local Porsche dealer. They had a Boxter, Cayman, Carrera, Panamera, and Cayenne that people could take for a spin. There was no waiting for the Panamera or Cayenne.

    • 0 avatar

      Reliability is likely to be more similar to the Cayenne. Similar use and features. All of the sports cars get a boost in the reliability ratings because they tend to be weekend cars driven an average of 5k miles a year.

      I’ve seen Photoshopped Panamera wagons, and they do look good.

    • 0 avatar
      ydoc

      I had the same wagon thought. Then I realized that what I really want is this.

      Panamera + wagon+ air( or better yet Hydropneumatic suspension)=Citroën DS Break – also known as the Safari, Familiale, or Wagon. It would still be kind of ugly but I like it.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    I just can’t get past the fuggy factor with this one. If I were ever to drop that kind of money on a sedan, I would want it to make we ache with pleasure every time I saw it.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I was at the shop that works on a friend’s car Saturday. They work on Porsches almost exclusively. I’d been told to expect a Carrera GT when I walked in. It turned out to be spread all over the shop. It was in for a clutch replacement, which involves removing all the bodywork aft of the doors, dropping the engine and transmission, and removing various pieces that other cars don’t even have. The parts to do the clutch cost $19,000. That is nineteen thousand dollars. The labor is another $6,000. The car had 18,000 miles. I asked if it was driven hard, and was told that it was actually driven quite gently. Usually the tripple-disc clutches are replaced between 10,000 and 12,000 miles. At a cost of $25,000. I then asked what happens when guys who buy $60,000 Caymans with PDK transmissions get a few thousand miles on them and start needing clutches. “I’ll buy their cars,” was the answer.

    • 0 avatar
      Rada

      German engineering – it’s just pathetic.

    • 0 avatar
      Fusion

      Don’t really get your point here.

      Not only is the quoted price way too high (I’ve seen Carrera GT clutch jobs quoted at below 10k, material and work included). Also, the Carrera GT doesn’t even use a PDK. It doesn’t even use a triple disc clutch, it is a two plate ceramic dry manual transmission.

      Also, remember the GT was a 500.000$ Supercar – any sort of work on that sort of car usually goes five digits. Not really any base to judge the repair costs (or longetivity) of the normal cars. Especially ones that do not use ceramic transmissions… ;)

      (Also, in the context of this article, the Panamera uses a different transmission than the 911 or Cayman)…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’m looking at the photo I took of the engine separated from the transaxle. Looking carefully at the photo blown up on my monitor, it does look like their are two plates instead of three. If there’s a place you’d like me to post the photos I took, you’ll be able to see why I thought it was a tripple plate clutch. Considering where the work is being done, I’m guessing that $25K is VERY competitive and that the owner is aware of what area dealer rates are for the work.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckR

      The clutch on a Carrera GT is tiny. An acquaintance who tracks his cars – 911s – got the chance to drive one. He found that launching the thing was extremely difficult. In stop and go traffic, impossible – you’d never have the room. I’d speculate that the owner did drive on the road and slipped the daylights out of the clutch.

      PDKs and similar transmissions- I’ll wait for MK to give me some feedback on how they last.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      The parts to do the clutch cost $19,000. That is nineteen thousand dollars. The labor is another $6,000.

      If you owned a 500k car wouldn’t you be used to spending that kind of money on a few hours jet rental?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I was at Buttonwillow yesterday with a guy who bought a new transporter because he was ticketed for his last transporter being 1.5 feet too long. He got a point on his license for the ticket, or he’d pay the fine every time he goes to the track and consider it another expense. He loves that completing a competitive lap in his GT3 means getting every entry perfect, but even he doesn’t like wasting money on components that aren’t up to their tasks or spending it on anything that is obviously an opportunistic rip off. To that effect he didn’t bother to bring the Porsche to the track this time, even though his new transporter still has room for it. One year ago, the most common cars at Checkered Flag Racing track days were Porsches. Yesterday there were four or five out of about fifty cars. There were 3 911 GT3s in our group of eight and one Boxster being sorted for PCA Spec Boxster. This year only one of the GT3s showed up, and it was the one that belonged to the rookie last year. The other 2 GT3s have been supplanted by built E36s that are BMW CCA competition bound and the Boxster driver didn’t show up. Porsche may be stronger than ever with the ladies who lunch and the guys who buy male enhancement products, but they don’t seem to be doing too well with drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      rbmojo

      I call BS on this post…

  • avatar
    Grahambo

    My IROC Z28 with upgraded springs and shocks will kill this thing in the corners. All for 5900. And with a supercharger, I will destroy it in a straight line.

    Signed,

    Car mag subscriber I used to see every issue of every car mag and hated but now miss (on TTAC at least).

    Seriously though CJinSD’s comment reminds me of an Automobile Mag review of a Lamborghini or Ferrari from the late 80s. It was noted that the car would need a new clutch – which “shouldn’t cost much more than a new VW GTI.”.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      > My IROC Z28 with upgraded springs and shocks will kill this thing in the corners. All for 5900. And with a supercharger, I will destroy it in a straight line.

      You would feel right at home in Seaside Heights, NJ. But you would get towed sight unseen if the IROC is parked at a country club.

    • 0 avatar
      Buckshot

      Can the moderator remove comments like this please?
      I´m sure that a stripped Civic with a big ass turbo could win a dragrace against the Panamera, but that´s irrelevant.

      I like the Panamera but the exteriour is odd at best.

      The best way to use this car is probably fast and long transportation on smooth roads like the Autobahn.

  • avatar
    Rada

    Just as ugly as Honda Crosstour

  • avatar
    Advo

    I’m trying to figure out how an old-style whale tail spoiler would be able to fit on the back to wrap around somewhat and disguise that rear end.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Why anyone would want to spend 69K on a GM car is beyond me.

    • 0 avatar

      Because nothing else looks like it, and nothing else gives you as much power as it does at that $69K. The CTS-V Coupe is AWESOME. I don’t expect everyone to like it – God knows I’m no fan of Porsche or Audi.

  • avatar
    william442

    This automobile looks, and sits, much better in person, then on paper. My drive was only about 50 feet, so I cannot comment. Oh, it really smells good inside.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    I’ve driven the Turbo at Road America… I could probably put a review up if anybody cared to read it.

    My personal opinion of the car is that it is an utter disgrace to the company. It should be canceled, and every one in private hands should be repossessed and burned to the ground.

  • avatar

    I’d rather have the CTS-V Coupe than even the highest end Porsche Panamera. It’s not a money issue. I’ve never been a fan of Porsche and I found way more interior space in the CTS-V Coupe than the Panamera for the front driver/passenger. The Panamera was very narrow. I’d also take the 2012 CLS over the Panamera.

  • avatar
    DearS

    I need to run some errands, drive to work and pick up my girlfriend at the airport. A Golf GDi sounds better than a Panamera for that, perhaps a Ford Focus? I’m afraid of driving too fast in the city or over 80 on the highway. I want an engaging, quite, responsive, smooth, personal and easy going car to drive around, a new GDi is my best guess. For going shopping, to dinner, to a movie, to visit a relative etc, I’d go for a quiet, competent, luxury and somewhat sporty whip. A Panamera would do nicely. I can carve up the road in either one.

    • 0 avatar
      Diesel Fuel Only

      The Audi A3 is always available if you want leather seats and all that luxury car jazz.

      If I were to have a sports car, it’d be a Lotus. A proper sports car has no room for luggage and no ability to damp out potholes, and both are certainly true of the Lotus (but that’s off topic).

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Get a Chevy Impala LTZ and call it a day – you do get chrome door handles!

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    The 911’s frog profile just doesn’t suit a car as big and long as the Panamera – the thing just looks huge and ungainly, even more so in person. The 911 itself is no longer a small car (though the shape tends to mask that fact), so adding two doors and legroom to that template is problematic to say the least.

    On the plus side, the Panamera is the perfect car for the nouveau-riche China market – ginormous, expensive, “prestigious”, looks be damned – which probably explains its popularity over there. Can’t say that I see many Stateside, however, even in the teutonic compulsive Bay Area. I saw a decent number in Germany, which was surprising but I think that market has a soft spot for large luxury sedans (witness the Phaeton).

    Unlike the purists (probably because I’ve never been a huge Porsche fan), I have no problem with this car in concept and I hope that they are able to give it the nips and tucks it needs to be attractive with the next redesign (assuming that it sticks around long enough to get one). I love what they’ve done with the new Cayenne (tightened up the surfaces, dropped 400 lbs, made it handle like a Porsche), so we’ll see if there’s potential left in the Panamera or if it’s destined to be another unloved Porsche oddball.

    A buddy of mine keeps talking about getting one of these even as I try to get him to look at the Quattroporte and Rapide and eventually the new M5. I don’t get it, but then again, I can’t afford it …

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Yes, I realize that many ’82 Datsuns outfitted with seven turbos can beat this car in a straight line until it exploded. Thats not really the point, is it? This is a better car then the CTS-V. Its more comfortable, has more cache, has usable back seats and more and easier to access trunk space. The CTS it tall, narrow, bad back seat space, no folding back seats (i think),and no hatchback, and almost impossable to see out of.

    I will admit tho, it probably won’t any beauty contests. However, the inside looks very inviting. Frankly, since after I buy a car, i spend most of my time inside it, I generally go for cars that are cool and fun and nice on the inside.

    While I cannot imagine the need to spend this kind of money on a car, I prefer the Porsche.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I was among the haters when we first started seeing spy photos of camo’d Panamera mules testing.

    It still isn’t the most photogenic car out there, but I can report its looks have grown on me and I’ve made a complete 180.

    Other than being instantly recognizable as a Porsche, it looks like nothing else on the road, and has considerable presence and substantiveness.

    It isn’t classically beautiful, but it is interesting-looking.

    Also, park it between a Toyota Venza and an Honda Crosstour and it starts looking pretty good!

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      Funny, the Venza was one of those cars that looked good in pictures to me and looked horrible in person, opposite of your Panamera experience.

  • avatar
    hachee

    I have to admit, it took a long time for me to get my head around the idea of the Cayenne and the Panamera. It’s romantic to think of the idea of a small, exclusive maker of great sports cars. But times change, whether we like it or not.

    While I’m not a fan of the looks of the Panamera, even if it has grown on me a bit, it’s just one of those cars that you drive and just go, “fuck, this is awesome” – and if you want something as close to a sports car as you can get and still have room for four, there aren’t a lot of choices. I’ve never driven a Cayenne, but I suppose it’s the same – I assume it’s just better to drive than any other SUV out there – and that’s what you expect from a Porsche.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    I’ve seen a couple around town. They’re always being driven in the passing lane by a bald man going 5 under.

    Always.

    They do look better in person. Particularly from the front, after you’ve high-beamed them, muttered under your breath, and passed them on the right.

    My sample size is small, but I believe this is to retired men what the X5 is to soccer moms, and the tC is to gelled/chavved twenty-somethings: the vehicle of choice for the douche of their demographic.

    • 0 avatar

      Social stereotyper society expert says sedan sucks, plays versed X5 combo card, cites soccer moms. Bold, swift and deliberate delivery.

      Well done.

      • 0 avatar
        cackalacka

        You should have left out ‘expert’ in that first clause, then you could have had an alliteration tour de force.

        At this point we’re hovering around 6 Panameras I’ve seen on the road. Tell you what, though, I’ll eat crow once I come across one driven by a gentleman with a full head of hair.

        Keep this comment thread bookmarked, and GPS-track that murder of crows, ‘cuz it’s going to be a loooooong time before that happens.

    • 0 avatar
      Logans_Run

      Based upon my more scientific demographics (since I live in Newporsche Beach, CA) and there are a ton of them running around out here in both Newport Beach and Newport Coast, I would say your observation is correct. Seems like it is popular with the over 60 crowd that wants the look and feel of both a luxury car and the sportiness of the Porsche name.

  • avatar

    Four doors four seats more weight MORE WHINING

    P: IT”S UGLY!!!!!!
    S: No one cares

    P: Too expensive.
    S: No one cares

    P: Too wrong
    S: No one cares

    P: It sucks
    S: As if

    Oh but my DSG!!! My fancy tires, and racing programme! CARBON FIBER

    (I hate turbochargers, because they are blasphemous. NA only.)

  • avatar
    LimpWristedLiberal

    It’s the idea of the Ferrari FF in the shape of the Accord Crosstour.

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    Audi A7 looks better, and offers acceleration that’s smack in between the 4S and the 4, for WAY less. Just as nice inside, too. I’m sure it doesn’t handle as well, but will still handle well enough for the target market. Neither car will likely end up on a track, so….

  • avatar
    Scott

    The single best feature of this car is that you don’t have to look at it while driving. Now to figure out how to get into it without catching a glimpse and vomiting.


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