A Bargain At $74,400, But Watch Out For Camrys At Stoplights

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
a bargain at 74 400 but watch out for camrys at stoplights

In my off-site review of the Porsche Panamera Turbo, I wrote

After years of reminding auto enthusiasts that pure power and performance numbers don’t make for a perfect car, Porsche has gone ahead and proved the point themselves.

So. Take a sedan which is primarily notable for its racetrack performance… and remove that performance. What do you have? You have the Porsche Panamera V6.

Here’s the scoop on the engine:

The new Panamera models feature an all-new, Porsche-designed 3.6-liter, 90-degree V6 engine with Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) that develops 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Built on the same line as the normally aspirated and twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 engines found in the Panamera S, 4S and Turbo, this new engine propels the Panamera and Panamera 4 from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 and 5.8 seconds, respectively (5.8 and 5.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package Plus option). Top test track speeds are 160 and 159 mph, respectively.

Porsche tends to be conservative with 0-60 numbers, but be aware that the special-advertising-section crew at Car and Driver managed to squeeze a 5.8-second romp out of a 2007 Camry XLE V-6. Be aware, as well, that a Panamera is a bit heavier than a Camry (3,880 lbs plays 3,483, according to the manufacturers) and doesn’t have much more power. Freeway racers will want to stick with the tried and true champ from Georgetown, KY.

There’s something odd, as well, about the idea of Porsche developing an “all-new” 3.6L engine that makes the same power as the 3.6L flat-six which debuted eleven years ago in the “996”-generation 911. It’s difficult not to consider this as the crown jewel in Porsche’s Museum Of Corporate Cynicism; a truck-derived car with a truck-derived engine, sold to henpecked men whose spouses would never dream of letting them own a Nine Eleven.

With that said, there’s actually a value-for-money side to this story. The BMW 740Li costs $74,550, weighs considerably more, doesn’t have much more power, and won’t corner as well. If you are buying your ticket at the Nordschleife gate and see a 740Li behind you, rest assured you’ll smoke that fool from Flugplatz to Pflanzgarten II. Unless you engage (and pay for) Launch Control, however, the race into Whole Foods against your neighbor’s Toyota might be a bit tougher to win.

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5 of 62 comments
  • Akatsuki Akatsuki on Jun 10, 2010

    Why did they use a V6 instead of their own flat? At least it would have some real heritage for the name. But maybe it is for the best, just keep it non-authentic.

    • Niky Niky on Jun 10, 2010

      Porsche uses a different engine family for their front-engined products. The 928 and 944 used VW-derived four-cylinders and a V8. The Cayenne uses V6s and 8s... so it makes sense to build the Panamera to use them, too.

  • Buckshot Buckshot on Jun 10, 2010

    I´m not sure about the buyers of the Panamera, but something like 95% of cardrivers doesn´t care about if they can outrun other cars at stoplights. Mustang? :-) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jrbxdh5Bjcw

    • See 1 previous
    • Buckshot Buckshot on Jun 10, 2010

      Afaik the bashing here is not restricted to just non-american cars. Clarkson exaggerates a bit, but Ford Mustang is hardly "The Holy Grail" even if the construction is old.

  • Tassos those 90s pathetic orange pixels are inexcusably lame in a 2010.The interior is filled with Grey Rubbermaid plastic and the tiny sliver of real or fake wood is an utterly pathetic attempt to pretend it's upscale (don't even THINK of "Luxury")Merc SLs with similar metal retractable roofs look so much better inside and out.Regardless of what you paid for this way undepowered near-luxury pretend-sports car, you would have done so much better with a PORSCHE BOXSTER...
  • Dukeisduke That's a cool picture (the one under the bridge) - where was it taken? Google Image Search doesn't turn up any matches.
  • Dukeisduke Okay, yeah, they should fix this, but, "URGENT: DO NOT DRIVE THIS VEHICLE"? I think we're reaching Peak Idiocracy.
  • MaintenanceCosts This is a great review, and very accurate from my perspective as the owner of a closely related, but longer and taller, E93 335i convertible. So much in this review is familiar. Here are the things that are a bit different about the 335i:[list][*]My car is a manual. Shifter action is good, with positive engagement, although a bit more play and rubbery feeling in the shifter than you would get with, say, a six-speed Honda. The clutch is a bit disappointing. It has a "clutch dampening valve" intended to protect against the most abusive clutch dumps. The valve throws my timing off a bit and I have had a hard time learning to drive this car with perfect smoothness, especially in the 1-2 shift. I may remove the valve at some point.[/*][*]My car has the turbo (in single-turbo N55 form). On the plus side, you get what feels like significantly more power than the rated 300 hp once on the boost, and even in fully stock form you get entertaining whooshing noises from the blowoff valve. On the minus side, there is some turbo lag, more than you get in many modern turbo cars, and fuel economy is, well, not close to what Corey is getting. The turbo car also comes with an active exhaust system that is extremely quiet when puttering while making some nice inline-six noise at wide-open throttle.[/*][*]There are back seats! I have a nine-year-old and a six-year-old. The six-year-old fits perfectly. The nine-year-old still fits, but that will likely change within the next three years. These seats are not usable for adults unless the front-seat occupants squeeze forward more than normal. E92 coupes are slightly roomier in back, and E90 sedans are substantially roomier.[/*][*]My car has the M Sport suspension, which does not have variable dampers. It's firm enough that I have to be careful to avoid even small holes on city streets if I don't want to get jarred. But if you can avoid the holes it feels good, navigating expansion joints and such without uncomfortable impact, while maintaining impressive body control for a porky 3900-pound convertible.[/*][*]My car has iDrive and a screen, as well as parking sensors. But it does not have a backup camera. Graphics on the screen are pretty good by 2011 standards, which is to say not acceptable by modern standards, but the system is easy enough to navigate and works pretty well. I prefer the rotary controller to a touch screen for fingerprint reasons.[/*][*]The parking sensors are by far the best of any car I've ever owned, and they are so accurate I really don't need a camera. The sensors go to a solid beep when the appropriate end is about 4" from an object, and I can comfortably cover about half that distance with no fear of bumping. They also project legimately useful graphics on the iDrive screen showing where the object is. I park in tight city settings enough that I really appreciate the accuracy. Also in the city parking mold, my car has power folding mirrors, which I wish every car would.[/*][*]Like you, I have the mid-level "Hi-Fi Professional" stereo setup, but in the four-seat convertible there is not a dedicated subwoofer. Bass is a bit on the weak side. Sound quality is about comparable with the JBL system in my Toyota Highlander, which is to say it's good enough for listening in the car but is not going to impress anyone.[/*][*]There are small leaks from the joints between the top and the A-pillars in my car. They won't soak the interior, but they will result in a few drops of water on the front seats after a hard rain. I'm still experimenting to see if regular applications of rubber protectant can restore the seals enough to eliminate the leaks. There are no leaks from any other part of the top mechanism.[/*][*]I've only owned the car for about eight months and 1500 miles, but so far nothing has broken and every feature on the car works correctly. A purchase-time inspection found only an incorrectly secured fan shroud and no other problems, and there is a mostly complete service history, so this was a well-maintained car to start with.[/*][/list]
  • Lou_BC This offer reminds me of those plans where you get something free but if you fail to cancel prior to the expiry of the "Free" plan you end up on the hook for a lengthy contract. Tesla wants to attract people to their electrical company. It's smart. Make money selling the car, make money with subscription services on the car, and make money selling the fuel to power the car at home and at charging stations.