Porsche Panamera Review

Porsche Panamera Review
Porsche Panamera : Despite the fact that we’re apparently still in the midst of a global economic meltdown – are you as tired of this phrase as I am? – the introduction of a brand new executive sedan may just be the most important reveal of the 2009 automotive season. Let’s study the facts: Porsche has been building cars since 1939, many of them of the sort that get the blood percolating.

Its built a wide variety of sports cars of the front-, mid- and rear-engine variety, its built a four-wheel-drive sports car and used it to win the Paris-Dakar Rally, its even built an SUV, but Porsche has never built a production sedan, until now.

When the company introduced the Cayenne back in 2003, the business case was relatively straightforward: research indicated that Porsche customers were also buying luxury SUVs and it had none in its showrooms to offer. So, to stem the tide of people venturing over to the BMW and Mercedes lots for their SUV fix, it produced an off-roader of its own.

It was a fantastic move. Around the world, sales for the Cayenne have been incredibly strong until the recent downturn; so strong, they helped bring Porsche unprecedented financial stability. With the Porsche Panamera you have to wonder if lightning will strike twice; now that Porsche has abandoned its status as a manufacturer devoted exclusively to sports cars, will it find an audience for another model that deviates from its initial raison d’être?

Let’s not beat around the bush and jump right to the conclusion; yes, the Panamera will find an audience, economy notwithstanding, for a very simple reason, if you’re in the market for an executive express or a gran turismo sedan (as they like to call it), the Porsche absolutely must be on your shopping list.

For the press event held in the Bavarian Alps, three versions of the Porsche Panamera were at my disposal: the rear-wheel drive Panamera S, the all-wheel drive Panamera 4S and the rear-wheel drive Porsche Panamera Turbo, all equipped with the PDK dual-clutch transmission. Many markets will receive other versions of the new sedan, including a V6 model, rear-wheel-drive V8 paired with a six-speed manual transmission, and –eventually – a petrol-electric hybrid.

The drive route was brilliantly conceived. The Porsche Panamera is a big car – very big – and wider than the average executive sedan, so it’s not the perfect choice for Europe’s famed switchback turns or alpine passes. But it is great for a selection of gently winding roads and quick blasts along the autobahn; for it’s here where the sheer genius of the car’s engineering comes into sharp focus.

Even though lightweight materials have been used throughout the build, the Porsche Panamera still tips the scales at between 1770kg, for the manual S, and 1970kg, for the Turbo. Given this weight, motivation was a key factor and, as expected, Porsche has answered the call with a pair of potent engines. The Panamera S and 4S are powered by a 4.8-litre V8 that features direct fuel injection, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing and a dry sump lubrication system. This powerplant generates 294kW and 499Nm of torque with a healthy band that stretches between 3500rpm and 5000rpm.

Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera Review

Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera Review

Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera Review

Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera Review

Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera Review


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