Porsche's first regular-production four-door sedan is offered with either rear- or all-wheel drive, and certain models can be ordered with a long wheelbase.
Visually, the Panamera is instantly recognizable as a Porsche thanks to stretched oval headlamps similar to the ones found other members of the family, slim vertical turn signals and three large air dams built into the bumper. Out back, the sedan features a sloping profile and a hatchback that helps free up a generous 15.3 cubic feet of trunk space.
With room for just four passengers, the Panamera's interior is plush enough to rival Mercedes-Benz and BMW. A variety of trim surfaces including wood, aluminum, and carbon fiber are offered at an extra cost, and buyers can pick between several upholstery colors to create a bespoke look. The instrument cluster consists of four analog gauges and one gauge that houses a thin-film transistor (TFT) screen that can be configured to display numerous different types of vehicle information.
The dashboard features a seven-inch high-resolution touch screen that runs a high-tech infotainment system called Porsche Communications Manager (PCM). PCM groups the car's audio, navigation and communication functions into a single easy-to-use interface that packs a 40 GB hard drive, a USB port, and Bluetooth connectivity.
In navigation mode, PCM can show routes in either 2D or 3D in order to give the driver an idea of what terrain variation he or she will encounter during the trip. The system also has a split-screen mode, making it access to get a map and a list of directions at the same time.
All of PCM's functions can be controlled by buttons, knobs or a built-in voice recognition software.
Select Panamera models come with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), a system that varies damper forces in an infinite process and adjusts the dampers to road conditions and the driver's style of motoring. Incorporating adaptively controlled dampers with infinite adjustment of damper forces, PASM allows the driver, through the PASM button on the center console, to choose among three control maps - Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus.
In Comfort mode, the driver enjoys all the smoothness and motoring comfort of a grand touring sedan. Sport Plus thrills with the performance and agility of a full-fledged Porsche sports car, and Sport is middle ground between the two extremes.
The damper force required is consistently calculated and fed to the respective wheel in all three modes. The PASM mode chosen when the car is switched off is retained upon engine restart. A damper symbol is displayed in the instrument cluster for four seconds each time the mode is changed.
Panamera and Panamera 4
The entry-level Panamera is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that is derived from the V8 found in more expensive models. It features direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, an on-demand oil pump, water cooling with thermal management, a variable intake manifold and a fuel-saving automatic start/stop system. Rated at 310 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque, the six-cylinder sends power to the rear wheels via Porsche's seven-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox manual transmission.
The sprint from zero to 60 mph is achieved in 6.0 seconds, a figure that drops to 5.7 with the optional Sport Chrono Package. Top speed is electronically limited to 160 mph.
An all-wheel drive system dubbed Porsche Traction Management (PTM) adds a 4 emblem on the hatch and several thousand dollars to the base price. With sensors permanently monitoring driving conditions, the speed of all four wheels and the steering angle, PTM can respond instantaneously to different driving requirements and situations. As soon as the rear wheels start to spin when accelerating, for example, a multiple-plate clutch intervenes more sharply to feed more power to the front wheels. In curves, the flow of power to the front wheels is carefully monitored to ensure optimum lateral stability at all times. And whenever the car's brake control systems intervene, PTM disconnects the front axle completely, allowing stability control to intervene individually on the appropriate wheels.
The base Panamera comes standard with partial leather upholstery, rear park assist, cruise control, an automatic hatch, bi-xenon headlights, a multi-function steering wheel and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Panamera S, 4S, S E-Hybrid and 4S Executive
S models use an all-aluminum 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that sends 420 horsepower and 384 lb-ft. of torque to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Zero to 60 mph is achieved in 4.9 seconds (4.6 with the optional Sport Chrono package) and top speed is reached at 178 mph. The 4S model uses the same turbocharged six-pot but gains the aforementioned PTM all-wheel drive system.
Powered by Porsche's first-ever plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the S E-Hybrid features a 3.0-liter supercharged 333-horsepower V6 bolted to an eight-speed tiptronic transmission, and a 95-horsepower electric motor linked to a 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The motor works to reduce gas mileage and CO2 emissions and can propel the car on electricity alone for up to 22 miles if the heater and A/C are turned off. Alternatively, it can provide an instant acceleration boost when merging on the freeway or passing.
The long-wheelbase 4S Executive rides on a wheelbase nearly 6 inches longer than the standard model. All of the extra space has been added to the rear seat area, which features individual bucket seats.
S and 4S models come standard with bi-xenon headlights, eight-way front power seats, a tire pressure monitoring system, a multi-function steering wheel, partial leather upholstery, rear park-assist, auto-dimming mirrors, model-specific wheels and an automatic hatch.
S E-Hybrid models add a full leather interior, a Porsche Universal Charger, adaptive air suspension, heated front seats, a rear wiper and a software called Porsche Car Connect e-mobility services.
Executive versions gain 14-way front power seats, Porsche's PASM suspension, eight-way rear power seats, front park-assist, ventilated front and rear seats, heated rear seats, an electric sunblind behind the rear window and soft close doors.
GTS-badged Panameras use a potent direct-injected 4.8-liter V8 engine that is also found in the engine bay of the Cayenne GTS. Linked to a seven-speed double-clutch transmission, it makes 440 horsepower and 384 lb-ft. of torque, enough to send the Panamera from zero to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds and on to an Autobahn-worthy top speed of 179 mph. A standard start/stop system helps improve gas mileage.
The GTS stands out from more affordable models with specific badges, bespoke air intakes and 19-inch alloy wheels. It comes standard with a sport exhaust system, an adaptive rear spoiler, shift paddles, front and rear park assist, Porsche's PCM infotainment system, PASM suspension, automatic headlights, a SportDesign steering wheel, 18-way adjustable sport seats and heated front seats. GTS buyers also get Porsche's Sport Chrono packages, which adds a dash-mounted stopwatch, a sportier three-spoke steering wheel and creates a sportier driving experience by modifying the suspension and throttle settings.
Panamera Turbo, Turbo S and Turbo Executive
As its name implies, the Turbo model is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 that generates 520 horsepower and 516 lb-ft. of torque, though an overboost function briefly bumps torque up to 568 lb-ft. Linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the eight-cylinder propels the Panamera to 60 mph from a stop in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 189 mph. Buyers who select the optional Sport Chrono Package shave .2 seconds off of the sprint to 60 mph.
Turbo models come standard with a sport exhaust system, a moonroof, automatic headlights, shift paddles, a SportDesign steering wheel, an Alcantara-upholstered headliner and an electronically-adjustable steering wheel.
In addition to a longer wheelbase, the Turbo Executive model adds a remote control for the radio, eight-way power adjustable rear seats, ventilated rear seats, electric sunblinds for the rear windows and soft close doors.
The range-topping, all-wheel drive Turbo S model pushes the V8's output to 570 horsepower and a solid 553 lb-ft. of torque thanks to a host of internal and electronic modifications. The same overboost function bumps torque up to 590 lb-ft. for short bursts of time. Building upon the Turbo model, it adds 20-inch 911-sourced wheels, an aggressive 4-way rear spoiler, keyless entry and start, a premium Bose sound system with 14 speakers, full leather upholstery and rear heated seats.
Porsche offers the Panamera with a mile-long list of options that includes everything from custom paint colors to rear wheel spacers. It includes (but is by no means limited to) a wide array of alloy wheels including a certain design pulled from the 911 parts bin, full leather upholstery, premium audio systems, side skirts, LED headlights, ceramic brakes, a larger fuel tank, a lane departure warning, a heated steering wheel, a fire extinguisher and adaptive cruise control.
Adventure-minded buyers can choose to pick up their Panamera in either Zuffenhausen or Leipzig, Germany.
The Panamera comes equipped with eight airbags, including dual front, side-impact and curtain airbags. Knee airbags are integrated into the lower part of the instrument panel and hold back the lower body of the driver and front passenger in a head-on collision. Porsche's stability management system is fitted as standard.
The Panamera's competitors include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the BMW 7-Series, the Audi A8, the Maserati Quattroporte. The Turbo S model squares off against the Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG, the BMW M760i, and the Aston Martin Rapide S, while the Hybrid model fights in the same arena as the markedly more affordable Lexus LS 600h L.