While some may assume that the V6-powered Panamera was likely the first model in Porsche's full-size luxury sedan range, it is actually a later comer to the party and arrived with the all-wheel drive Panamera 4 variant by its side.
The addition of the new base model, 300 horsepower V6-powered Panamera was intended to broaden the range from its previously limited-to-V8 approach while simultaneously offering both a lower (entry) price point and improved fuel economy. This new engine is no slouch, even finding its roots in the V8 engine powering more expensive models - sans two cylinders.
The Panamera is 76 inches in width, making it an especially wide sedan. A Mercedes-Benz S-Class, by comparison, is less than 74 inches wide. The Panamera measures 55.8 inches in height and 195.7 inches in length. This makes for a roomy interior, especially for just four passengers. The cabin is complete with 18-way adjustable front seats, and eight-way adjustable rear seats.
The entry-level powerplant is a 3.6-liter six-cylinder derived from Porsche's V8 engine, good in this case for 300 horsepower to the rear wheels. This engine has direct fuel injection, infinitely variable intake camshaft adjustment with variable valve lift, an on-demand oil pump, water cooling with thermal management, a variable intake manifold and Auto Start Stop.
This technology-packed six-pot is mated exclusively to a seven-speed DK double-clutch gearbox - weighing in at a combined weight of just 404 lbs. This combination is good for 18 city, 27 highway miles per gallon.
Despite being down 100 horsepower compared to the base V8 model, the Panamera still sprints from a dead stop to 60 miles per hour in a respectable six seconds - or just 5.8 with the optional Sport Chrono Package Plus. Top speed is limited to 160 mph.
Something looks different
To help differentiate from the more powerful (and pricier) models, Porsche swapped the chrome typically found around the windows with a matte black finish, the dual exhaust with a single exhaust and 18-inch light-alloy five-spoke wheels with black brake calipers as opposed to larger wheels and flashier brakes.
Some things are still the same
Despite having two fewer cylinders than the rest of the Panamera range (except the Panamera 4), this new base model still shares the same advanced suspension technologies found on other models.
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), (standard on all Panamera models), 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.
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 presented in the instrument cluster for four seconds each time the mode is changed.
The Panamera uses Servotronic speed-sensitive power steering which functions at high speeds by keeping the steering firm and taut. At low speeds, Servotronic increases the power assistance, making maneuvering and parking less fatiguing on the driver.
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.
The closest competitor to the Panamera in terms of size, price and power is the BMW 740i, which features a smooth twin-turbo inline six. The Lexus LS 460 is also close in price, offering a more powerful V8 along with a luxury-focused (read: dull) driving experience. Those looking for an environmentally-friendly large sedan should check out the turbodiesel V6-powered Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTEC 4MATIC, which returns 31 mpg on the highway.