Detroit, February 9, 2015 — Push accelerator, go fast – it’s a simple concept that’s been a hallmark of philosophy at Porsche for decades. Its history of chock full of cars that have excited the senses and the soul with heart-riveting performance, style and handling.
Base price: $141,300
Price as tested: $194,685
There’s something rather invigorating about taking the wheel of a Porsche and it’s hard to put a finger on exactly why that is. It could be the incredible pedigree of the brand and how it has evolved to be the “largest small car manufacturer in the world”. Its performance, handling and style are top-notch and still the benchmark for many sport car enthusiasts around the world.
With its Panamera Turbo, Porsche has set the bar for what a four-door performance sedan should be. The way this car handles and its straight-line performance are simply stunning. The body lines make it look like a 4-door 911 and by some accounts, it is – think of it as the 911 that four people get to enjoy rather than two.
A 4.8 liter V8 lies underneath the hood and it develops a hearty 520 horsepower with 516 lb-ft. (568 lb-ft. with overboost) of torque. The net result is an engine that can propel this car from 0-60 in a snappy 3.7 seconds (with the Sport Chrono) and has a rated top speed of 189 miles per hour. Of course there’s built-in launch control which makes for countless hours of fun – there’s something uncanny about that feeling one gets from feeling like their stomach is melding into the seat on a fast launch.
Stopping is easily done thanks to the upgrade to Porsche’s large ceramic composite disc brakes – a $9200.00 upgrade – which showed little to no fake, even with heavy stop and go.
Porsche couples this engine with an active all-wheel-drive system that makes driving though inclement weather a great deal more bearable. There’s a 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung transmission with a full manual mode and paddle-shifters. Drivers also have a user-selectable exhaust mode for varying degrees of noise levels as well as varying driving modes. In performance mode, however, the exhaust is set to be in “performance mode” as well which means you’ll have a very sweet-sounding exhaust that rings like music to your ears.
Driver viewable gauges have a cool look between retro and modern – a look that really applies to the entire cabin area. There are four analog gauges and one digital gauge of driver-selectable information to be displayed on it.
Porsche doesn’t at all skimp on the amenities either. The car is chocked full of great tech, a very good-sounding audio system and enough creature comforts to keep even the snobbiest folks happy. Our test model had $50,000 worth of upgrades which included the upgraded audio system, a rear seat entertainment and climate control system with, of course, full automatically-adjustable seats for those passengers as well.
The multimedia infotainment system has a responsive screen to it but the on-board navigation map could use an update, perhaps take a cue from Audi’s Google Earth – it’d sure seem more in-line with a car that costs nearly $200,000. The upgraded Bermester sound system features 1,000 watts of amplification, 16 speakers, 300-watt subwoofer with a rated frequency response of 30hz to 20Khz. It’s easily one of the best-sounding systems this reviewer has ever heard in any new car – its clarity, sonic impact and fidelity are definitely world-class.
Driving the Panamera is a true delight for the driver as the engine really does a great job of propelling the car down the road and everything feels very effortless. Hit the launch control for a ride you and any passengers inside won’t soon forget. It’s great to see a car filled with four grown-men all giggle like little girls from having their stomach’s pinned to their spine during a fast 0-60 time.
The car made short-work of any kind of road we tested it on – even with dealer-equipped snow tires for the threat of snow in Michigan where we tested this car at. Not only does the car rocket in a forward motion it also handles extremely well – it just feels ultra-balanced as if it’s on rails. There was no corner we drove it on that it couldn’t absolutely make you feel as if you’ve demolished it. The car almost seemed as if it was begging to be pushed harder.
The looks of this car present one of the most polarizing styles of any four-door sedan on the road today – folks seem to either love it or have a strong distain for it. Even if you fall in the latter category, there’s something about this car that grows on you, makes you feel very much a part of its soul.
Its price is clearly for the more financially affluent so that will prevent a great deal of potential customers out of the running. However, for those with the dough, there’s really no other four-door sedan like it. Sure, the Audi GS7 is super close in performance but lacks the other characteristics that Porsche fans have come to know and expect.