Until the Porsche Panamera arrived on the scene, “four-door sedan” was a synonym for boredom. There are only so many ways you can interpret the standard three-box profile and utilitarian mission. And then along comes Porsche with a four-door like no other, the Panamera. The 2012 Porsche Panamera is a redefinition of the four-door, four-place vehicle, but this one is more sports car than anything else.
Before the Panamera, there was no place for owners of Porsche sports cars to turn when their needs demanded a change. Now there’s no need to leave the fold. You can carry four biggie-sized adults plus their luggage in a true Porsche. It’s not just a single model, either, but a range of highly-flexible configurations to choose from. The Panamera, Panamera S, Panamera GTS, and Panamera Turbo are the main categories, each offering increasing steps of luxury and performance. Panamera 4 and 4S employ all0wheel drive, and there’s even the Panamera Hybrid for maximum fuel efficiency.
The Panamera (MSRP $75,200) is powered by a 300 hp V6 that returns a surprisingly miserly 27 mpg highway fuel economy from this very roomy, quick sedan. Panamera S models (MSRP $90,300) make use of a 400 hp V8 engine for even quicker performance like a 0-60 run of 5.2 seconds and a top track speed of 175 mph. The Panamera GTS (MSRP $109,900) wrings its 430 hp from the same 4.8 liter V8 as the Panamera S and adds Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive to continuously monitor and react to road conditions and driver inputs. Going for full-on performance will net you a Panamera Turbo (MSRP $136,700) that blazes from zero to a mile-per-minute in just four seconds, riding on a wave of 500 turbocharged horsepower from the twin-turbo 4.8 liter V8. The Panamera Turbo S ups the ante further with 553 hp on tap.
The unique profile of the Panamera offers immense passenger space inside, plus more cargo flexibility than you’ll find in a traditional sedan without succumbing to a station wagon. The Panamera is a Sports Car Plus. Plus fine upholstery and outfitting on four superb seats. Plus rear legroom that’s plenty, even for seven-footers. Plus available audio systems by Bose® and Burmester®, Plus standard Porsche Communication Management (PCM) that employs a hard drive, 7” LCD, 235 watts of power, and 11 speakers. The PCM is a central control hub for navigation, audio, and communication. Bluetooth hands-free is also standard.
There’s 15.7 cubic feet of luggage capacity in the Panamera cargo area. The 60/40 split-folding rear seatback adds flexibility, as well. When fully folded, the maximum cargo area is 44.6 cubic feet, and a standard power liftgate with user-programmable opening height makes access easy.
All Panamera models feature the PDK dual-clutch gearbox that’s race-inspired and capable of snapping off shifts so quickly that power is delivered to the wheels in a nearly uninterrupted flow of torque. Within this revolutionary gearbox there are seven speeds for both brisk performance and efficient cruising.
Porsche imbued the Panamera with a high level of passive safety to go along with the high-achieving nature of the car. There are 8 airbags, with all models carrying dual front Advanced Airbags to enhance occupant protection and only deploy if there’s a person in the seat. Driver and front passenger knee airbags help avoid submarining in impacts, and the Porsche Side Impact Protection System (POSIP) is also standard. POSIP includes side and side-curtain airbags, along with side impact elements built into the rear doors.
So, when the question is where to turn when your needs say “sedan” and your heart says “sports car,” you now have one answer: Porsche Panamera.