There are sportscars, and there are luxury cars. There are even sporty luxury cars and luxurious sportscars. But there is only one car that is both a luxury sedan and a Porsche, and that's the Porsche Panamera.
The middle choice in the V8-powered Panamera lineup is the Panamera 4S, which augments the talents of the standard 400-hp Panamera S with an active all-wheel drive system that sends the 4.8-liter V8's power around to all four wheels.
Porsche set out seemingly disparate goals when undertaking the Panamera. To be a true Porsche, it would have to be both a traditionally sporting Porsche while also offering comfort and luxury to top all competitors. Porsche rolls with a "go big or go home" attitude, and that's evident throughout the Panamera 4S. Despite tough competition in the premium high-performance sedan segment, the Panamera alone could start a fistfight between enthusiasts vying to take a drive.
With all-wheel drive and Porsche's lightning-quick PDK dual-clutch transmission, power flows smoothly and without interruption. The race-derived gearbox snaps off gear shifts more quickly than a conventional automatic transmission while also returning better fuel economy. Despite its hard-running skills, the Panamera tries to also tread lightly with a start/stop system. When the engine isn't needed, the system shuts the V8 down, saving fuel and reducing emissions. Direct fuel injection also boosts efficiency and enables immediately responsive performance from the engine.
Put the high-tech, high-performance drivetrain all together in an advanced bodyshell that uses aluminum, magnesium and different grades of steel in key locations, and you'll wind up with a spacious, comfortable car with big luggage capacity and big performance. The careful attention to weight results in EPA fuel economy ratings of up to 24 mpg highway.
The Panamera 4S carries a base price of $93,800, and in return, you’ll get a vehicle that can leap to 60 mph in a scant 4.8 seconds and tops out at 175 miles per hour. Being a true Porsche, the Panamera 4S is comfortable and composed at high speeds, and the Panamera's innovative chassis is plenty happy to fly down the Autobahn or trundle up cobblestone-paved hills. Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) makes it possible to change the attitude of the Panamera with a simple button press. Porsche Traction Management is standard on the Panamera 4S as well.
An adaptive air suspension system is also available to offer an even larger range of sport and comfort options. The optional Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) adds active anti-rollbars to flatten cornering attitude without a jarring ride. This is a four-seat car that beckons you to go on a road trip just for the joy of driving.
Panamera 4S models stand out from the pack with distinctive badging and titanium-colored accents in the front fascia's lower air intakes. Inside, the design is sportscar and high-end sedan all at once. Porsche Communication Management is standard and includes navigation. Materials are sumptuous, and the available Sport Chrono Package adds a Sport Plus button to enable selectable high-performance settings for the powertrain.
When it's time to sink into the seat and enjoy the comforts, there's plenty served up by the four individual seats with sporty bolstering and a range of personalization available that's unparalleled anywhere. Interior colors and materials cover a wide range, offering wood, aluminum and carbon fiber trim and two-tone color combinations. The standard Bose audio system can be upgraded to a Burmeister system that transforms the Panamera's interior into a concert hall.
The whole impression the Panamera 4S gives is that of elegance. It's scorchingly quick, richly luxurious and definitely a Porsche.