2011 Porsche Panamera Gran Tourino
by: Lyndon Conrad Bell
Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
Featuring a gorgeous engine note, scintillating acceleration, finely balanced handling, all-conquering brakes, and steering so communicative you’ll think it’s been to counseling to learn to get in touch with its feelings, Porsche’s Panamera is definitely all that.
Offered in a variety of mechanical configurations, Porsche claims five (soon to be six) models. The Panamera and the all-wheel driven Panamera 4 use a 3.6-liter direct injected V6 that makes 300 horsepower at 6200 rpm and 295 ft-lbs of torque at 3750. Panamera S and the AWD 4S use a 4.8-liter direct injected V8 that makes 400 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 369 ft-lbs of torque from 3500 to 5000 rpm. The AWD-only Panamera Turbo adds a pair of turbochargers to the mix to squeeze out 500 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 516 ft-lbs from 2250 to 4500. Porsche also has plans for a hybrid Panamera. That car will use the 329-horsepower V6 and 46-horsepower electric motor from the Cayenne hybrid.
The engines are mated to Porsche’s remarkable semi-automatic, dual clutch, direct-shift gearbox, labeled PDK (Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe). A brilliant transmission, it gives the Panamera an unusual feel at throttle tip-in, as if something is a bit sluggish, but underway, it operates beautifully.
Anyone who’s ever had the pleasure of piloting any Porsche car will feel right at home in the Panamera. The key goes to the left of the steering wheel, while five instruments face the driver with the prominent one being the tachometer. The steering wheel is sized perfectly and provides just the right amount of heft to
control the actions of the highly capable sports car.
Panamera is exceptionally stable at high speeds and so responsive to inputs from the throttle, brakes and steering you’ll think it went through basic at Parris Island. This is a car that follows orders—and executes them with deadly accuracy. It can honestly be said Panamera is the culmination of everything Porsche has learned about building cars over the last 61 years.
Comfortable, powerful, agile, luxurious, and in all probability exclusive—based on its looks (Panamera can be said to be a lot of things, but universally beautiful ain’t one of them)—Porsche has entered the luxury sedan segment on its on terms and elevated it to an entirely new pinnacle.
Pricing starts at $75,875 for Panamera, $80,775 for Panamera 4, $90,775 for the S, $94,775 for the 4S and $133,575 for the Turbo.
(All prices include $975 in destination charges.)
Hybrid pricing has yet to be announced.