2010 Porsche Panamera
The engineers at Porsche know a thing or two about cramming hedonistic amounts of power into an already potent package. Take the current 911 range, for example. Power outputs range from a “paltry” 345 horsepower in the base 911 Carrera
to an asphalt-churning, get-your-license-suspended 530 hp in the all-conquering 911 GT2. Adhering to this policy of too much never being enough, Porsche has crafted a 188 mph super sedan that defiantly raises its fist in the face of necessity and conventional physics. The list of onboard technologies alone is enough to seriously worry the competition, never mind the fact it wears a Porsche crest on its hood. Direct injection, twin-turbos, dual-clutch gearbox, seven forward gears, active aerodynamics, four-wheel air suspension, engine start/stop, all-wheel drive, active exhaust, 500 hp… the list goes on. In other words, it’s a serious piece of kit. But what does it all add up to? We’ll put aesthetics aside for now – everyone has already formed their own opinion on the exterior – but dynamically speaking, this, the 2010 Porsche Panamera Turbo, is hands down the best super sedan currently on offer. Officially billed as a Gran Turismo – or cosseting long-distance hauler if you don’t speak automotive geek-lish – this is a properly luxurious car with a decadent and thoroughly modern interior. Push a couple of buttons, however, and the ride stiffens significantly, turning the car into a road hugging, M5 destroying demon that can hit 60 mph from a standstill in as little as 3.8 seconds. It seems Porsche has rewritten the rules once more.
2010 Porsche Panamera
2010 Porsche Panamera
2010 Porsche Panamera
What's to Like
While the Panamera is perfectly happy trudging along as a docile executive sedan, it can switch personalities in a second, delivering a feral V-8 induction note, pounding through gears in the blink of an eye and delivering plenty of road feedback through the chassis. Yet the ride remains supple and plush, making quick work of long distance journeys. If V-8 noise is your kick, there is arguably no other sedan that does it quite like this one.
What's Not to Like
Ever taken a gander at a Porsche options list? They have the depressing ability to make your hard earned cash disappear faster than a divorcée with an open line of credit. The Panamera’s other shortcoming is its PDK dual-clutch manual mode, not because there is an issue with the shifting itself – the response of the gearbox is fantastic – but rather the paddles used to activate each shift. Just as in the 911, the rocker switches need to be pushed for upshifts and pulled for downshifts, which isn’t overly logical.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
One standing start is all it will take to convince you of the Panamera’s abilities. Instantly shedding its generous 4,300 lb-plus curb weight, the Panamera Turbo ferociously claws at the ground with all four wheels, hitting 60 mph from a standstill in just 3.8 seconds (4.0 without Sport Chrono). This is not a car in which you want to apply full throttle for more than a second or two, lest you have some kind of death wish for your driver’s license. Lightning-fast shifts are the norm with Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch automatic, though the push-for-up, pull-for-down logic of the buttons will be lost for the motorsports obsessive amongst us. Luckily the sport mode is so fantastically telepathic that you’ll never need to bother shifting the car on your own. In fact, even if you just left it in top gear, the engine feels as though it has enough turbocharged torque to yank you up to speed with little issue. The steering, a typical Porsche highlight, is well weighted and communicative, though at low speeds it lightens up to make parking lot maneuvering less laborious. Through the corners the Turbo’s terrific poise builds confidence, inspiring you to attack harder and brake later, a task that’s never too much for the fantastic brakes (six-piston front, four rear) despite the car’s ample mass.
Engine and Drivetrain
The Panamera uses a dry sump, twin-turbo 4.8-liter V-8 engine, which makes 500 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque in a vocally dramatic fashion. With the Sport Chrono Turbo Package, that power figure jumps to a staggering 568 lb-ft. Power is driven to the all four wheels via a seven-speed dual clutch automatic gearbox.
Interesting Vehicle Features and Options
Clearly the 4.8-liter, two-ton Panamera Turbo isn’t the most eco-friendly sedan out there, but it is the first vehicle in its class to offer a stop/start function that saves fuel by killing the engine when the car is not in motion. A 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound system with a total power output of 585 watts comes standard and provides crisp high tones and epic stage sound.
Key Technology Evaluation
Configure your car with Adaptive Air Suspension in conjunction with Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and the Sport Chrono Plus package, and suddenly you have a Panamera with multiple personalities. All three systems talk to each other, and in Sport Plus mode the car lowers itself almost an inch, increasing aerodynamics and lowering the center of gravity. Active front anti-roll bars help to reduce understeer while the active air suspension works to eliminate body roll. Sport Chrono also adds a launch control function, which is a blast to show off and makes nailing 0-60 times as simple as releasing the brake while holding down the throttle.
Green Evaluation/Gas Mileage
The Panamera Turbo returns just 15 mpg around town, but a respectable 23 mpg on the highway, bringing combined consumption to 18 mpg. Despite its relative thirst, the Panamera is able to pull off a neat trick and avoid the dreaded gas-guzzler tax.
A Closer Look: Vehicle Details
We highly recommend springing for the full leather interior in a light color. Everything in the cabin is covered in supple, soft leather that exudes high-class quality to the touch. Backseat passengers enjoy plenty of legroom and cavernous amounts of headroom thanks to the car’s low seating position, and from the rear forward the driveshaft tunnel console crescendos nicely into the button-heavy yet easy-to-use center stack.
Love them or hate them, the lines of the 911 are clear in the Panamera, from its high fender lines and sunken hood to its hatchback rear door. It’s quite a large car, coming in only a few inches short of an Audi A8, but somehow manages to look deceptively smaller despite its high roofline. When it comes to paint, you’ve got your choice of options – 16 exterior colors are available.
Market Segment and Pricing
The Panamera Turbo comes in at a not-so-insubstantial $132,600. Add in a few options, which are essentially unavoidable, and most will likely top out above the $140K mark. Competitors include the potent BMW M5
($85,500), Maserati Quattroporte
GT S ($133,700), Audi S8
($96,200) and Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG
What We Think
Even with all the technology we enjoy today, a car this heavy, this luxurious and this comfortable should not be so fast and so involving. But that’s exactly what the Panamera is – a game changer. And this one has turbos. People will continue to deliberate over its aesthetics for years, but the fact remains, in the world of the super sedan, this is as good as it gets. Panamera Turbo überalles.