2010 Porsche Panamera Turbo - click above for high-res image gallery

Normally when a vehicle wins a car of the year award, its merit is so obvious that all you have to do to justify the selection is say, "just drive one." However, with the Porsche Panamera, the excitement surrounding Porsche's first ever four-door sports sedan/car is so palpable all you must say is, "Just talk to someone that's driven one." The Panamera's that good. Our man Michael Harley's still heaping praise upon the Turbo in his sleep. In case you missed it – the Porsche Panamera rules.

Then it comes as no surprise that Bloomberg News has selected the different looking Panamera as its inaugural Car of the Year. Says Bloomberg's auto-guy Jason H. Harper, "Like a lot of people I wasn't entirely sure what to expect of the Panamera, but sometime between having a six-foot eight-inch buddy in the back seat and hauling into deep corners around the track, it became clear. It's still a Porsche -- just a really versatile one." You will also no doubt remember that our colleagues over at Inside Line recently stuck the Panamera at the tippity top of their "Most Wanted" list. That's a lot of praise, particularly for a vehicle that has been so divisive aesthetically.

Bloomberg also selected several other winners including Best Green Car (Ford Fusion Hybrid), Best Sports Car (Audi R8 5.2), Best Economy Car (Mazda3), Best Executive Sedan (Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG), Best People Mover and Family Car (Lincoln MKT EcoBoost) and Best All-Around Sports Utility Vehicle (Land Rover LR4). All good choices by the way, though this author might have swapped the E63 AMG for the Porsche and figured a way to sneak in the Ford Shelby Mustang GT500. Just sayin'. Press release after the jump.


Related GalleryFirst Drive: 2010 Porsche Panamera

[Source: Porsche]


PRESS RELEASE:

Bloomberg names the new Porsche Panamera its 2009 Car of the Year

'Sports car for four' is praised for its driving dynamics and comfort


ATLANTA, Dec. 10, 2009 – Bloomberg News today announced the 2010 Porsche Panamera as its Car of the Year for 2009. This is Bloomberg's first-ever Car of the Year selections, with seven categories in all, including Car of the Year, Green Car, Economy, Family, All-Around SUV, Sports Car and Executive Sedan.

All eligible contenders were evaluated by Bloomberg's weekly auto columnist, Jason H. Harper, who drives and tests hundreds of luxury, sports and alternative-fuel autos each year. The selectees were evaluated in terms of overall performance, intelligent design and smart style, desirability and build quality. To qualify, models must have been new or significantly revised for model year 2010, and be on sale by the first quarter of 2010 (article link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/spend/auto.html).

"The Porsche Panamera has broken the sports-sedan category wide open, producing a truly desirable auto that combines the best elements of a sports car and comfortable four-door," Harper said. "Fast and fun, the Panamera is a car with real appeal."

Porsche's first four-door car and the company's fourth model line went on sale in October, joining the company's successful stable of performance thoroughbreds: the mid-engine Boxster and Cayman, the Cayenne SUV and the iconic 911 Carrera.

The Bloomberg recognition comes on the heals of the Panamera receiving an Edmunds Inside Line Editors' Most Wanted 2010 trophy at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show (article link: http://www.insideline.com/features/2010-edmunds-inside-line-editors-most-wanted-awards.html).

All Three Panamera Models Deliver High Performance and Low Fuel Consumption

Initially offered in three versions – the 400-horsepower, two-wheel drive Panamera S and all-wheel drive Panamera 4S, and the 500-horsepower, twin-turbocharged, all-wheel drive Panamera Turbo – the new Panamera provides Porsche performance and quality, as well as a level of comfort absent among true high-performance cars.

The Panamera is the first premium car to feature an automatic engine start/stop system used in conjunction with seven-speed double-clutch transmission. This system saves fuel and reduces emissions by turning the engine off when it is not needed, such as sitting at a stop light. All engines have advanced and fuel-efficient Direct Fuel Injection (DFI), as well. Porsche engineers also focused on weight savings and lightweight technologies to further enhance fuel efficiency. As a result, the Panamera S and Panamera 4S deliver 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway (19 mpg combined), while the Panamera Turbo achieves 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway (18 mpg combined). Amazingly, these figures were achieved without activating the standard auto start/stop system. All Panamera models are not subject to the gas guzzler tax and provide the best fuel economy in their competitive set.

The manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP) for the Panamera S is $89,800, while the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo retails for $93,800 and $132,600, respectively.

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About Porsche Cars North America, Inc. -- Porsche Cars North America, Inc. (PCNA), based in Atlanta, Ga., is the exclusive importer of Porsche vehicles for the United States. It is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. PCNA employs approximately 180 people who provide Porsche vehicles, parts, service, marketing and training for its 200 dealers. The dealers, in turn, provide Porsche owners with best-in-class service. Throughout its 61-year history, Porsche has developed numerous technologies that have advanced vehicle performance, improved safety and spurred environmental innovations within the automotive industry. The company continues to celebrate its heritage by adding to its long list of motorsports victories dating back to its first 24 Hours of Le Mans class win in 1951. Today, with more than 28,000 victories, Porsche is recognized as the world's most successful brand in sports car racing. PCNA, which imports the iconic 911 series, the highly acclaimed Boxster and Cayman mid-engine sports cars, high-end Cayenne sport utility vehicle and the four-passenger Panamera Gran Turismo, strives to maintain a standard of excellence, commitment and distinction synonymous with its brand.