2014 Panamera New Car Test Drive
Porsche Panamera offers luxury, space and performance, all in a dizzying array of model choices, configurations, and options. With its massive rear-seat space, Panamera delivers the performance of a sports car, but with luxurious room for four adults.
Porsche's first plug-in hybrid joins the Panamera lineup for 2014. The 2014 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid is a new battery/gasoline edition that reaches past the previous Panamera S Hybrid with a more powerful electric motor and higher-performance battery. The E-Hybrid's electric drive produces 95 horsepower, versus 47 hp from the prior Hybrid. The new lithium-ion battery is rated at 9.4 kWh, while the previous battery's capacity was only 1.7 kWh.
Two new extended-wheelbase Panamera Executive models also are arriving for 2014. Wheelbase and overall length have been lengthened 5.9 inches, allowing even more rear-seat comfort. These big sedans come in Panamera 4S Executive and Panamera Turbo Executive form, the former packing a new 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 engine.
Panamera GTS joined the lineup for 2013, fitting into a gap between the all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo. Panamera GTS uses a souped-up, 440-horsepower version of the 430-hp V8 found in the Panamera 4S.
That brings the Panamera lineup to 11 distinct models, if we count correctly, plus a dizzying array of options:
Porsche Panamera and all-wheel drive Panamera 4 are powered by a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6. Panamera S and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S come with a naturally aspirated 420-hp 4.8-liter V8; Panamera GTS uses a slightly more powerful 440-hp version of that engine. Panamera Turbo and Turbo S are powered by a turbocharged 4.8-liter V8, issuing 520 hp or 570 hp, respectively. Panamera S E-Hybrid uses a 3.0-liter V6 paired with an electric motor; it can be charged at home or at a public facility. All come with Porsche's 7-speed, dual-clutch PDK automated transmission.
Panamera's exterior design is based on roominess and space efficiency, while attempting to maintain Porsche styling heritage. The look is a love-hate proposition, with little middle ground. We think it looks ungainly from the rear three-quarter view, but park a Panamera among its competition from Mercedes, BMW and Audi, and it's the Porsche that stands out, the one that you want to get in and drive. In any case, those who can embrace the styling will be rewarded with a truly substantial, satisfying automobile.
Panamera in standard length is only slightly smaller than the BMW 7 Series, and it delivers the sporting performance of a world-class sports sedan with the comfortable ride and refinement of a luxo-cruiser. Those extremes required a lot of careful engineering. Porsche builds the body from lightweight materials, and puts the engine low and as far back as possible. The Panamera's standard adjustable suspension can change the ride from soft but stable to racetrack-ready.
All Panamera models are fast-accelerating. The V6 model hits 60 mph from a standstill in as little as 5.6 seconds, while the V8-powered Panamera S models pull off 0-60 in 5.0 seconds. Panamera Turbo cuts that time to a sports-car bashing 3.6 seconds, with little if any turbo lag and a rush of power that pins you back in your seat. The new E-Hybrid promises 0-60 mph acceleration in an also-swift 5.2 seconds.,
Don't think you're giving up cabin space by choosing a Porsche. Headroom, legroom and hip room in a Panamera rival that of the prior-generation Mercedes S-Class sedan. A standard full-length center console divides Panamera into four distinct and comfortable seating positions. The feel from the driver's seat is much like that in a Porsche 911, only slightly higher off the ground. All of the seats are supportive, without being too firm or too deeply bolstered.
The hatchback design makes the Panamera useful as a family vehicle. With the rear seats up, the rear cargo area is as roomy as the trunk in a mid-size sedan. With the seats down, the Panamera has more cargo room than a luxury wagon, with easy access to a fairly expansive load floor.
Porsche Panamera is, quite simply, one of the best cars in its class. The competition includes Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Aston Martin Rapide, and Maserati Quattroporte. The Porsche Panamera doesn't come cheap, and options can add 50 percent to the model price. Yet on another level, given its impact and relative performance, the base Panamera V6 might be considered a deal.
The Porsche Panamera and all-wheel drive Panamera 4 are powered by a 310-hp, 3.6-liter V6. Panamera S and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S models come with a naturally-aspirated 420-hp, 4.8-liter V8. Panamera GTS gets a 440-hp 4.8-liter V8. Panamera Turbo comes with a 520-hp turbocharged 4.8-liter V8; Panamera Turbo S is powered by a 570-hp version of that engine. Panamera S E-Hybrid uses a 3.0-liter V6 paired with an electric motor. All come with Porsche's 7-speed, dual-clutch PDK automated transmission.
The 2014 Porsche Panamera ($78,100) comes standard with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 8-way power and heated front seats, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a cooled glove compartment, 60/40 split folding rear seats, navigation, 10-speaker audio system with iPod adapter and auxiliary audio jack, active rear spoiler, power moonroof, auto-dimming mirrors, automatic xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, and 18-inch wheels. Panamera 4 ($82,800) adds all-wheel drive.
Panamera S ($93,200) and Panamera 4S ($98,300) upgrade with cornering lights, a removable cargo cover, adaptive suspension with active damping, an upper-tinted windshield, and more interior lighting. The all-wheel-drive 4S also has active traction control, anti-slip regulation, and Porsche stability management.
Panamera GTS ($113,400) adds side skirts, sport exhaust, active damping with auto-leveling and automatic ride height, leather trim, 18-way active front seats with suede-like Alcantara upholstery inserts, a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, unique exterior and interior trim and 19-inch wheels.
Panamera 4S Executive ($125,600) has the extended-wheelbase chassis, but is equipped similar to the Panamera 4S. Special features include four-zone automatic climate control, power door-close assist, 14-way power front seats with memory, 8-way power rear seats, and leather trim.
Panamera Turbo ($141,300) and Panamera Turbo S ($180,300) come standard with full leather upholstery and interior trim, 18-way power seats with memory, and Alcantara headliner. All-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels with summer performance tires, and Porsche's adaptive, load-leveling air suspension are included.
Panamera Turbo Executive ($161,100) and Panamera Turbo S Executive ($200,500) have the extended-wheelbase chassis. They include a 585-watt, 14-speaker Bose surround-sound system; sport front seats; wood trim; power rear sunshade; and auto-leveling air suspension.
Panamera S E-Hybrid ($99,000) includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a 235-watt 11-speaker audio system, aluminum doors, 8-way power heated front seats, adaptive air suspension with auto-leveling, and 18-inch wheels.
Options are well beyond numerous. Many option and package prices vary according to model. The Premium Package includes 14-way power heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. Premium Plus adds electrically operated sunscreens for the rear and rear-side glass. Audio upgrades include premium Bose audio package ($2,120) and Burmester system ($6,990). Performance options include adaptive air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) ($1,990 or $3,980); ceramic composite brakes ($8,520); and the Sport Chrono Plus package ($810 to $2,550), which includes analog and digital stopwatches, Sport Plus button and launch control.
Safety equipment on the Panamera includes front airbags, front occupant side-impact airbags, front-passenger knee airbags, and head-protection curtains for all occupants Active safety systems include rear park assist, full-feature anti-lock brakes, traction control and electronic stability control.