Friday, July 3, 2009

2010 Porsche Panamera S / 4S / Turbo - First Drive Review



The Panamera, Porsche's fourth model line after the 911, the Boxster/Cayman, and the Cayenne, has arrived after years of rumor, innuendo, announcements, and buzz. A four-door fastback sedan positioned at the top of the lineup, the Panamera was officially unveiled at the Shanghai auto show in April, and Porsche chose to host the first official drive at the picturesque Schloss Elmau castle near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, under the shadow of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. The ritzy castle hotel is separated from the Munich airport by two hours of twisty country roads and several stretches of unlimited autobahn, and we explored it all from behind the wheels of the entry-level, rear-wheel-drive, 400-hp Panamera S and the 500-hp, all-wheel-drive Turbo. (There’s also an all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S.)

Looks Less Controversial in the Flesh, Turbo is Wicked Quick

The shape of the Panamera has been controversial, but we think it looks better on the road than on photos. Porsche's designers have done their best to mask the Panamera's size, but at 195.7 inches long and 55.8 inches tall, there is no way to hide this is a large car. Outside, the S and 4S models are differentiated from the Turbo mostly by their front bumper and specific headlights, but those so inclined can spot a few other minor differences, too.

With its 400-hp engine, the Panamera S boasts impressive performance claims: 0­–60 mph is reached in 4.8 seconds and 0–100 takes 11.5. Top speed is 175 mph. Sadly, it doesn't feel that quick. There is no masking the Panamera's weight; the Panamera S weighs more than 3900 pounds, and all-wheel drive adds a couple hundred more pounds. The Panamera's heft means that you have to keep the pedal firmly to the floor and keep the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission busy to put a comfortable distance between you and plebes piloting shockingly quick turbo-diesels on the autobahn.

Keep Reading: 2010 Porsche Panamera S / 4S / Turbo - First Drive Review

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