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2010 Porsche Panamera S
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2010 Porsche Panamera Review
The 2010 Panamera is
a four-door, four-seat, fastback sports car with a hatchback at the
rear. Porsche officials say it is alone, unique in the world of Gran
Turismo cars that it creates the Panamera class. Of course, there are
competitors, whether or not Porsche considers them in the same class.
One is the upcoming Aston Martin Rapide, others might include the
Mercedes-Benz CLS and Maserati Quattroporte. Some buyers might also
cross-shop the BMW M5, Mercedes CLS63 AMG and Jaguar XFR to name three
more. What we’ll all agree on is that the Panamera is a grand tourer.
It will be offered initially with V-8 engines derived from the Cayenne
SUV, though six-cylinder cars are coming and they might even reach our
shores with a slick-shifting manual transmission. As big four-doors go,
the Panamera is a performance car without question. The naturally
aspirated S base model (400 horsepower) comes in two- or four-wheel
drive and starts at $115,100. The super-car-baiting Panamera Turbo (500
hp) will also hit showrooms in October, stickered at $155,000. It comes
standard with all-wheel drive. Porsche is also planning on a Panamera
hybrid, a diesel variant and, very likely, a faster GTS/Turbo S, too.
We’ll see.

Interior Features and Powertrains
The Panamera easily seats four in comfort and even big guys can get
comfortable in back. Rumour has it that Wendelin Wiedeking, Porsche’s
CEO, had to be able to sit in the back of the Panamera comfortably
before the car’s design would get the green light. The rear seats are
comfortable and very supportive, though seats front and back do not
seem as wide as what’s in traditional big luxury cars such as the BMW
7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, two other possible rivals, though
not directly. What separates the Panamera from others is the low-slung
design, which translates into a low-set cabin. It’s different and sexy
and quite similar to a Porsche 911. A high transmission tunnel running
the length of the passenger space creates individual seating spaces,
but robs the cabin of room, too. A high-set gear lever and clear
switchgear and dials are just exactly what a driving enthusiast wants.
The rear seats split and fold to enhance cargo space, so there is a
practical piece here, too. More than anything, though, the Panamera
drives like a Porsche, like a larger 911 mated to a Cayenne. But there
is no getting around the fact this car weighs two tonnes. And let’s not
forget the Panamera is a front-engine car, not a rear-engine sports car
like the 911. The twin turbo, with its 4.8-litre V-8, is a monster. My
tester, with the Sports Chrono package ($3,110) that includes a
launch-control function on the standard seven-sped PDK twin-clutch
transmission, played happily with the roads and autobahns of Bavaria.
The car will hit 100 km/h in about four seconds and I had it up to 260
km/h and felt safe all the way.

Summary
This is an indecently fast car, one that makes a thrilling sound when
the engine and turbos spool up to do their business. Air-springs are
standard on the Turbo and they have three modes of stiffness:
compliant, Sport and Sport Plus. Sport firms things up a bit, while
Sport Plus is a gearhead’s dream. You want to feel planted in the
corners? This is for you. Sport Plus engages active anti-roll bars to
eliminate roll. The car steers precisely, though there is more feel in
a 911. The normally aspirated model is fitted with steel springs and
some of the engineers say they prefer them, that they are more
authentic and deliver more feel. Another feature for enthusiasts is the
electronically controlled rear differential. It brakes a lightly loaded
inside rear tire to help straighten you out when exiting a corner exit.
If things get really hairy, there is a full range of air bags and other
safety features. Standard. While the exterior design is controversial,
there is no denying the Panamera’s prowess on the road. It’s a real gem
for enthusiasts who love to drive and especially for those who live and
breathe Porsche.