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Porsche News
Motoring Editor
Motoring Editor

Joined: 08 Feb 2008
Posts: 7145

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:53 am    Post subject: Porsche Panamera, first drives from UK car mag's Reply with quote

The start of many to come, 1st up from Autoexpress...

New four door saloon from Porsche ushers in new era for Germany's favourite sports car maker.

The arrival of a new Porsche is always a special occasion – but the launch of the Panamera, the firm’s first four-door saloon, is a landmark event.

Following in the footsteps of the Cayenne SUV, it’s the latest example of Porsche expanding its range beyond core models, such as the 911 and Boxster.

At five metres long, the Panamera is a big car, and the famous German maker has some equally large claims about it, too, saying it’s a cross between a sports coupé, a limousine and an estate. That’s a tall order – more importantly, though, does it live up to the heritage of the badge?

Well, it doesn’t lack performance. Under that sloping nose lies a 4.8 litre V8, which is naturally aspirated in the S and 4S models, delivering 400bhp. But in the Turbo we tested, forced induction increases power to 500bhp.

Acceleration is incredible. Despite weighing two tonnes, the Turbo rockets from 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds. And there’s no let-up in thrust, even when the speedo is in triple figures.

On an unrestricted section of German Autobahn, we managed 175mph with little fuss. And at these speeds, the car feels amazingly stable. This is due to the downforce provided by the special ‘3D’ pop-up tail spoiler and a very sophisticated chassis.

The Panamera Turbo comes with air-suspension and Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM). This allows you to opt between three settings – Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus. In the first two modes, the car can float a little.

But in the firmest setting, the Panamera is surprisingly agile. It corners flatly, there’s plenty of grip and the steering is responsive and direct.

Make no mistake, the four-door Porsche is hugely capable. Yet, it’s nowhere near as much fun as one of the manufacturer’s normal sports coupés.

So how does it measure up as a limousine? First impressions are good. Inside, you can’t help but be impressed by the quality.

The interior is so delightful it wouldn’t look out of place in a Terence Conran exhibition. And, of course, everything is equally well put together.

It’s really comfortable and roomy, too – even in the back. You could drive or be driven across a continent in the Panamera. However, you would be even more comfortable in a Mercedes S-Class or BMW 7-Series.

There are plenty of gadgets, though. Pleasingly, you don’t have to run the gauntlet of confusing menu-based systems, like BMW iDrive, to access them.

If you want to activate the climate control, you simply press a button. If you need to turn off the traction control, you press a button. And to alter the suspension, you press a button. Easy. The downside is the Panamera’s cabin is swamped by buttons. We counted more than 100!

Can this super-saloon really be as practical as a normal estate? The boot has 445 litres of space and, with the seats folded down, this increases to 1,250 litres, which is pretty impressive.

Annoyingly, though, you can’t actually fold down the central armrest between the two chairs. And this sums up the Panamera.

It’s nearly an estate, it’s virtually a limo and it’s almost a sports car. But therein lies the problem.

While it’s certainly an impressive piece of technology and a jack-of-all trades, it is, actually, a master of none.

Rival: Maserati Quattroporte
A true dual-mode sports saloon, the Quattroporte is equally at home on a twisty road as it is on a high-speed motorway. And thanks to its stunning body, it’s about as desirable as luxury cars get.

>Competitive Porsche Insurance <


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Porsche News
Motoring Editor
Motoring Editor

Joined: 08 Feb 2008
Posts: 7145

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next up from Autocar

Porsche Panamera Turbo

Price as tested £95,298

Loads of manufacturers claim they’ve invented market segments. The Panamera is Porsche's attempt at the same.

It's a four-door, four-seat, fastback sports car which it says creates "the Panamera class." I can't see the tag catching on but there's merit to the concept, along which lines Aston Martin has developed the Rapide.

Really the Panamera is a grand tourer and is offered initially with V8 engines derived from the Cayenne SUV, giving fast-sports performance in naturally-aspirated S tune (with 2 or 4wd), or supercar-baiting pace in the 4wd Turbo flavour tested here. In 2010 there’ll be a hybrid and, probably, later a diesel and a faster GTS/Turbo S too.

The Panamera’s natural rivals are top-end versions of existing luxury cars like the AMG S-Class and Maserati Quattroporte, but given the Panamera’s latent dynamism don’t discount the challenge from smaller but overtly sporting cars like the BMW M5, Mercedes CLS63 AMG and Jaguar XFR.
What’s it like?

Let’s first deal with the boring stuff. The Panamera easily seats four in comfort. Its seats – front and rear – neither look nor feel as wide as in traditional luxury cars and you’ll find more room in the back of a ‘proper’ saloon, but the seats are comfortable and very supportive.

It’s a low-set cabin; the driver’s seat position is similar to a 911’s in relation to the front wheels. The cockpit architecture is cosseting too, with a high transmission tunnel running the length of the passenger space, a high-set gearlever and excellently clear switchgear and dials.

The rear seats are set slightly inboard (to afford passengers a decent view out), and they split/fold giving up to 1263 litres of boot space. You can even have a towbar.

But is it like a Porsche to drive? For the most part, yes. Porsche says the Panamera sits somewhere between a 911 and a Cayenne but, by dint of having a front-mounted engine and weighing all-but two tonnes, it’s more like the SUV than the rear-engined sports car.

There’s no denying its pace though. The Turbo has a twin-turbocharged 4.8-litre V8 and makes 493bhp and 517lb ft. If equipped with the Sports Chrono package of our test car, which includes a launch control function on the standard seven-sped PDK twin-clutch transmission, it’ll hit 62mph from rest in four seconds dead (4.2sec otherwise).

The Turbo’s top whack is claimed at 188mph and I’ve no doubt it’ll hit it with ease. The Panamera Turbo feels an indecently fast car. Its turbos take a little time to spool from lower revs and it never makes a particularly thrilling sound, but keep it in the right gear and you’ll want a true supercar to keep in touch with it.

Air-springs are standard on the Turbo and they have three modes of stiffness. As standard it’s compliant, though there’s a little ‘sproing’ and a slightly hollow noise over smaller bumps. It cossets, say, ninety percent as well as an S-Class or 7-series.

Moving the suspension settings through Sport and into Sport Plus it firms itself up to the extent that Sport Plus might prove too harsh for some British B-roads.

I can’t help thinking a Jaguar XFR would glide across surfaces the Panamera would bounce over, but on decent German blacktop it feels utterly planted, settling quickly over crests and lumps.

Sure, the Panamera never totally shakes off its weight, but it goes down the road at a proper lick and it steers very well, with good precision and a rack whose speed increases further away from straight-ahead. As in other Porsches you don’t really notice this lack of linearity, and while there’s not so much feel as in a 911, there’s more than you’ll find in any other luxury saloon.

With Sport Plus engaged active anti-roll bars all but eliminate roll. It’s impressive but, as with most air-suspended cars, not a totally natural feeling. Porsche engineering chiefs admitted to me they like the “honesty” of steel springs, as fitted to the normally-aspirated model, which I’m intrigued to try.

On the road the high grip limit is sounded by a squeal from the outside front tyre, though the electronically-controlled rear differential (which brakes a lightly loaded inside rear tyre) can help straighten the car on corner exit. I’m not yet in a position to say what happens when the whole lot starts sliding though.

Our test car was fitted with carbon ceramic brakes: I’d like less initial pedal travel, but the stopping power is beyond reproach.
Should I buy one?

Tough call. If you want most of the comfort of a luxury car with a heady dose of dynamism and world-beating pace, then the Panamera has few peers. But it is not, as a 7-Series or S-Class is, a car for rear passengers, it is a car for drivers.

As such, it needs to be convincingly dynamically better, and feel far higher in quality, than a Jaguar XFR, Mercedes CLS63 AMG or BMW M5 to justify the Turbo’s price tag which is – wait for it – around £95,000.

The fastest Panamera can’t quite do that. The Turbo is a very impressive machine and a fine luxury performance flagship, and for plenty of people that’ll be enough. But the Panamera’s sweet spot probably comes lower down the range.

>Competitive Porsche Insurance <

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Watkins Glen

Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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Location: London

1996 Porsche 993 Carrera 2

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw a 4S in the flesh at the Sunday Times supercar paddock at Goodwood, and I have to say it didn't look that bad. Quite bulky at the back but nowhere near as bad as it looks in pics.

Not in gold though what
993 Carrera
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1966 Singer Gazelle

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I know why the head of Porsche 's chopper is on the block. nooo

No Porsche at £95k should look "OK". I wish I could say I think it's great and it will sell well but sadly I cannot. Ever since this car surfaced I have had bad karma about it.

I really do hope that I am so very wrong as Porsche need it to be a success but the word "flop" always appears after the word Panamera in my mind.
"The smallest feline is a masterpiece"
- Leonardo da Vinci
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Joined: 05 Aug 2005
Posts: 5996
Location: Berkshire

1997 Porsche 993 Carrera 2S

PostPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reckon it will sell. Another Cayenne-esque sales success story I reckon.

Looks truly disgusting in champagne gold nooo
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