Review: Porsche Panamera Turbo is a CEO's dream car
Porsche's Panamera Turbo combines sportiness and luxury in a sedan
On one hand, the Porsche Panamera Turbo is a luxury sedan worthy of the mightiest CEO, any mogul who wants to run Wall Street while tooling down Fifth Avenue or Hollywood while stuck in traffic on Sunset Boulevard.
On the other, the new Panamera has the roar, the agile handling, and power of the sports car, forever in the DNA of the Porsche brand.
The result is an improved version of a high-end luxury sedan that conveys agility and sportiness as well as the usual high level of sophistication. Think of it as a mobile corner office even for those in the back seat, where the honored passenger can settle in with a video console as the left armrest and control the audio, climate control and even move up the front passenger seat for more legroom.
What makes the interior feel so sleek? Maybe it's the lower driver seating position. Maybe it's the brushed aluminum accents of the dashboard. But the Panamera Turbo feels thoroughly contemporary considering it's a big car. Yet the Panamera Turbo never forgets it's a Porsche, right down to the blissful exhaust note and precision handling helped along by optional rear-axle steering.
The 2017 Panamera comes in at 16.6 feet, 1.3 inches longer than the outgoing version. It's a tad wider and higher as well, all of which add up to plenty of room inside.
The Turbo has a 4-liter V-8, which is good for 550 horsepower. That twin-turbocharged powerplant is a step up from the Panamera 4S with a 440-horsepower, 2.9-liter V-6. For better gas mileage, the V-8 shuts off at stoplights, a feature that can be disabled for those who find it obnoxious. Plus, some cylinders deactivate when they are not needed. In theory, the car is capable of a top speed somewhat north of 170 miles per hour, though we never saw a reason to push it much past 80.
Around town, it drove like a pussycat. The passing power is always there if you need it, but there's little incentive the kick it up. The new Panamera doesn't feel like the car you want to push around hard. Yes, it has the roots of the 911 sports car, but in the end, it's still a large, luxury sedan. Helped by extensive use of aluminum to hold down weight in the body, the Panamera Turbo is capable of a 3.6-second zero-to-60-mph sprint.
Porsche wants the car, however, to be seen as a performance model. At about 60 miles per hour, a rear spoiler silently emerges from the rear deck. Does it create enough downforce to affect the car's ability to stick to the road? Not that we noticed.
The gas mileage in our test car was decent: We got 25.2 miles per gallon on a long drive that included a mix of open highway and stop-and-go. That would put it at the high end of the car's fuel economy rating. In the V-8 Turbo, it's 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.
To a large extent, the new Panamera is about little discoveries that underscore how much thinking went into the car to try to make it as cutting edge as possible.
For instance, the control panel in front of the driver has a screen for the optional night-vision view, using infrared capability. At a stoplight, we discovered the front-view camera that lets a driver peek ahead of the front bumper. It's a nice peace-of-mind feature, especially if you have pets or small children.
It's easy to fall in love with this car -- until you consider the price. The base price for a Panamera Turbo is $146,900. But, by the time you add all the things that make the car so thoroughly delicious that you never want to let it go (including Night Vision Assist for $2,540 and a massage function in the front seats for $1,190), you can work the price up to $173,505, including $1,050 in destination fees.
That's a lot – even for a CEO. But Porsches were never meant to be cheap.
What Stands Out
Rear seat: Perfect perch for running the world
Power: Powerful new turbocharged V-8 -- yet good on gas
Look: Thoroughly modern
2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo
What? A high-end luxury sedan
Where? Made in Leipzig, Germany
When? On sale now
What makes it go? A twin-turbocharged V-8 good for 550 horsepower
How thirsty? 18 miles per gallon in the city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg overall
How big? 16.6 feet.
How much? $146,900 to start plus $1,050 delivery charge
Overall? A sportier answer to the big sedan -- if you can afford it.
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