If you have a family or need to carry some bags but also want the feeling of driving a 911 Turbo, then this is your beast. All of the speed and features of a 911 Turbo (trust us, we have both) with the convenience and versatility of the typical Colorado Subaru. This car isn't for someone just looking to get place to place, it's for someone who understands you can love every minute of it.
Perfect powertrain. Porsche purists will undoubtedly bitch about the lack of a flat-six engine, not to mention the fact that the mill is mounted in the front of the car, but to them I very politely say: shut up. It’s 2017. Porsches have engines in the front – big, eight-cylinder, biturbocharged engines that make 550 horsepower, 567 pound-feet of torque, and allow this hefty, all-wheel-drive hatchback to rocket to 60 miles per hour in three and a half seconds. This engine is fantastic, with incredibly linear power delivery and no weird “turbo moments” of sudden boost. There’s no lag, no disruption, and no stopping the brute force of this sweet V8. Oh, and credit where credit’s due, the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission deserves praise for dispatching all that grunt with total precision.
The art of balance. Drive any of Porsche’s sports cars – 911, Boxster, Cayman – and you’ll know what great balance feels like. What impresses me most about the Panamera Turbo is how Porsche is able to offer this same dynamic in a car that’s so much larger and has its engine up at the front. The nose doesn’t dive or wash out under hard braking and turning. Likewise, the rump stays put while cornering hard – credit the aid of this car’s rear axle steering (part of the $5,580 sport pack) for added assist. And speaking of steering, the direct response and level of communication through the tiller is unmatched in the fullsize luxury space. This is the best-driving car in its class by a long shot.
Getting the styling right. So, confession: When the very first Panamera launched, I hated it. Hated it. But as more and more found their way onto the roads around me, I warmed to the design, and in this second generation, I have to say, I actually really like it (though I like that sexy Sport Turismo a whole lot more). The proportions are better, the slim taillamps and assertive headlights are both modern and elegant. Plus, riding on large (optional) 21-inch wheels, this Panamera Turbo has a great stance.
Proper cockpit. The Panamera’s interior is fabulous, with nice materials and a great design throughout. But the pièce de résistance is the updated Porsche Communication Management system, with its angled, flat panel surrounding the gear shifter, and the huge, 12.3-inch touchscreen above that. Rather than having dead buttons as constant reminders of all the options you didn’t order, the control panel just looks like a black screen under most lighting, with the backlit controls logically arranged and easily accessible. The infotainment display is bright and crisp, though I’ll say that both me and my front passenger are annoyed by the fact that most touchscreen controls go into a complete lockout function the moment the car starts moving.
Don’t forget, it’s a hatchback. The Panamera’s shape is as much about function as it is form. There’s an ample trunk underneath that hatch glass, and if you fold the rear seats, you’re greeted with 46 cubic feet of cargo space.
Should you have questions about this car or trip planning, feel free to shoot me a message.