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2010 Porsche Panamera Review

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By Bruce and Bradley Hubbard
The Auto Advisor Group

2010 Porsche Panamera Review

Porsche is one of the most successful and profitable car companies. The legendary racing car company has brought a four seater to market that has all the excitement and spirit of the first 356 Porsche. The Panamera is considered the peak of this generation’s automotive technology Porsche states. Porsche states form follows function. Every curve, every detail and every shape is for one purpose and one purpose only to maximize pure sports car performance.

The history of the Porsche company began long before Ferdinand Porsche thought of starting his own auto manufacturing business. As a young engineer, he designed the first electric/gasoline hybrid -- in 1900. Over his career, he worked with Daimler, Mercedes, Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, Auto Union, and others for nearly 50 years. His independent design firm was even responsible for the creation of the Volkswagen Beetle in 1931.

Many recall that before Porsche the man behind the company in 1923 designed the Mercedes Compressor Sports Car. Then in the following year the 2-liter racecar was developed under his aegis wins the Targa Florio. Then on until 1927 the Mercedes Benz S models designed by Porsche were dominating the motorsport.

In 1939 the type 64 was developed at Porsche in Zuffenhausen.

It seems appropriate that Ferry Porsche was born while his father was at a race. As he got older, he became a draftsman and test driver at his father's firm, but he was most instrumental in the design of the first ever Porsche, the 356 -- which Ferry worked on while his father spent 20 months in a prison in Dijon, France, as a war criminal. Ferry had also been arrested but was soon released. To keep the family firm afloat, he designed racecars and this first-ever Porsche sports car.

Today we have seen the successful Porsche Cayenne sell extremely well in North America. So when Porsche decided to come out with a four seater they looked at the best out there including the Audi A8, BMW’s 7 Series and Mercedes S class. They wanted to equal and better the competition. Porsche states the exterior they say is distinctive. The side view shows that the fenders are a little higher than the hood, and at the rear, they are definitely muscular. Some others state the headlights; grill and hood were taken from the 911. Styling is definitely taken from images seen in at least two Porsche I have driven. The look of the 911 is all Porsche! With Porsche’s first four seater and the desire for best in performance their designers came up what would first allow for performance.

However, Automobile Magazine and other buff magazines don’t like the exterior looks. The Porsche Panamera was designed to go faster than the BMW 760Li or the Mercedes Benz S63 AMG or any other luxury sedans. Others will soon show off their fastbacks. The Aston Martin Rapide has already arrived in Europe.

It has a superb engine thanks German engineering that launches the Panamera Turbo to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. The reason it beats the BMW 760Li or Mercedes SL63 is the all wheel drive system. If you wish to let the rear end move out and the tires burn then don’t get the all wheel drive model.

The four seater Porsche Panamera is 200 inches in length. Like the Carrera GT the new Porsche has side air inlets behind the front wheels. The headlights have Bi Xenon and the Panameras offer optional adaptive headlamps which is a must option for me. When the Porsche Panamera can go 170 (turbo 188) miles per hours I want ever safety feature and adaptive headlamps are one great feature.

The wheels are 18 inch or 20-inch fine spoked and stylish. Pick from one of the 17 colors for your Porsche Panamera. Six plus interior design and wood or as stated as was in mine aluminum and carbon fiber. Behind the wheel one sees the classic Porsche instrument layouts including the large tachometer in the center.

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Aside from the luxurious four seats to hold the passengers in place during performance driving some complain that they are too hard and narrow. We did not complain a bit on the highway for we were traversing S curves at speed like few others. The lightweight Panamera Sedan handled corners under power better than the BMW or Mercedes models we drove.

The Porsche Panamera has a trunk like few others. It holds four large suitcases offering 15.7 cubic feet of cargo space. The lid itself is power activated. Rear passenger compartment offers optional equipment including a center console and special lighting. In addition the two rear seats …say 40 x 40 drop down and add a lot of additional cargo area. The center area (or 20%) is the center console that goes from front to back.

There is a sophisticated ventilation system for the cold and hot seats: they suck the air out instead of blowing it out. Porsche states it is better than the competitions. If heated seats are in front and back that is a plus. If cooling seats are also in all four-bucket seats that is even better! The steering wheel is also heated and that in winter months is a plus.

The center console is stylish sporting slim buttons and a touch screen infotainment system that is just like that in the 911. Instrumentation is familiar in the Porsche Panamera with four gauges clustered around the larger tachometer in the center.

A high-end sound optional ($3990.00) system from Burmester runs through 16 speakers and as far as most of the reviewers we discussed the sound quality with they agree with us that it is perhaps the number one system available. The Porsche communication management system has above center console superb navigation system.

The Panamera was to be very light and fuel efficient “green” so that no gas guzzling tax would be charged. Use of lightweight steels, alloys, magnesium and plastics helped in weight savings needed to help reduce fuel consumption as stated by Gary Fong of Porsche public relations department in Atlanta, Georgia. The Panemera S weighs in at 3,968 pounds, the Panemera all wheel drive or 4S at 4,100 pounds, and the twin-turbo at 4,300 pounds. The Panamera is 276 to 596 pounds lighter than the A8, 750i, LS 460 and S550 giving it the best fuel economy of the group.

Porsche, for the first time installed the start/stop system that reduces fuel consumption. I have used it on numerous Bosch Test vehicles. Takes a little getting use to but once familiar with its operation no problem. Similar to the start up of a hybrid. They succeeded in reducing the weight, cutting fuel consumption and in fact through all their design of the vehicle including aerodynamics the Panamera saved nearly 4 miles per gallon. The Panamera S models have a coefficient of drag of 0.29 and the Panamera Turbo has 0.30.

Porsche states that the Panamera S and 4S get 16-city/24 highway/19-combined mpg. The Panamera turbo gets 15-city/23 highway/18-combined mpg. Porsche says the twin turbo mpg numbers are about 20 percent better than the competition's numbers.

Direct fuel injection injects fuel up to 1740 psi directly into the combustion chamber optimizing torque, power output, fuel consumption and emissions. Bosch has supplied BMW, Audi, VW Mercedes and even Ford and others with the system.

Higher fuel efficiency is captured through the seven-speed double clutch transmission. Porsche states if you use less rpms then better economy. The shifting is done within a few hundredth(s) of a second. Power from the engine is transferred to one of two clutches thanks to the ZF seven speed PDK(Porsche Doppel Kupplungsgetriebe) transmission. The flow of power is transmitted through one gearbox at a time while the next gear is preselected in the other half of the gearbox. We had no clutch slippage as others have indicated off the line. The manual mode is operated by paddle shifters on the steering wheel. Move from first gear to seventh gear with ease. The 7th gear delivers amazing gas mileage. Image at 125 miles per hour the engine is running at 2800 rpm. But, if I am driving any model of the Porsche Panamera I want to use the paddle shifter to move me around the most exciting roads. The lower gears make the Panamera exciting especially on the two lane highways in the mountains of Northern California.

An optional sport exhaust system is available for $2950.00.

The European Manual Six Speed ZF transmission will not be offered at this time in the US.

The Porsche Panamera comes in three models: the S is a two-wheel drive 4.8-liter V-8 that gets 400 horsepower with 369 lb-ft of torque and starts at $89,800, 4S is an all-wheel drive that gets 400 horsepower with 369 lb.-ft of torque and starts at $93,800. The top of the line in performance is the twin-turbo all-wheel drive gets 500 horsepower with 568 lb.-ft or torque and starts at $132,600. The Porsche engine management system help make this one of the finest Porche ever built. To keep the powerful Panameras going on a straight line the models have standard Porsche active suspension management system plus their dynamic stability control system call PSM. It works with computer sensors and if wheel slip is detected power is reduced by braking or by engine power reduction.

One option I like is the adaptive cruise control which will add another $2490.00 to the invoice. Operating between 20 and 100 mph , the system uses a radar sensor mounted in the front center air intake that scans the road ahead up to a distance of 650 feet. It monitors the space between you and the vehicle ahead and maintains your preset distance. It does this by restricting the throttle or gently applying the brakes to maintain the preset distance. If the vehicle in front continues to decelerate, Adaptive Cruise Control will reduce cruising speed – even down to a stop.

You can even add the optional ($4460.00) Porsche dynamic chassis system. PDCC is an active anti roll system that anticipates and significantly reduces lateral movement during cornering maneuvers. The electronically controlled rear differential lock further enhances the traction of the rear wheels when required on roads with varying friction coefficients, or when accelerating out of tight curves.

Porsche added a unique adjustable rear spoiler to improve traction (available on 4S and Turbo models only). It begins to work after 55 miles per hour. It adjusts itself to the speed giving down force for better handling. Above 125 mph it holds the Panamera to the pavement.

To stop the powerful lineup of Panamera’s standard are six piston aluminum brake calipers in front with vented grooved brake discs. In the rear are 4 piston fixed aluminum calipers with vented brake discs. If you want you can option for the ceramic brakes (PCCB) for $8840.00 that are excellent!

If an accident occurs the Panamera has engine immobilizers and the most advanced air bags and air curtains available.

Hit the starter button on the left and get the four door sedan purring. Porsche Panamera S I drove at the Pocono Race track near Wilkes Barre/ Scranton. Zero to sixty in 5.1 seconds. If you get the sport chrono package it will get you to sixty in 5.0 seconds Porsche states. The top of the line Turbo even gets to sixty quicker as stated before in 3.5 seconds! Any model of the Panamera delivers a great sound to the exhaust under power.

The driving is unmistakably Porsche thanks in part of the chassis.. There are different settings for the suspension: sport, offering a drift angle or sport plus. If you go straight down the highway there is very little power that is transferred to the front axle. If you get the Sport Chrono package you can hit the “sport button” and the transmission will blip during downshifts.

If you go to Porsche website you can view all the options. So many I cannot list them. From paint to heated steering wheel.

Porsche buyers like the Viper buyers end up owning more than one. Many of the inquiries coming to dealers now comes from Porsche owners.

In Las Vegas, Atlanta, Wilkes Barre/Scranton, Northern Florida, or any city that has a race track see if you can get onto the track to test your Porsche Panamera above 100 miles per hour.

One Porsche dealer offers this as a plus when you buy a Porsche. That is Brumos in Jacksonville, Florida. That is also where one of the finest Porsche drivers is vice president. That is Hurley Haywood. I had the pleasure to drive with him in the Poconos, Atlanta, Las Vegas and other world-renowned tracks. Their dealership is one of the few Porsche dealers that offer driving instructions. Well worth the flight to Jacksonville, Florida. Or if you will attend the 2010 Amelia Island Concours in Northeast, Florida it would be worth it to travel to nearby Jacksonville just to get a test drive in Porsche vehicles including the Panameria.

Get ready to see two more members of the Porsche Panamera line up. The Panamera and Panamera 4, the model line’s new entry-level versions, will be in Porsche dealerships in June 2010. Both feature a brand-new 3.6-liter V6 with Direct Fuel Injection (DFI) developing 300 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Panamera transmits its power to the road via the rear wheels, while the Panamera 4 comes standard with active all-wheel drive.