The Porsche Panamera is a luxury car that doubles up as a sports car as well
Mix the speed and agility of a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet with the sheer comfort of an airbus A320 and it’s easy to see what Porsche has achieved with its Panamera. When it was launched in 2009, purists simply booed the idea of a four-door Porsche as simply being un-Porsche. What about all that racing history? Who would buy such an ungainly looking car? Why dilute the brand for sheer sales numbers? The brickbats came in thick and fast.
But the fact that the company has managed to sell over 100,000 units of the car against its original target of around 20,000 units speaks volumes; this is what the buyers want.
Porsche has updated the car now but as with all new Porsches it’s hard to tell what’s new unless you place an old-gen car side-by-side. Changes include new bixenon headlamps with integrated daytime LEDs running in them. The air inlets in the front have a different angle and the indicator has been integrated into the bumper. The rear spoiler has been increased in width and the rear number plate is now in the bumper making the car look less frumpy from the rear. The biggest news though is the arrival of the long wheelbase ver-
sion, with extra 15cm added to the wheelbase. 12cm goes into extra legroom, while 3cm goes into the backrest angle. But this is only available for left-hand drive markets for the moment so one will have to wait it out.
Move into the interior and it’s easy to see why some owners would choose this to do the Delhi-Amritsar run on NH1 rather take a flight which is so cumbersome and takes almost as much time from start to finish.
The cabin is a fine blend of tradition and modernity with its old-school gauges and the alien-ship like centreconsole that’s loaded with buttons. Every material shouts out class and luxury. The leather used is absolutely first rate and you will enjoy spending time in those sumptuous seats. Trying to find a problem with the interior is really like finding a needle in a haystack. The four seats in the cabin though remind you that this is a strict four-seater with no chance of even seating a small kid in the middle at the rear.
Porsche has a 3-litre V8 with 420bhp and 520 Nm of torque on offer in two versions, the S with rear wheel drive and 4S in all-wheel drive. But it’s the Turbo version with a 4.8-litre V8 that generates a thunderous 520bhp of power and 700Nm of torque that is simply the real deal.
Power is delivered in such a heap as if there is no tomorrow. The seven-speed PDK automatic gearbox sends the power to all four wheels with such ferocity that the entire car shudders each time a gear shifts up. The steering’s crispness only adds to the adrenaline rush each time you take a sharp corner.
With so much power under the hood doing Porsche’s claimed 0-100 kmph time of 4.2 seconds seems easily achievable on the Turbo version. What also seems easily doable is the 305 kmph top speed.
Overall, the Panamera is a fine blend of poise, finesse and explosive performance. The car is available on sale in India now and prices start from Rs 1.25 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). If you want a car that offers Lamborghini Gallardo levels of power and Audi A8 levels of comfort in the same package then the Panamera it is.
OLD SCHOOL PORSCHE GAUGES ADD TO THE CABIN'S CHARM ( TOP); ONLY TWO-SEATS AT THE REAR MEAN THIS IS A STRICT FOUR-SEATER ( ABOVE LEFT);
CENTRE CONSOLE IS OVERLOADED WITH BUTTONS AND CAN GET CUMBERSOME TO OPERATE ( ABOVE RIGHT)