Porsche purists were thrown into disarray when the Porsche Panamera made its debut at the 2009 Shanghai auto show. Fans, already reeling from the (highly successfully) Porsche Cayenne SUV, could not believe their favorite sports car company was building a sedan. The continued success of the Porsche Panamera among critics and the public illustrates a Porsche is a Porsche regardless of the number of doors on the vehicle.
The 2012 Porsche Panamera is actually a hatchback that can seat a driver and up to three passengers. Originally offered in Porsche Panamera S, Panamera 4S, and Panamera Turbo, the lineup has expanded to include the Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 in 2010.
Unlike its 911, Boxster, and -- especially -- Cayman offerings, Porsche designed the spacious Panamera as a luxury cruiser as well as a sports car, albeit with four doors and a usable rear seat. A standard equipped Porsche Panamera is luxuriously equipped with an interior design, materials, and styling borrowed from the Cayenne SUV. Options are numerous and include full leather interior, air suspension system, and two premium music systems to choose from. The four engine options offered all move the two-ton Porsche Panamera fast.
Body style: Hatchback
Engines: 3.6-liter V-6, 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 + electric motor, 4.8-liter V-8, 4.8-liter twin turbo V-8
Transmissions: eight-speed automatic, seven-speed twin clutch automatic
Models: Porsche Panamera (base), Porsche Panamera 4, Porsche Panamera S, Porsche Panamera S Hybrid, Porsche Panamera 4S, Porsche Panamera Turbo, Porsche Panamera Turbo S
There are two changes to the Porsche Panamera for 2012 and they are big ones. The first is the addition of the 2012 Porsche Panamera Hybrid. Equipped with supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 and electric motor drivetrain, the Panamera Hybrid generates roughly the same amount of power as the Panamera S (375 horsepower). The hybrid's fuel economy is considerably better at 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. (The Porsche Panamera S gets 16 mpg city and 24 mpg highway).
The second change is the addition of the more powerful 2012 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. While fuel economy is the same between both turbo models (15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway), the Porsche Panamera Turbo S' turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 rates 50 horsepower more than the Turbo's 500 horsepower for breathtaking acceleration.
The Porsche Panamera, now in its third year, sedan continues to draw stares and comments. The Panamera has all the classic features of a Porsche: round headlights, smooth sides, and the sloping rear, all stretched around a four-seater sedan. Most people either love or hate the design with few in-between. Porsche has made no essential changes to the Panamera's exterior for the new model year.
As expected, the interior of the 2012 Porsche Panamera is spacious. Size-wise, the 2012 Panamera is just shy in length to the BMW 7 Series but with interior room comparable to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Premium soft-touch plastics, leather, and genuine aluminum and wood accents give a feel of luxury surprising even for the Porsche brand. Finally, the hatchback design actually gives more interior cargo space than full-sized sedans or even some station wagons.
Performance & Handling
Porsche silenced critics of the Panamera who quickly discovered the sedan is nearly as quick and nimble as it 911 siblings on the track, yet still manages to be a comfortable luxury cruiser on America's long roads and freeways. Steering is responsive and the suspension makes the Porsche Panamera feel smaller than its size. The Porsche Panamera's acceleration in the Turbo, Turbo S, and even the hybrid are near mindboggling.
Like all Porsche vehicles, the 2012 Porsche Panamera is equipped with many standard active and safety features like front, front knee, side, and side curtain airbags. Anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability control (ESC), rear parking assist, tire pressure monitoring system, and traction control are all standard. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, rear row side airbags, front parking assist system, and rearview backup camera.
EPA Fuel Economy
Porsche Panamera with 3.6-liter V-6 engine: 18 mpg city / 26-27 mpg highway
Porsche Panamera 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 + electric motor engine: 22 mpg city / 30 mpg highway
Porsche Panamera 4.8-liter V-8 engine: 16 mpg city / 24 mpg highway
Porsche Panamera 4.8-liter twin turbo V-8 engine: 15 mpg city / 23 mpg highway
- Sedan space, Porsche coupe handling
You Won't Like
Porsche coupe with four doors
If You Like This Vehicle