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2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Road Test

You'll be hard-pressed to have more fun in any other luxury sedan.

What It Is
A four-door luxury sedan with the performance and heart of a true sports car.
Best Thing
Performance and handling are second to none.
Worst Thing
Interior is cluttered with too many buttons.
Snap Judgment
The 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo keeps true to the heart of the brand but also brings something new to the table.


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The Porsche Panamera has become a topic of conversation among the brand enthusiasts, and whether or not that's a good thing has yet to be decided. Because of its larger and heavier body, it loses some of what has made past models so successful. While it retains that traditional Porsche DNA, it loses some of the light, nimble handling and performance that has made the smaller models like the 911, Cayman, and Boxster so loved.

Of course, when we're talking about a four-passenger car from any brand, it's going to have its differences from its smaller relatives. For just under $180,000, the 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo delivers much of what you'd expect, and a few things that may give you pause. But compared to the more expensive competition in the form of the Aston Martin Rapide or Ferrari FF, how does the Panamera Turbo stack up?

What We Drove

When you have hundreds of thousands of dollars burning a hole in your pocket, you can have your pick of whatever car you want, complete with all the options. Our test model came with a starting price of $141,300, and we were surprised how fast that number increased after some added features. After nearly $40,000 in options, we were left with a total price of $178,910. But what did that price include?

Our Panamera Turbo was powered by a 4.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine that pumped out 520 horses and 516 lb.-ft. of torque. Paired with a seven-speed PDK transmission and active all-wheel drive, we could tell why the price was so steep. Coming with much of the standard equipment you'd expect on a Porsche, including a full leather interior, keyless entry and ignition, and an array of driver assist features, we were surprised by some of the options.

While we don't expect every person who buys this model to get all these options, our test model offered some interesting additional features. After a few packages, including the Sport Package ($7,490), Premium Package Plus ($4,970), and the Burmester Audio Package ($4,690), we've barely scratched the surface.

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The Commute

Opulent. That's one of the first words that come to mind when thinking about the 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo. Yes, power and performance are in the top three, but when you're stuck in traffic on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, the more comfort, the better.

And part of that comfort comes from the rest of the interior. While the seats may be plush and conform to your body--especially around tight corners--the rest of the interior is rather off-putting. One look at the dash and confusion ensues. The amount of buttons is ridiculous, and when driving down the road, it's hard to see just what button you're pushing. You may think you're turning on the seat heater, but you are accidentally turning off stability control if you're not careful. Although all the buttons are clearly useful, it would have been nice if they were consolidated a bit better.

The Grocery Run

Because this Porsche has four doors, many may assume that this is the automaker's version of a family car. We don't agree. While it does offer four seats, the Panamera Turbo is better-suited to those with slightly older kids. You don't want to throw a car seat in the back of this car.

Thanks to the hatch-like trunk, it's easy to pile in groceries or golf clubs, and while there is a static center console in the back seat, the seats do fold down for added space. While visibility may be limited out of the rear window, a backup camera and parking sensors make it easy to navigate a parking lot--from country clubs to supermarkets.

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The Weekend Fun

The first thing we wanted to do when getting behind the wheel of the 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo was get it on the open road. With that 4.8-liter twin-turbo V-8 under the hood, it's important to find a road where you can really step on the gas without worrying about getting a ticket. Especially when you find out the speedometer tops out at 225 mph.

There is so much to love about the Panamera Turbo, from the crisp handling to the powerful acceleration to the luxurious interior that it is hard not to smile when in the driver's seat. Activate the sport exhaust system, and the throaty roar you hear when starting up the car comes in loud and clear as you drive down the road. We had fun with this, and going through a tunnel with this activated makes for an especially fun time.

Summary

When looking at high-end luxury vehicles, it's hard to pinpoint just what competes with what. If you're looking at the 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo and want to cross shop it with similar models from different brands, perhaps the closest two are the Aston Martin Rapide and the Ferrari FF. While those will cost you more than the Porsche, they offer a little more exclusivity and other perks. However, the Porsche offers the least-expensive option with better fuel economy. But if those aren't your main concerns, it may come down to a test drive to determine the car for you. And while we haven't driven all three of the above-mentioned models, we're fairly confident that no matter which one you end up with, you'll be happy.

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Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $178,910
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 15
EPA Highway: 24
EPA Combined: 18
Cargo Space: 15.7 cubic feet
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good
Estimated Combined Range: 475 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Below Average

Notebook Quotes

"At $180,000, this car is worth every penny. Compared to the $200,000+ Aston Martin Rapide, there is no comparison. The Porsche Panamera Turbo does everything well." -Robert Guio, Photographer

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