Last Update: Thursday, April 17, 2014
|Six Degrees of Separation: Porsche Leans and Fattens 2014 Panamera Lineup, Adding Plug-In Option|
|Written by Mark Maynard|
|Thursday, 09 January 2014 06:10|
Photo Credit Creative Syndicate
For 2014, there are 11 models of Panamera, sold in rear- or all-wheel drive with six engine choices, including a new plugin hybrid.
When testing a Panamera, I tend to forget this Porsche has two more doors and two back seats. From behind the wheel, this four-seat Porsche feels much like the 911 Carrera.
While the Panamera competes in the large, luxury sedan category -- Audi A8, BMW 7-Series, Lexus LS, Mercedes- Benz S-Class -- it revolves in its own orbit. Porsche didn't make a big sedan to be like others in this segment, it made a sedan to be a Porsche. But that's not to say the company isn't competitive to layer on posh, luxury elements. 2014 brings a number of enhancements.
There are now 11 models of Panamera, sold in rear- or allwheel drive with five engine choices, including a new plug-in hybrid, and two transmissions. Two new Executive models ride on a wheelbase lengthened by nearly half a foot. And later this year, the Turbo S and Turbo S Executive will be added.
All models, except the Panamera S e-Hybrid, use a seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung transmission, an automated manual that functions as an automatic. Exterior updates include some sculpting to the front fascia (larger air intakes) and at the rear there is a revised lift gate with wider glass and wider spoiler.
Starting prices range from about $79,000 for the nonturbo V-6 to $201,475 for longwheelbase Panamera Turbo S Executive with 570-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8; prices include the $975 freight charge from Leipzig, Germany. The Executive models add 4.6 inches of legroom and another 6 degrees of rear seat recline. The longer doors have a power, soft close.
The Panamera S, today's tester, starts at $94,175, and was $123,875 with options. Porsche has long been the master marketer of upsell for accessories and features.
For 2014, a new twinturbo, 3.0 liter V-6 replaces the previous 4.8-liter V-8 in the Panamera S models. The 420-horsepower engine has more power than the V-8 (20 horsepower) and another 15 foot-pounds of torque, which pulls strong from 1,750 to 5,000 rpm.
Porsche cites 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds or 4.6 with the Sport Chrono package. And the AWD model turns a 4.6/4.3.
The V-6 Turbo is a cruise missile of ballistic potential. The machined tone of the V-6 sounds more Porsche than the V-8. And the car feels more alive and lithe, shrugging off its curb weight of 3,990 pounds.
Tooling along a favorite stretch of road, it is as if the tires are reaching ahead to dig in, flinging chunks of material to the side to boost the car faster, lower and sharper. Rifling through a corner, the skin on my face has more roll than the Panamera body.
Punch the Sport button and the suspension lowers the car and the RPMs jump by hundreds of revs. Then punch the Sport Plus button and the car lowers more and the revs jump again. The driver is cleared for takeoff.
This model's fuel economy improves, too, now up to 17 mpg city, 27 highway and 21 combined. Auto stop-start kills the engine at idle (if battery reserves allow), but the occurrence isn't overly intrusive to the driver. The engine refires when the foot is lifted from the brake.
Most sedan luxury liners have some forgivable paunch for creature comfort. But Porsche finds a way to provide a sporting suspension that is just as supple as Lexus leather. And an option for thermal and noise insulated glass ($1,240) muffles the cabin as well or better than any competitor.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid is the first plug-in Porsche electric (in modern times) and improves upon the previous hybrid Panamera with more power and a higher-performance battery that can be recharged from home- or public-charging stations. It can be driven around 22 miles on battery power, which is considerable for a car weighing nearly 5,000 pounds.
A four-door Porsche isn't the most accommodating sedan. Even the back seats have a cockpit quality, but so what. The Panamera has world cachet as an aspirational highperformance luxury car.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 09 January 2014 06:31|