Porsche dominates its sport with infectious energy emanating from a cadre of entertaining vehicles and SUVs. As always, the automotive objective relies on continually progressing forward with inventions that parallel societal expectations or overwhelmingly exceed them. So Porsche decided to enhance its successful formula with a re-engineered and re-invigorated 2014 Panamera.
The adaption of the latest model is now galvanized with three new teammates in the form of the S E-Hybrid plug-in and two renditions of the stretch “Executive” models: Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo. We drove most of the latest Panameras including those propelled by Porsche’s new 3-liter twin-turbo engine which replaces the 4.8-liter V8. It was full of power and acceleration, achieves better fuel economy and receives 20 added horsepower. This powerplant sees work in the Panamera S, Panamera 4S, and Panamera 4S Executive and functions fluidly with the 7-speed PDK (double clutch) transmission. PDK pre-selects gears for faster shifting during high-octane driving.
We began the day in a $142,695 Rhodium Silver Metallic Panamera 4S with a $4,185 Black/Carrera Red leather interior that invoked passion, spirited driving and heightened levels of luxurious comfort. Although it’s a heavy vehicle, acceleration is 4.9 seconds from 0 to 60 mph (4.6 with Sport Chrono package) and hones a top track speed of 178.3 mph. Unlike many bigger cars, the Panamera felt light on its feet and agile around seriously curvy roads. Select “Sport” mode and the system begins measuring the Panamera’s road reactions and adjusts steering, throttle, damping and gearing accordingly. “Sport Plus” elevates those algorithms and remains aggressive at all times through all gears, while also holding each gear without upshifting.
Next up were the $181,185 Agate Grey Metallic Panamera Turbo and a White S E-Hybrid plug-in which both represent equally opposing spectrums of the Panamera. The Turbo expends power through its authoritative V8 which sees a 20 horsepower increase to 520 horsepower, effectively allowing the sports car to gallop 0 to 60 mph in a quick 3.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 189 mph. Power shifting is done through embedded paddles on top and under the stealthy steering wheel. The S E-Hybrid plug-in on the other hand is civil and well-mannered. Acceleration is gradual and quiet as expected. It plugs into typical home outlets for convenience and is able to regenerate power for the 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery when driving (E-CHARGE). Starting at $99,000, this model can deliver up to 22 miles on a good day in full electric mode (E-POWER) and defined by its Acid Green brake calipers and trim highlights.
Keep in mind the refreshed design is minimal to non-enthusiasts. The most notable observation is the rear hatch which is less rounded. The headlights and size of the air intakes have also been modified. Our day came to end with an escorted drive in the back of the $161,100 Turbo Executive which adds 5.9” of legroom and a group of stately features such as an optional cooler, reclining seats, pillow soft headrests and even leather wrapped and painted air vents if you so choose. It’s perfect for those who desire some of the best craftsmanship the industry has to offer.