When you build nothing but highly-regarded two-door sports cars for over 50 years, adding a four-door sedan to the lineup is sure to rankle a few doctrinaires. But if there's any brand that can pull off doubling the amount of doors without halving the fun quotient, it's Porsche. Introduced in 2009, the Panamera sedan shares more with the 911 than just a sloping roofline; it embodies the same philosophy of unparalleled performance that has been the company's guiding light since the days of Ferdinand himself. For 2018, that tradition of excellence continues.
What's New for 2018
The addition of the wagon-esque Sport Turismo makes it's debut for 2018. Both this model and the E-Hybrid line are marketed separately.
Choosing Your Porsche Panamera
The base rear-wheel-drive Panamera uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that makes 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. It's hooked up to Porsche's eight-speed PDK transmission that is used throughout the Panamera lineup. This powertrain lets the sport sedan get to 60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds and return an EPA estimated 21 miles per gallon city, 28 highway and 24 combined (though it probably can't accomplish both feats at the same time). It's only available in the standard-length 116.1-inch wheelbase. The Panamera 4 uses the same 3.0-liter engine, but comes standard with all-wheel drive and are two-tenths of a second faster to 60 mph.
The Panamera 4S ups the ante with a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 that pumps out 440 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. It'll scoot to 60 in 4.2 seconds and hit a top speed of 179 miles an hour, and when not being treated like a 911 it will return fuel economy of 21 city, 28 highway, and 23 combined mpg.
The big cheese, though, is neither of the V6 powerplants - it's the Turbo. Thanks to it's 550-horsepower twin-turbo V8, 0-60 comes in an impressive 3.6 seconds, and top speed is an impressive 190 mph. Even with this kind of power, the Panamera Turbo remains relatively economical when driven in a docile manner, returning fuel economy of 18/25/21.
All but the base Panamera are offered with an optional long-wheelbase body, adding 5.9 inches between the front and rear axle. While it's probably not great for handling and it has an unfortunate effect on the car's proportions, the extra space makes the Panamera an impressive chauffeur vehicle. Porsche markets all of its long-wheelbase Panameras with the "Executive" designation. The long-wheelbase adds $6,700 to the price of the Panamera 4, $10,900 to the 4S, and $10,000 to the Turbo.
In the world of Porsche, standard equipment remains essentially the same throughout each trim level; what's upgraded is the power and performance. The Panamera is no different, and the dizzying number of options remains consistent throughout each flavor of Panamera. Notable extras include the surround-view camera, 14- or 18-way power seats with memory, carbon-ceramic brakes, air suspension, adaptive cruise control, rear-wheel steering, night vision, eight-way power rear seats and a special leather interior package with deviated stitching. Audiophiles can get a 14-speaker, 710-watt Bose sound system or a 21-speaker, 1,455-watt Burmester sound system. There is also a rear seat entertainment unit available that has dual removable ten-inch touchscreens which attach to the back of the front headrest.
Besides the a-la-cart options, a few packages are on tap. The Sport Design Package includes unique front and rear fascias as well as side sills. The Sport Chrono Package includes a stopwatch, Sport Plus drive mode, a custom drive mode with individually adjustable parameters, and launch control. A Premium Package bundles Comfort Access (which lets you unlock the door by just touching the door), the Bose system, blind-spot monitoring, and the 14-way seats. The Premium Plus Package includes all of that along with heated rear seats, soft-close doors, ventilated front seats and Porsche's Dynamic Light System. The Assistance Package includes active safety features such as night vision, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assist.
There are - and you may want to sit down for this - a whopping 15 different wheel designs and 18 exterior color choices. If that Crayola-rivaling palette doesn't have your ideal hue, Porsche offers the ability to choose a custom color, though they need a minimum of six months to make it happen. Interiors can be upholstered in leather and Alcantara, and wood, carbon fiber and aluminum trim is available.
The Sport Chrono Package costs $2,270 but is worth the extra cash, with the additional drive mode and launch control features allowing buyers to wring out all the performance built into this extra-capable sedan. We'd also equip our Panamera with the air suspension, as it gives a noticeably more luxurious ride compared to the steel springs that come standard.