2013 Porsche Panamera Review
By KBB.com Editors
What's New for 2013
That Porsche even decided to build what to many looks like a 4-door 911 in the first place is shocking enough, but that the 2013 Panamera sports sedan comes in no fewer than ten different trims puts a serious exclamation mark on the term "doubling down." Whether you opt for the 300-horsepower base model or the coveted Turbo S and its 550-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8, the Panamera promises its owner and passengers a thrill ride not to be forgotten. And, while similar-sized performance sedans from BMW, Audi and Jaguar may consider themselves Panamera rivals, this sports car really is more of a 4-door coupe than a jacked-up sedan. With pricing from $75,000 to nearly $150,000, the Panamera isn't for everyone, but if you're a die-hard enthusiast with a growing family or business, it just might be for you.
You'll Like This Car If...
If your next sports car requires easy entry and exit for all four passengers, the 2013 Porsche Panamera tops a very short list of options. Its low-slung stance and 911-like shape help it stand apart from other performance 4-doors that are merely beefed-up luxury sedans.
You May Not Like This Car If...
While the Panamera excels in the areas of performance and styling, its rear-seat accommodations are not all that roomy or comfortable. Those seeking both performance and comfort might be happier in an Audi S8, BMW Alpina B7 or Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG.
Bridging the performance gap between the Panamera S and Turbo trims, Porsche adds a GTS trim to the roster for 2013. In addition, a new Platinum Edition is available for base Panamera and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 models, bringing with it distinctive aesthetic elements and enhanced features while making a strong value-added statement.
Driving the Panamera
Describing the 2013 Porsche Panamera driving experience can quickly suck a lot of superlatives out of the dictionary, and its limits are for exploration by only the most skilled drivers....
Even the base model, with the 300-horsepower V6, delivers impressive performance, and the increasingly more-powerful versions go all the way to incredibly awesome. It's not a lightweight, at two tons or more, so it lacks the quick, sweet nimbleness you would expect from, say, a 911. But it combines athletic steering response with resolute down-the-road stability. The sophisticated suspension deals with anything the pavement serves up, the brakes set the standard for stopping performance, and the sum is an overall competence that makes ordinary drivers feel like heroes. This praise is not extended to the S Hybrid, which dulls the steering and braking edge – the big reasons for buying a Porsche in the first place.
On a highway, at track day, or pulling up to the valet at an overpriced restaurant, the 2013 Panamera makes a visual statement that is unmistakable as to its overall purpose in life. This thing has stage presence.
Until you've driven a Porsche Panamera, it's difficult to imagine the overall level of competence and authority it has on the road – any road. On Interstates it's an impeccable long-distance, long-hours road warrior; on city streets it's smooth and luxurious; and on devilish curves its capabilities are beyond reproach.
2013 Porsche Panamera Details
Because the seats in the 2013 Porsche Panamera 4-door sit low, getting in or out can take patience. The interior is a statement to Porsche luxury and technology, and fit and finish is impeccable. Seating is terrific for those in front, with plenty of space even for taller folks, but less so for those in the rear, where the low seats, high sills and front-seat headrests severely limit the outward view. Expectedly, the sound system is magnificent and there is enough technology to suit the most committed early-adopter, but we counted about 75 control functions that are reachable from the driver's seat.
While Porsche's reputation was built on the racetracks of the world and that competition heritage is certainly the single-most significant aspect of the marketing message, the unmistakable "Porsche-ness" of the exterior shapes of all the company's products ties them together like pictures on a family greeting card. Even with four doors, there is no confusing that the 2013 Panamera is a Porsche. The smoothly rounded shape, the almost genetically-linked front end, the side-window outline, the big tires filling out the fenders and the taillight treatment leave no doubt of the Panamera's relationship to other Porsches.
Standard equipment on the 2013 Porsche Panamera base version, besides all the usual luxury items appropriate for the price range, includes a slide/tilt moonroof, electronically-controlled shock absorbers, Porsche Stability Management, hard-drive-based navigation, an automatic liftgate, ParkAssist, Bluetooth, 8-way power front seats, and a host of additional luxury, convenience and safety features.
With a vehicle that offers paint and leather upholstery to match provided samples, you would be correct in guessing the list of available options is lengthy. Those options include sound systems from Burmester and Bose, Porsche Rear-Seat Entertainment with swiveling 7-inch screens, Lane Change Assist, adaptive cruise control, thermally- and noise-insulated glass, and 4-zone automatic climate control – which allows separate adjustment of air temperature, blower intensity and air distribution for each seat.
Under the Hood
For 2013, the base rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 – "4" is Porsche shorthand for all-wheel drive (AWD) – are powered by a 300-horsepower 3.6-liter all-aluminum V6. The other models (except the S Hybrid) have various versions of a 4.8-liter all-aluminum V8, which varies from 400 horsepower in the Panamera S and 4S models all the way up to 550 hp in the Turbo S. All Panamera models, except the S Hybrid, have a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual control. No manual transmission is offered. The Panamera S Hybrid has a 3.0-liter V6 with an 8-speed automatic, and the total system output is 380 horsepower. It is difficult to pick a favorite Porsche Panamera, as even the 3.6-liter V6 delivers sparkling performance and response.
300 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
295 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg (RWD), 18/26 mpg (AWD)
400 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
369 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/24 mpg
430 horsepower @ 6,700 rpm
384 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
4.8-liter twin-turbo V8
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
516 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg
4.8-liter twin-turbo V8
550 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
553 lb-ft of torque @ 2,250-4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg
3.0-liter V6 with hybrid electric motor
380 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm (total system)
428 lb-ft of torque @ 1,000 rpm (total system)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 mpg
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