: Panamera seen and sat in

07-27-09, 02:10 AM
Our local Porsche club had a concours event at a local dealer today, and lo and behold, PCNA brought a Panamera for us to examine! It was an S. There was no sticker, and I couldn't find the guy from PCNA to talk about it. It was silver (not sure which one, they have two) with a Luxor beige extended leather interior and 19 inch wheels. It appeared to have the air suspension. I can't be sure of other options without the sticker, and the Porsche website configurator isn't working right now. I estimate that this car would list for $105K, but it could be more.

First off, it looks better in person than in pictures, but it's still no beauty. The rear is predictably lumpy and awkward. The wheels, at 19 inches, look ridiculously small! The tires are the same width as the V, but are taller with 45 section up front and 40 in the rear. Though the wheels are 9 and 10 inches wide, the sidewalls bulge substantially more than the V's. The tires say Michelin Pilot Sport, but no PS2 identifier, and the tread pattern is a bit different from our PS2s. The fit and finish are predictably superb, and the silver paint was gorgeous, with incredible depth and sparkle, way more impressive than the Radiant Silver my loaner is wearing. However, both of the silver paints are extra cost, one more than $3000.

The interior, being extra cost full leather, is gorgeous, as well it should for the price. It's nicer than the Jag XFR, and kind of on the level of the Bentley Flying Spur, but sportier. All is not perfect, though. This car has the standard seats, and I felt they were too narrow in the shoulders front and rear. I also desired more lumbar support, but there is no adjustment on the standard seats. The wheel tilts and telescopes, but NOT electrically. The paddles suck too, just like the ones on the 911 PDK. The ergonomics look challenging. There are way too many buttons on the huge console, plus overhead, plus on the dash. The radio/Nav buttons are not particularly intuitive either, and I couldn't tell if it had XM, for instance. It does, bizarrely, have FOUR cupholders up front! One is beautifully finished and open in the console, another is next to it but nicely covered with a wood lid, and two more are hidden behind a flap on the dash, like on 911s and Boxters. Forward visibility is good, and to the sides as well, but the rear view is terrible, and the over-the-shoulder to the right rear view is Lamborghini bad, possibly the worst I've seen on a sedan. This car needs blindspot detection badly (not offered).

The car is spacious, but no more so than the Caddy. Rear headroom is better, pretty good actually. Rear legroom can be okay, but the rear of the front seat has to be higher than I would like in order to have foot room. There is no center seat, of course. Entry and exit is easier than the Caddy, because the rear door is longer, with more foot space. Of course, that area of the car is much uglier than the V. The trunk, with the hatch cover in place, is less deep and smaller than the Caddy. They claim 15.7 cubic feet, but that must be with the cargo area open. The liftover height is also higher. It can carry more stuff, being a hatch, but you have to move the front seats forward to fold the rears, because of the tall rear headrests.

The engine compartment, miraculously, is NOT covered with plastic panels, and is neat and spacious. The brake rotors are sparingly slotted, and big, but not as big as ours. I couldn't see much else on the car. The only thing that was operational was the stereo. As far as I could tell, it was the base stereo, not the Bose or Burmeister upgrades. It was fair, okay at low volumes, but not great when pushing it, and the deep bass totally fell apart when boogying.

Of course, I didn't get to drive it. I did get to watch it leave. It sounded pretty good, but the rear view still was challenging. I think it needs darker colors to hide the bulk.

In summary, the Porsche is better built, finished, and trimmed, as befits it's MUCH higher cost. The Caddy is much better looking, and WAY faster than this example. The Porsche is undoubtably a nice car, but the Caddy is way more car for the money. You had better be rich (and blind) to get the Porsche. You'd still have to order another $5000+ to match our standard equipment.

07-27-09, 04:23 AM
Nice review, I didn't think Porsche could get a sport sedan right the first few tries out. But at that price.... wow just wow, what are they thinking.... :cookoo:

Gary Wells
07-27-09, 05:40 AM
Great review, Mark, even though I am not a Porsche lover, I do admit that they are great cars, although not as great as I consider our CTS-V's. Excellent objectivity and well documented.

07-27-09, 07:17 PM
This is a great review Mark. Thanks for taking the time to inform us on these matters. The only Porsche's I like to see are the ones at LeMans, Sebring and Daytona. The new one is just butt ugly...if you get my drift :devil:

07-27-09, 08:16 PM
True Story: we had about 12 Panamera test mules come through here a few months ago (both 4 door and coupes). I ordered my V from Scott a few days later.....

07-28-09, 04:38 AM
Nice review. Much appreciated!


07-31-09, 07:48 PM
I just got my September Car and Driver, and what's on the cover but the same Panamera that I saw last weekend! Pretty good rendition, too. If it's not the same car, it's the same color, interior, and wheels, and there just aren't that many in the US. We got to see it because PCNA is located less than ten miles from the dealership where we had the event. I still haven't been able to price the car, because their website car builder is still down.