On Tuesday evening Carousel Porsche had a private unveiling of the new for 2010 Panamera sedan. This is the first sedan from Porsche and boy did they work hard on this. The sedan has been the center of a lot of controversy both during development and during the launch. The car is all new for Porsche, a true sedan with a front mounted engine and rear or all wheel drive. Featuring a once choice transmission of the new PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) which is Porsche’s dual clutch transmission. True Porsche fans were devastated when the Cayenne was launched as the first SUV in the history of Porsche. The purists said it was too far from true Porsche roots. Truth of the matter is that in the right iteration the Cayenne is every bit a Porsche, well as much as a SUV could be. Funny thing happened though, the Cayenne became the best selling Porsche. The Panamera is again having the purists again crying and saying a four door sedan is can not be a true Porsche.
The front view of the Panamera is great looking. The styling department really put a lot of Porsche DNA in the front end. Looking like a over sized 911, you can see the family resemblance right away. The rear styling is what has people both car aficionados and non a buzz. The rear…well some have called it a hunch back some call it plain ugly. I will say this, in person it truly does look a lot better then in pictures. I can definitely see Porsche DNA in the rear and it is growing on me, though I still would not call its svelte. Function definitely won over form here. A six foot adult will feel more then comfortable for a cross country jaunt in the back. That will not be the case for one of the main competitors the upcoming Aston Martin Rapide. The Rapide has a more form over function approach to the rear seat occupants which limits the rear headroom and legroom. Porsche wanted no compromises inside the Panamera and boy did they win on that note.
The interior is just gorgeous. Yes it is true, there are a lot of buttons on the center console but they are all grouped together by what they control so it is quite easy to learn where each is if you break it up into quadrants. The car is swathed with leather all over the place and the seats are definitely up to keeping you planted while putting down the power. Speaking of power you have two engine choices both featuring direct injection. The base engine is a 4.8 liter V8 putting out 400 hp and 369 lb-ft and if that is not enough power you can step up to the same engine with twin turbos slapped onto it and that will bring power up to 500 hp and 516 lb-ft. The base car is rear wheel drive and has a base price of $89,800 while stepping up to the 4S model that features all wheel drive will set you back $93,800. The twin turbo, the range topping model which only comes in all wheel drive, starts at $132,600. I took a quick test drive in both a regular Panamera 4S and a 4S model that had the sport package which featured both active suspension and dual mode exhaust. Both drives were very short but there is no question this car is a true Porsche. Check the video below for my initial driving impressions. Stay tuned for a first drive review in the near future.