Porsche Debuts New Panamera Four-Seater At 2009 Shanghai Auto Show

With almost as much build-up as a Harry Potter movie, Porsche finally unveiled the all new 2010 Panamera at this week's Shanghai Auto Show. The fourth model series in the lineup aims to kills two birds with one stone by packing some serious muscle underneath its four-door, four-seater frame in trying to attract both GT buyers as well as those who fancy a luxury performance car.

 The Panamera comes in three trim levels: S, 4S, and Turbo. The S and 4S are powered by a 4.8-liter V-8 churning out 400-horsepower. Adding forced induction to the Panamera Turbo bumps up horsepower to 500 ponies. For the U.S. and China markets, the Panamera S comes equipped with a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox and rear-wheel drive. The Panamera 4S and Turbo trims add all-wheel drive.

Borrowing a page from the Prius, the Panamera comes equipped with a start/ stop system that switches off the engine automatically when the car is at idle and the brake pedal is pressed down. The engine then restarts automatically when the pedal is released. If the fuel economy numbers are to be believed, this helps the Panamera S achieve an impressive 26.2 mpg in mixed driving. The 4S and Turbo trims are rated at 25.4 mpg and 23.2 mpg, respectively.

While you don't buy a Porsche for the great luggage capacity, according to the company, the Panamera can fit four suitcases upright behind the rear seats. In fact, the Panamera might end up becoming known as the "Porsche station wagon" with its flat loading space and 44 cu ft capacity once the rear seats are folded down.

As far as styling goes, the Panamera's front end looks handsome enough and bears a strong resemblance to the rest of the family. The deep front air dams are a nice touch that shows you its ready for business. The rear end looks a little too bulbous for my tastes, however, with a not exactly flattering resemblance to the Chrysler Crossfire.

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