Squeezing the most out of a high-end luxury-performance sedan is a fine art, requiring a delicate balance between comfort, power, safety and efficiency. Usually, if one factor has to give, it's efficiency, since adding any of the other three tends to reduce a cars ability to sip fuel. The 2010 Porsche Panamera is no exception, though it does strike a better balance than many.
Whatever you might feel about its looks, the Panamera's EPA figures aren't downright ugly: the standard 400-horsepower Panamera S and 4S models rate 16 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway; the 500-horsepower Turbo only trims that back to 15 mpg around town and 23 mpg on the open road.
That's highly competitive--actually slightly better on the highway--with the 2010 Lincoln MKZ we recently tested. Considering the Porsche is larger, more luxurious and far more powerful (as well as much more expensive) that's quite a feat.
Taken in the light of more competitive cars, like Maserati's Quattroporte sedan or the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the Panamera continues to look good. The Maserati's figures are a mere 11 mpg in town and 17-18 mpg on the highway, depending on whether you opt for the Sport model or not.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 Hybrid just manages to edge out the Panamera at 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, while the S550 matches the Panamera dead-even at 15 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. Opt for the more powerful S600, however, and you're looking at Maserati-like numbers of 11 mpg city and 17 mpg highway.