When the Porsche Panamera launched in the U.S. last year, it came only in V-8 powered flavors, including the Panamera S, 4S and Turbo. This weekend, buyers will be able to scope out the V-6 versions, dubbed the Panamera and Panamera 4, on their local Porsche dealer lots.
Priced to start at $74,400 and $78,900, respectively, the V-6 Panamera and its all-wheel-drive sibling offer 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration times are still quick--6.0 seconds to 60 mph for the rear-drive model and 5.8 seconds for the Panamera 4. You can shave another 0.2 seconds off each time with the addition of the Sport Chrono Package Plus option, which fits the PDK dual-clutch gearbox among other upgrades. Top speeds are 160 mph for the Panamera and 159 mph for the Panamera 4.
While those figures give up quite a bit of performance against the V-8 versions, particularly the 500-horsepower Turbo, there's a compensatory gain in fuel economy with the V-6s. Rated at 18 mpg city and 27 mpg highway (18/26 mpg for the all-wheel-drive model), it's a solid improvement over the 15/23 mpg of the Turbo or even the 16/24 mpg of the 4S.
In addition to the smaller engine, a small amount of efficiency is gained by the fact that the V-6s are about 66 pounds lighter than the V-8s, for a curb weight of 3,880 pounds when equipped with the PDK transmission. Thanks to this gas savings, the V-6-powered Panameras aren't subject to the gas guzzler penalty.
A wide range of options and upgrades are available on the Panamera and Panamera 4, though standard equipment includes an electric moonroof, Bluetooth hands-free phone connection, and iPod/USB audio interface to the standard Porsche Communication Management infotainment/navigation system. A standard spring/damper suspension system comes on the car, with an available upgrade to the adapative air suspension with variable dampers.
The car hits dealerships this Saturday, June 5, so if you've been holding out for a more affordable or simply more efficient Panamera, the wait is over. For more on the Porsche Panamera, check out Marty Padgett's first drive review.