Panamera Promenade: A Day With Porsche's Four-Door

2011 Porsche Panamera GL (Copyright Hugh Ujhazy 2011 All Rights reserved)

Scratch the surface of any Porsche vehicle and a sports car will be revealed, regardless of the body style. The latest and potentially most controversial addition to the Porsche line-up honors that tradition. A long, low, high-waisted luxury sedan with the widened nose of a 911, the midriff of a Cayenne and a broad tail enveloping the massive rear tires, seating for two adults and storage area.

There are no sharp lines to this car. A single lines flows from the bottom of the front spoiler up across the Stuttgart symbol and the expanse of the hood. A sharply raked windscreen tops out before the start of the downhill curve that ends belong the Porsche name badge on the electrically operated tailgate. From the drivers seat, the left and right edges of the car are swelling mounds, the front lip reasonably visible.

panamera6.jpgThe car possesses a scale and heft that are only really felt from within. The high waistline and low position of occupants offers plenty of headroom even for the largest occupants. Each owns their own quadrant of the car, with seating separated by the lengthy center console that covers the drive train.

Porsche have used this space to clear out the button inventory. Even in the rear, individual air conditioning controls, temperature, fan and seat position adorn the edge of the center tunnel with Christmas tree abandon. Up front, the switches offer sport selectors (regular and Sports Plus), climate controls, ride height, ABS and traction control settings on the console. Up top, parking sensor and cabin lights.

The main console is dominated by the multi function display for navigation, bluetooth phone, audio and DVD/CD. The Bose audio package fitted to this Panamera GL provided six speakers around the cabin with amazing audio quality. Still not done, the instrument display behind the steering wheel offers tachometer, speedo and a multi-function display showing map, vehicle statistics, music selection and more.

Finally, the steering wheel itself had the usual array of stalks for indicators, wipers and cruise control as well as selector wheels to change volume, select the multi-function display and manage the phone. Icing on the cake was the flappy paddle gear selectors for manually managing the seven speed automatic gearbox. The cocoon was complete except perhaps the lack of Captain Kirk barking "Engage!" from behind and slightly to the left. 

This example of the Panamera came with the six cylinder, 300-horsepower, 3.6-liter engine. The entire family features the front engine, rear wheel drive split. The presence of sports and sports plus modes offers good audio from the quad exhausts as well as tightening up the suspension and speeding the gear changes while allowing higher revs before each change. The adaptive rear spoiler smoothly rises at speed and there is a button (yes, you guessed it) to deploy the spoiler even when cruising at low speed. 

The car pulls smoothly upon application of the go-fast pedal as befits it's status as an executive hauler. Pulling more aggressively through the gears via use of the manual paddles allows the car to move up toward its 6,800-rpm redline, introducing a throaty growl and a more urgent pressing of buttocks into the well contoured seats. Overall though, the sports character is better expressed in the 4.8-liter V-8 in the Panamera S at 400-horsepower or the Panamera Turbo at 500-horsepower. 

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