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Stays true to its 911 roots

The Porsche Panamera S is essentially a beast-like sports car in the guise of a luxury saloon.

autos Updated: Dec 30, 2010 00:26 IST
Shapur Kotwal

As you can tell from its low, wide stance and unconventional looks, this Porsche is fundamentally different from other luxury saloons. By buying into the Panamera, you are buying a car that is part-sports and part-luxury. A pertinent question is, at R1.45 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi) before options, is it worth the premium you would pay over a Merc S500 L?

The car we have here is the ‘S’ variant. Porsche does offer cheaper V6-engined Panameras, but we believe this rear-wheel-driven, 4.8-litre naturally aspirated petrol V8 is the one to go for.

Design and engineering
No matter from which angle you look at it, the Panamera has an all new look. Porsche says all its designs are based on the 911 template. While this works perfectly on a two-door coupe, the need for rear headroom in a four-door hatchback necessitates the roof-line, which drops further back and quite suddenly.

That said, you can’t fault the mechanical underpinnings, and some of the details are truly mind-boggling. Key to the Panamera’s sporty intentions are its weight and distribution. Built largely out of various grades of steel as well as aluminium and magnesium, the Panamera S weighs in 1770 kg. Refreshingly, the Panamera’s variable ratio steering remains hydraulically assisted. It also has a fuel saving and emission-friendly stop-start function.

Interiors
You sit much lower in the Panamera as compared to other luxury saloons. This is a pure four-seater, and that’s because the centre tunnel runs the length of the car, splitting the rear seats, which are very comfortable with enough thigh support and good legroom. The only problem is that it can get claustrophobic at the rear.

Engine and gearbox
We managed a 5.8-sec 0-100 kph time making the Panamera one of the fastest accelerating saloons we’ve ever tested, 404 bhp BMW 750Li included. The 400 bhp, 4.8-litre V8, direct-injection petrol is derived from the Cayenne. It is everything you expect from a sports car – free-revving, a relatively high 7,000 rpm redline and 51 kgm of twisting force from 3,500 rpm-5,000 rpm. The only hitch is the sheer width. It’s quite cumbersome in traffic too. Reversing into parking slots can be quite a clencher too as rear visibility is limited. You can expect about 4.5 kpl (city) and 8 kpl (highway).

Autocar India