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2014 Porsche Panamera and Panamera plug-in hybrid drive review

Porsche is adding three new Panameras for 2014 and is upgrading six more. The two new long-wheelbase “Executive” models gain 6 inches of rear seat room for those who inexplicably don’t want to drive this powerful hatchback sedan themselves, while a new plug-in hybrid — a first for the carmaker — comes with a larger battery than the old, non-plug-in hybrid and can drive under silent electric power for up to 22 miles, maybe more if you stay off the throttle. Which you won’t be able to do. The rest of the the Panameras get a little more horsepower and lightly freshened exteriors.

The world seems to have accepted the unique proportions of this car, now 4years old and with more than 100,000 sold worldwide. Love it or hate it on the outside, the Panamera is roomy and comfortable on the inside and fast from any way you look at it.

What’s It Like To Drive?

We drove four Panameras during a short intro program in Munich and liked the Panamera S and its all-new 420-hp 3.0-liter V6 twin turbo best. So sue us. The S is within 20 hp of the V8-powered GTS and felt just about as strong when tromped upon. You’ll only notice the miniscule turbo lag if you drive it back-to-back against its eight-cylinder sibling. Otherwise, the V6 twin-turbo feels light and responsive from the driver’s seat and pretty much equal in power and torque to the V8. The carryover hydraulic steering feels just right from on-center all the way out to lock. The throttle is delightfully linear, something of a rarity in modern cars of any make. Wind, road and engine noise were minimal. Porsche lists 0-60 at 4.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono package and top speed at 178.3 mph (only the Germans would add a .3 to 178 mph). For our part, we can say that the car felt perfectly stable at speeds up to 130 mph, which was as fast as we got before running out of autobahn.


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