The Porsche Panamera: History, Photos, Generations, and Specifications
A brief history of Porsche’s stunning German supersedan, with fun facts, buying tips, FAQs, and more.
Porsche Panamera Essential History
In typical Porsche fashion, the first Panamera variants made available for the 2010 model-year launch included the Panamera S, 4S, and Turbo models, each with either a 4.8-liter V-8 (395 horsepower, 369 lb-ft of torque) or a twin-turbo tune of the same 4.8-liter in the Turbo good for 493 hp and 516 lb-ft. Porsche soon added the base-level Panamera and Panamera 4, powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 with 296 hp and 295 lb-ft. In 2011, the Panamera S Hybrid, GTS, Turbo S, and diesel models expanded the lineup. The Turbo S took its rightful place at the top of the pyramid, bumping output from the regular Turbo to 542 hp and 553 lb-ft, offering a tremendous 0-60-mph run in 3.5 seconds, and a top speed of 188 mph.
The first-gen Porsche Panamera GTS was essentially a sharper-driving 4S, with an augmented form of the 4.8-liter, naturally aspirated V-8 good for 424 hp and 384 lb-ft. The diesel and S Hybrid were less fiery; the diesel's oil-burning turbodiesel V-6 spun out 247 hp and 406 lb-ft, while the hybridized, supercharged V-6 in the S Hybrid packed a combined 375 hp and 428 lb-ft. Regardless of engine choice, a then-new seven-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission handled shifting duties for everything but the diesel and S Hybrid, which instead utilized the Cayenne-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission. Of course, each of the first-gen Panameras were technological terrors, incorporating options like Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, air suspension, dynamic headlights, and active anti-roll bars.
Porsche launched the second-gen Panamera for the 2017 model year, wearing a wider, lower, sleeker design that silenced much of the gripes regarding the first-gen's somewhat hunchbacked appearance. Complementing the fresh threads is a completely reimagined interior, replete with touch-capacitive surfaces and massive display screens. Powertrains were all new for the second-gen as well; the base Panamera and Panamera 4 pack a 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 with 325 hp and 332 lb-ft, while the Panamera 4S' 2.9-liter turbo V-6 is good for 434 hp and 406 lb-ft. A 4S E-Hybrid hybridizes the 4S' powertrain, now rated at a combined 552 hp and 553 lb-ft.
The second-gen GTS' 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 packed a 454-hp and 457-lb-ft wallop, later updated to 473 hp with the 2021 refresh. The vaunted Panamera Turbo's 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 hard-launches occupants with 542 hp and 568 lb-ft, while the phantasmagorical Turbo S E-Hybrid delivers 680 combined hp and 627 lb-ft. For the 2021 refresh, Porsche introduced a non-hybrid Turbo S variant, hopping the Turbo's 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V-8 to 621 hp and 605 lb-ft. As before, every single Panamera variant comes with a PDK dual-clutch transmission, now boosted from seven to eight speeds.
Performance is spectacular, with the slowest base Porsche Panamera taking only 5.6 seconds to hit 60 mph from a dead-stop, and the electron-breathing Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid achieving the same in a brain-bending 3.2 seconds, onto a top speed of 196 mph. Like the prior car, each Panamera—regardless of specification and options—is a technological warhorse, with advanced driving-assist systems, infotainment displays, telemetrics, and chassis control. Best of all, every trim is available in the wild Sport Turismo wagon variant.
Porsche Panamera Highlights
The original Porsche Panamera is one of the greatest realizations of a "What If?" car. Porsche toyed with the idea of a true four-door sedan for decades, developing numerous strange prototypes, concepts, and design studies quietly away from the public's eye. When the Panamera launched in earnest for the 2010 model year, it was the answer to a fever-dream question enthusiasts juggled since at least the 1970s.
The first-generation Panamera was a genuine game-changer; it was far from being the most handsome sedan of its era, but it rejiggered our perception of what a full-size, executive four-door is capable of when the road turns twisty. Elsewhere, BMW M and Mercedes-AMG furiously took notes on the Panamera Turbo S' ferocious straightline pace. For many, this was the four-door 911 they wanted for so many years.
The second-gen Panamera impressed just as much as the first-gen, though in an evolutionary sense rather than a genre-defying way. The new Panamera's absurdly modern interior with haptic-touch console and dual screens is all at once controversial and popular, this monolithic environment bleeding over to the present 992-generation Porsche 911.
All in, the Panamera proves you don't have to give up comfort, refinement, or professionalism in the pursuit of incredible performance and handling. We'll take ours in Turbo S Sport Turismo spec, please.
Porsche Panamera Buying Tips
You already know what we're going to plead for here; if you aren't driving a factory-fresh Panamera off of the showroom floor, please take whatever used or pre-owned Panamera to your local marque specialist or dealership to give it a thorough pre-purchase inspection. Even the most well-kept Panameras can be costly to maintain—the usual adage is it will cost you more than a BMW but less than a Ferrari to keep running—and you need to be prepared to open your wallet the older and the more miles the first-gen has under its wheels.
If you're looking for a luxurious and trouble-free daily sled, a nice Lexus or Acura might be a better choice. For something special to take out on the weekends or for use as your trans-continental road-trip missile, we say skip the relatively unexciting base Porsche Panamera and Panamera 4 and slide into the nicest S, 4S, GTS, and Turbo variants you can. Skip any Hybrids or diesels other than the second-gen's Turbo S E-Hybrid, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of the fact Porsche actually offers a wagon on our shores with the Panamera Sport Turismo.
Porsche Panamera Stories on Automobile
Porsche Panamera Quick Facts
- First year of production: 2011
- Base price: $187,700 (Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid)
- One of the greatest do-everything cars
- The best driving full-size executive sedan, bar none
- Remains Porsche's technological tour de force
Porsche Panamera FAQ
You have questions about the Porsche Panamera. Automobile has answers. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked Porsche Panamera queries.
Is the Porsche Panamera a good car?
Our knee-jerk reaction is, "Absolutely," but we temper that initial enthusiasm with the cold slap of reality. It all depends on what your use-case scenario is for your shiny new Panamera. Need something reliable and low-fuss? Keep moving. Want one of the best-driving and quickest four-doors on the planet? A Panamera is your best bet.
Is the Porsche Panamera expensive to maintain?
You betcha. It's not outrageous like a Bentley or Rolls-Royce, but these are complex cars with a wide array of systems that can get gummed up. Expect to pay more than a BMW but less than a Ferrari to keep your Panamera on the road regardless of trim, year, or mileage.
Which Porsche Panamera is the fastest?
That auspicious status falls to the 2021 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid with its 690 hp and a 0-60-mph run of less than 3.0-seconds.
How much is a new Porsche Panamera?
If you stick with the base model, you can expect to pay just more than $88,000 for the privilege.
|2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo Specifications|
|ON SALE||Spring 2021|
|PRICE||$195,000 (base) (est)|
|ENGINE||4.0L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/ 563 hp @ 5,750-6,000 rpm, 567 lb-ft @ 2,100-4,500 rpm, plus electric motor/134 hp, 295 lb-ft @ 100-2,300 rpm; combined 690 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 642 lb-ft @ 1,500-5,550 rpm|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed dual-clutch automatic|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, AWD wagon|
|L x W x H||198.8 x 78.2 x 56.4 in|
|WEIGHT||5,311 lb (est)|
|0-60 MPH||3.0 sec|
|TOP SPEED||196 mph|