2010 Porsche Panamera 4S Review
The 2010 Porsche Panamera is a stunning example of automotive engineering at the cutting edge of supercar performance. Its 400 horsepower 4.8-litre V8 gives a huge push in the back the moment the driver wants it. While a figure of five seconds to 100 km/h tells the bald story, it's the way the big Porsche responds to the throttle that guarantees a smile will hit your face. The Porsche Panamera seems to have read your mind.
Though automatic transmissions aren’t our favourite pieces of gear in sports machines, the way the Panamera's seven-speed PDK double-clutch unit works is just brilliant. It not only senses the movement of your right foot, but also gets important information from the V8's computer to further improve on-road urge. And the engine’s computer talks to the tranny’s computer at the same time, sensational.
The sound of the engine was too muted for our revhead senses until we discovered a handy button on the centre console. It bypasses segments of the mufflers and permits the full roar of the big V8 hits to assault your senses. We immediately took our road test Panamera through one of our favourite tunnels, did a few U-turns, just in case we hadn’t got it right the first time through. Then savoured the exhaust and spent the rest of the trip smiling outrageously.
If there's a complaint about the Porsche Panamera's it's that the tail-end treatment is on the bulky side. However, we soon worked out that the rear wing can be kept raised at all times by pushing another button on the console. This breaks the flow of the lines of the tail and gives a more positive look to the Panamera's rump.
But you should be aware that a policeperson may know that the wing rises when the Porsche speed reaches 120 km/h and accuse you of travelling at that highly dangerous rate (oh for German speed limits...). In which case you can smile sweetly and point out the wing-raising button.
Porsche sees its Panamera as a GT (Grand Tourer) rather than a full-on sports model. But we beg to disagree, this really is a serious sports sedan. The steering is lightening fast. Feedback through the wheel is excellent and Panamera grips the road at speeds that may feel impossible to those who aren’t used to the characteristics of car likes this. The ability of this two-tonne machine to swerve and recover in emergency situations is simply stunning. Make a big mistake and the electronics simple step in and get the Panamera back on the straight and narrow again.
Porsche Panamera is a big car, bigger than a Commodore or Falcon. It may be low slung but this is a sports saloon not just a coupe with easy access to the back seats. There's a decent amount of legroom in the two rear bucket seats and the headroom, while not all that generous, certainly won't cause hassles for most.
Ceramic brakes were one of the options in ‘our’ road test Panamera 4S. These provide enormous amounts of stopping power when used seriously and never showed the slightest sign of fading, even on our seriously steep downhill course. However, the ceramic brakes are aimed at high speed cruising and we found them difficult to modulate at traffic speeds as they grip too suddenly on initial pedal application at gentle speeds.
Ride comfort is good thanks to the ability to dial up different stages of suspension interaction. You probably wouldn't be a passenger all day in the great Australian bush and come back feeling fresh as a daisy. But the driver is still going to be smiling...
This is a brilliant example of a four-seater sports saloon. One that seems sure of success on the Australian market where we love big machines capable of swallowing up huge distances without breathing hard.
2010 Porsche Panamera 4S 4.8-litre two-door coupe specifications:
Capacity: 4.806 litres
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Bore/Stroke: 89.0 x 96.4 mm
Maximum Power: 294 kW @ 6500 rpm
Maximum Torque: 500 Nm @ 3500 rpm
Driven Wheels: All-wheel drive
Manual Transmission: Not offered
Automatic Transmission: Seven-speed
Final Drive Ratio: NA
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4970 mm
Wheelbase: 2920 mm
Width: 1931 mm
Height: 1418 mm
Turning Circle: NA
Kerb Mass: 1860 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 100 litres
Towing Ability: Not recommended for towing
SUSPENSION AND BRAKES:
Front Suspension: Double wishbone, gas damper, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspension: Independent, multi-link, coil springs, anti-roll bar
Front Brakes: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brakes: Ventilated Disc
0-100 km/h Acceleration: 5.0 secs
Type: Petrol 98RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 11.5 L/100km
GREEN VEHICLE GUIDE RATINGS:
Greenhouse Rating: 4.5/10
Air Pollution Rating: 6.5/10
Two years/unlimited km
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