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2010 Porsche Panamera: 400/500 bhp, from Euros 95,000 in September
New technology and performance terminology
For the premium four-door Gran Turismo lexicon

Porsche Panamera: combined front, back and technical pictures.

Porsche Panamera: a new chapter in Porsche's history.

APN

02 April 2009.

Bechara Aboul-Nasr.

 Interior

 Seats

 Sound

 Var. luggage...

 Panamera S

 Panamera 4S

 Panamera Turbo

 PDK

 Start / Stop

 Chassis

 Materials

 Aerodynamics

 Aeroacoustics

How can an exclusive brand, like Porsche, launch this September the Panamera, its fourth model, without paving the way first with a series of teasers about its avant-garde technology and performance?

Porsche Panamera: dashboard view with console and part of the front seats.

The Panamera Turbo combines electrical seat adjustment with a Comfort Memory Package offering extension of the seat bottom, lumbar support and electrical steering column adjustment.

The task may seem straightforward, given Porsche's reputation for performance and technical excellence.

But as the newcomer is neither a crossover like the Cayenne, nor a coupé / cabriolet belonging to the 911 family, nor a smaller brother called Boxter or Cayman, Porsche had to prepare for the Panamera a proper Gran Turismo "terminology".

Panamera's "terminology" has to be based on high comfort levels with leading technology and luxury, but only if these come with corresponding Porsche driving genetics.

Otherwise, how could the Panamera deserve its brand's badge with a price tag starting from slightly under Euros 95,000 (Germany, all-inclusive), or achieve its annual sales target of some 20,000 units? As Porsche is entering this segment for the first time, the goal might seem ambitious, given the world financial crisis and the already existing competition in this segment.

Porsche Panamera: four individual seats, side view.

Panamera interior with four individual seats.

Anyway, optimism is what makes the difference between those who dare and those who don't! Who would have thought a few years ago that Porsche would own, one day, more than half of the VW group?

From a different angle, the addition of this fourth model may also help Porsche absorb, or at least reduce the effects of the general decline of car sales around the world.

What are the main arguments announced until now about the new Panamera (see also our previous Panamera feature)?

A very sophisticated interior to start with, in terms of individual seats, variable luggage compartment, more than 1,000 W from the Surround Sound System of the Berlin audio specialist Burmester (16 amplifier channels), 4-zone automatic air-conditioning, an advanced, direct-injection atmospheric V8 engine with the rear-wheel drive Panamera S and all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S, or turbo charged with the all-wheel-drive Panamera Turbo, bearing in mind that V6 engine versions will be added later, in addition to a hybrid version expected at a later stage.

Other technologies include the PDK double-clutch automatic transmission with a start/stop system, the adaptive air suspension with addition to other aerodynamic and aeroacoustic measures.

  Interior

Before anything else, this all-new Porsche model is a four-door Gran Turismo, which means that the interior plays a key role in confirming the status of such a luxury sedan.

Porsche's reputation is a reference in the sports cars arena, specifically in coupés, cabriolets and roadsters. But in the premium 4-door GT world, there is a necessary stretching exercise to do, extending the unquestioned sports expertise into the luxury sedan world.

That's where the Cayenne crossover can be considered, not only as a third model in Porsche's line-up since late 2002, but also, as the precursor of Porsche's expansion to real 4 to 5 passengers transport on luxury-and-sports terms, rather than sports-and-luxury.

In both Cayenne and Panamera cases, the cabin luxury plays a clearly different role of what can be expected from a coupé or a roadster.

Porsche Panamera: side view of the front seats, console and dashboard.

Options include smooth and natural leather in 13 colour and material combinations, including four bi-colour options available with seven optional interior trim finish styles.

Of course, with the Panamera, the cabin has to have a completely different approach from a crossover like the Cayenne. The first has to be low in shape and in gravity terms, while the other has an obligation to keep some ground clearance for off-road driving from time to time. Above all, the Panamera world is much differently exclusive.

  Seats

Hence, the Panamera interior has to give each of its four passengers some sort of own-space, or privacy, in each of the four single seats. As for the driver, the low seating position and the sporting, low-slung steering wheel takes care of the direct feeling of the road, as one would expect from a Porsche.

Porsche Panamera: rear seats with console in between.

Options include adaptive sports seats or comfort seats at the rear, electrically adjustable in different positions.

The standard comfort seats at the front of the Panamera S and Panamera 4S adjust electrically in eight different directions.

The Panamera Turbo combines electrical seat adjustment with a Comfort Memory Package offering extension of the seat bottom, lumbar support and electrical steering column adjustment.

Other options include adaptive sports seats or comfort seats at the rear, electrically adjustable in different positions.

Porsche Panamera: the centre console runs from the dashboard to the rear seats.

The centre console runs from the dashboard to the rear seats.

The rear seats are contoured as single seats, with options such as adaptive sports seats or comfort seats, with different positions for electrical adjustments and seat climate functions. Passive safety equipments include standard driver and front passenger airbags, curtain airbags as well as (on the front seats) side and knee airbags. Rear side airbags are optional.

For those who wish to personalise the temperature preferences, an optional four-zone automatic air conditioning allows individual adjustment for blower intensity and air distribution on each seat.

Porsche Panamera: 4-zone automatic air conditioning option: individual adjustment for blower intensity and air distribution on each seat.

4-zone automatic air conditioning option: individual adjustment for blower intensity and air distribution on each seat.

Next to the seats runs the centre console from the dashboard to the rear seats, as a comfortable and elegant delimitation around the four private zones. Here, customisation options include smooth and natural leather in 13 colour and material combinations, including four bi-colour options available with seven optional interior trim finish styles, including exclusive materials such as Carbon and Olive Nature open-pore wood.

  Variable luggage

The luggage compartment can take four suitcases behind the rear seats, with enough vertical space to put them in an upright position for easier loading and unloading. Luggage capacity is 445 litres (15.7 cu ft) in the Panamera S and 4S and 432 litres (15.2 cu ft) in the Panamera Turbo.

Porsche Panamera: individual entertainment with two large DVD screens for rear passengers.

Individual entertainment for rear passengers.

However, as the Panamera comes with a variable luggage compartment, tilting the individual seat backrests forward increases luggage capacity up to 1,263 litres (44.6 cu ft), keeping the floor of the luggage compartment on one consistent level from front to rear.

  Sound

 

Panamera promises also Porsche's highest standard of audio quality. The High-End Surround Sound System from the Berlin audio specialist Burmester deploys 16 loudspeakers fed by 16 amplifier channels, with more than 1,000 W overall output, to provide an exceptional sound quality, rounded off by an active subwoofer together with a 300 W Class D amplifier. Porsche says that more than 2,400 square centimetres of sound membranes provide a sound that is similar to that of a live concert.

Porsche Panamera: Double-track arm front axle with adaptive air suspension.

Porsche Panamera: multi-arm rear axle with adaptive air suspension.

Double-track arm front axle with adaptive air suspension (top) and multi-arm rear axle with adaptive air suspension.

  Panamera S

Panamera will be first launched with V8 power units (built at Porsche’s main plant in Zuffenhausen), with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The rear-wheel drive Panamera S gets a 4.8-litre V8 with direct petrol (gasoline) injection, developing maximum output of 400 bhp (294 kW).

The Panamera S accelerates to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds, on the way up to a top speed of 283 km/h or 176 mph. Combined fuel consumption to the EU5 standard is 10.8 litre/100 km (equal to 9.26 km/litre, 26.2 mpg imp or 21.8 mpg US), with a CO2 emissions rating of 253 g/km.

In Germany, the Panamera S  the standard six-speed manual gearbox is priced at Euro 94,575, including 19 per cent VAT and all national homologation features.

With Porsche’s optional seven-speed PDK (Doppelkupplungsgetriebe or double-clutch gearbox) transmission, the Panamera S retails at Euro 98,085 (all inclusive).

  Panamera 4S

With the same 400 bhp, 4.8-litre V8 engine, the Panamera 4S gets the all-wheel drive system and the seven-speed PDK gearbox. It takes 0.4 seconds less than the Panamera S to make the 0-100 km/h (5.0 seconds), while having practically the same top speed (282 km/h or 175 mph).

Porsche Panamera: Electronically controlled all-wheel drive with integrated final drive at the front, in the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo.

Electronically controlled all-wheel drive with integrated final drive at the front, in the Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo.

Fuel consumption is slightly higher than the rear-wheel-drive model, with a combined figure (EU5 standard) of 11.1 litre/100 km (equal to 9.01 km/litre, 25.4 mpg imp or 21.2 mpg US). CO2 emissions come at 260 g/km. The German retail price (all inclusive) is Euro 102,251.

  Panamera Turbo

 

The top version has the 4.8-litre V8 with a biturbo system raising maximum output by 25 per cent to reach 500 bhp (368 kW). It comes with Porsche’s seven-gear Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) and all-wheel-drive.

Zero-to-100 km/h is done with in 4.2 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 303 km/h or 188 mph. Combined fuel consumption (EU5 standard) is 12.2 litre/100 km, (equal to 8.2 km/litre, 23.14 mpg imp or 19.28 mpg US), with CO2 emissions of 286 g/km. The retail price of the Panamera Turbo (all inclusive) is Euro 135,154.

  Technologies

With these first versions, Porsche announced new technologies making their world debuts in the luxury performance car sedans. These include the first automatic start/stop in conjunction with automatic transmission, air suspension with additional air volume on demand, as well as active aerodynamics with a multi-stage, adjustable rear spoiler moving up when required on the Panamera Turbo.

Porsche Panamera: large monitor with console controls and dials.

Porsche Panamera: PDK double-clutch shifter.

Large screen and clear controls. The PDK double-clutch gearbox enters the high performance premium sedans.

  PDK

The double-clutch transmission is already optionally available for several models at Ford, Volvo, VW, Audi, Porsche and others. However, PDK enters now the high performance premium sedans category.

More efficient than a conventional automatic transmission, the double-clutch transmission can also save more fuel through its long, overdrive-like top gear, while preserving the high performance expected from a Porsche, thanks to its specific gear increments and very fast gearshift without interruption of engine power.

  Start/Stop

Also for the first time in a premium car with an automatic transmission, the Panamera will feature a start/stop system. All models fitted with the seven-speed PDK transmission feature Porsche’s new Auto Start / Stop function, automatically switching off the engine when coming to a standstill and with the driver pressing down the brake pedal.

Porsche Panamera: adaptive air suspension, with extra volume added on when required.

Adaptive air suspension: extra volume added on when required.

In conjunction with other efficiency measures, the Panamera S with its PDK transmission can achieve a combined fuel consumption (EU5 standard) of 10.8 litre/100 km (equal to 9.26 km/litre, 26.2 mpg imp or 21.8 mpg US). For a 400bhp, 4.8-litre V8 petrol engine, the figure is exceptional, especially that the Panamera's body length is close to five metres (4,970 millimetres, 195.7 inches).

Besides, Porsche is also preparing a more fuel-efficient version of the Panamera with hybrid drive, to be added later.

  Chassis

To allow the combination of performance and comfort, rather than a compromise between them, the basic Panamera setting offers a driving comfort, while at the touch of a button on the active PASM damper system, it turns into a sports suspension.

Porsche Panamera: lightweight body with appropriate mix of materials.

Advanced materials: 1,770 kg for the 5-metre long Panamera S.

An additional and new technology to be standard on the Panamera Turbo and optional on the other models, will be the adaptive air suspension with an extra volume added on whenever required, for a wider variation of sporting and comfort features.

All Panamera models can also have an active PDCC stability control, available in combination with a fully controlled rear axle differential.

Porsche Panamera: under-floor cover extending all round the drivetrain tunnel and rear-end silencers, to reduce air resistance, lift forces on the axles and fuel consumption while enhancing driving dynamics.

Under-floor cover extending all round the drivetrain tunnel and rear-end silencers, to reduce air resistance, lift forces on the axles and fuel consumption while enhancing driving dynamics.

Through their Sport Plus button, the optional Sports Chrono Packages enable the driver at the touch of a button to choose the high-performance set-up of all drivetrain and suspension systems, including PTM Porsche Traction Management with its fully-controlled all-wheel drive. PTM comes as standard in both the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo.

  Materials

Advanced production methods and materials are used on the body of the Panamera, including different kinds of steel grades, light alloys such as aluminium and magnesium, as well as plastics.

Porsche Panamera: Active four-way rear spoiler on the Panamera Turbo.

Active four-way rear spoiler on the Panamera Turbo.

The lightweight doors feature a load-bearing structure made of laser-treated pressure-cast aluminium, an aluminium outer skin and door window frames made of thin-walled pressure-cast magnesium. Thanks to this structure, the nearly five-metre long Panamera S weighs 1,770 kg (3,902 lb).

  Aero...

On the aerodynamic side, the Panamera comes with a complete cover on the under-floor, extending all round the drivetrain tunnel and rear-end silencers, to reduce air resistance, lift forces on the axles and fuel consumption while enhancing driving dynamics.

Another aerodynamic element can be seen in the active four-way rear spoiler on the Panamera Turbo. Through its control angles and surface geometry, the rear spoiler optimises the car’s aerodynamics and performance.

Porsche’s development engineers had to target also the best possible balance of sound on the exhaust system, the air intake and engine as well as the car’s aeroacoustics. It had to provide both a low level of noise within the interior, as expected in a luxury sedan, but at the same time, a typical Porsche sound of power coming out clearly when accelerating. The wide range of sounds had to extend from quietness while cruising, all the way to an engaging performance melody in more dynamic driving.

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