2013 Porsche Panamera Introduction

Porsche Panamera offers luxury, space and performance, all in a dizzying array of model choices and configurations. With its massive rear-seat space, the Panamera delivers the performance of sportscar with luxurious room for four adults.

New for 2013, Panamera GTS fits into a gap between the all-wheel-drive Panamera 4S and Panamera Turbo. The 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS uses a souped-up version of the V8 found in the Panamera 4S that's good for 430 horsepower, a 30-hp bump over the 4S. Panamera GTS comes standard with many features found on the more powerful, more expensive Panamera Turbo, including 19-inch wheels, a sport steering wheel and unique interior and exterior trim.

Also new for 2013 is a Platinum edition of the base V6 engine, available in rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel drive. They're fitted with the same 19-inch wheels found on Turbo models and include heated seats with upgraded leather upholstery, navigation, park assist, a sport steering wheel, bi-xenon headlights and unique exterior trim.

Panamera's exterior design is based on roominess and space efficiency while attempting to maintain Porsche styling heritage. The look is a love-hate proposition, with little middle ground. We think it looks ungainly from the rear three-quarter view, but park a Panamera among its competition from BMW and Audi, and it's the Porsche that stands out, the one that you want to get in and drive. In any case, those who can embrace the styling will be rewarded with a truly substantial, satisfying automobile.

Panamera is only slightly smaller than the BMW 7 Series, and it delivers the sporting performance of a world-class sports sedan with the comfortable ride and refinement of a luxo-cruiser. Those extremes required a lot of careful engineering. Porsche builds the body from lightweight materials and puts the engine low and as far back as possible. The Panamera's standard adjustable suspension can change the ride from soft but stable to race track-ready.

All Panamera models are fast. The V6 model hits 60 mph from a standstill in as little as 5.6 seconds, while the V8-powered Panamera S models pull off 0-60 in 5.0 seconds. Panamera Turbo cuts that time to a sports-car bashing 3.6 seconds, with little if any turbo lag and a rush of power that pins you back in your seat.

Don't think you're giving up cabin space by choosing a Porsche. Headroom, legroom and hip room in a Panamera rival that of a 2013 Mercedes S-Class sedan (S-Class is all-new for 2014). A standard full-length center console divides Panamera into four distinct and comfortable seating positions. The feel from the driver's seat is much like that in a Porsche 911, only slightly higher off the ground. All of the seats are supportive without being too firm or too deeply bolstered.

The hatchback design makes the Panamera useful as a family vehicle. With the rear seats up, the rear cargo area is as roomy as the trunk in a mid-size sedan. With the seats down, the Panamera has more cargo room than a luxury wagon, with easy access to a fairly expansive load floor.

Porsche Panamera is one of the best cars in its class. The competition includes Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Aston Martin Rapide, and Maserati Quattroporte. The Porsche Panamera doesn't come cheap, and options can add 50 percent to the model price. Yet on another level, given its impact and relative performance, the base Panamera V6 might be considered a deal.

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