An empty two-lane road. Press the “Sport Plus” button. Shift into Drive. Press the brake, then the accelerator. The LCD panel in the middle of the right-side dial says “Launch control activated”. Release the brake. Now we’re in the hands of the Panamera’s formidable array of computers. There’s a fantastic noise, a massive lurch as the PDK dual-clutch transmission briefly spins all four wheels, and we are on the way to a twelve-second quarter-mile. It’s that simple.
The Porsche Panamera Turbo is the fastest mass-produced sedan in history, by virtually any measuring stick one would care to use. Only the AMG biturbo V12 cars come close in a straight line, and on a racetrack they wouldn’t see which way the beetle-backed Por-sha went. Our passenger laps with Flying Lizard driver Patrick Long only served to confirm what we learned driving the Panamera Turbo around Road America ourselves: this is the Corvette of luxury sedans.
And therein lies the problem. The Panamera is supposed to be the Porsche of luxury sedans: characterful, beautiful, desirable, perfectly conceived to suit the needs of its owners. That was the goal. Unfortunately, the “Porsche of luxury sedans” was, and continues to be, the Audi A8. By contrast, the Panamera is fast but flawed, dramatic but disappointing. It produces the numbers but fails to hit all the targets for true satisfaction. After years of reminding auto enthusiasts that pure power and performance numbers don’t make for a perfect car, Porsche has gone ahead and proved the point themselves.