Introduced at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show, the Porsche Panamera was – and is – a striking automobile, visually and performance-wise. Perhaps because it broke all the rules for traditional Porsche lovers, it seems to be one of those cars that you either love or hate…..there was no middle ground here.
In 2010 it was available in five versions: base, 4, S, 4S, and Turbo. Base engine was a normally-aspirated 4.8 litre V8 that developed 400 horsepower, while the Turbo version added 100 more to that. A 300-horsepower V6 – officially designated as a 2011 model – came later in the year. Transmission was a seven-speed, with Porsche’s Doppelkupplungsgetriebe – or PDK double clutch gearbox…..the only choice. This gearbox could actually trace its lineage back to LeMans racing Porsches campaigned back in the early-1980s.
On top of all that, you could also get the Panamera with rear or all-wheel-drive, and the GTS Turbo definitely qualified as a supercar, with a 0 – 100 km/h acceleration of well under five seconds and a top speed in the 300 km/h neighbourhood..
Unsurprisingly, equipment level was right up there, and, depending upon the model, you could get things like a full leather interior, over-sized brakes, front and rear park assist, and a heated steering wheel. The S model also came with Chrono package, which included a couple of timers – analog and digital – and a “Sport Plus Mode” button. When activated, this latter item increased the engine’s rpm limit, tightened up the suspension, lowered the car, temporarily dialed up the turbocharger’s boost, and made the brakes little more responsive.
For hard-core enthusiasts, there was also a launch control mode, which bumped up engine revs to 5000 rpm when you simultaneously held the brake down and tromped the gas pedal.
Porsche described the Panamera as a “four-door hatchback”, which was really just semantics. It was and is a four-door sedan and the name originated as a kind of remix of the famous Carrera PanAmericana race through Mexico, held during the 1950s.
Inside, the Panamera had the familiar Porsche trademark ignition key on the left and there was a surprising amount of headroom and elbow room. Most of the car’s myriad functions and switchgear were located on the centre console around the shift lever, and the ambience of the interior was that of a top-flight luxury car.
Transport Canada has one recall on file for the 2010 Panamera. It concerns the front seats, which, at some settings, could result in the seat belt locking mechanism failing, which would not protect the occupants in the event of a front-ender. This recall affects all models of the Panamera for this year, but is easily repaired by dealers.
The US national Highway and Traffic Safety Administration has 16 technical service bulletins for the 2010 Panamera. These range from leaky power steering assemblies, to the engine warning light coming on randomly, to software issues with the PDK transmission, to a rather vague caution about a “reduction in comfort” after several attempts to start the vehicle have been made. There is also a warning specifically directed at the Turbo models; apparently, some may have come out of the factory without the high pressure fuel pumps this drivetrain needs. Dealers will install the correct pump for those models that are affected.
Not much info from Consumer Reports here, but they do say that the Panamera has a beautifully finished interior and offers superior performance. Comments from owners include: “the greatest driving experience I have ever had”, “takes the turns as if it’s on a rail”, and “absolutely perfect”.
Mixed reviews from marketing researcher, J.D. Power. They seem to love the Panamera’s performance, powertrain quality, and interior quality, but are less than enthusiastic about things like overall mechanical quality, features and accessories quality, and comfort. So, the 2010 Panamera gets an “about average” grade for overall quality from this organization, but a “better than most” grade for predicted reliability.
Unsurprisingly, the internet is full of enthusiasts’ forums and bulletin boards for the Panamera. Here’s a couple: roadly.com and 6speedonline.com.
For those buyers who have been watching for the price to come down on a used Panamera, you’ve still got some waiting to do. Even a base V6 is priced well into the $70,000 neighbourhood, and a V8 4S is another ten large on top of that. A used Turbo model, meanwhile, is up and over the $90,000 – $100,000 mark. Also keep in mind that, despite their exclusivity and high cost, some Panameras may have seen track time and run harder than most other cars.
2010 Porsche Panamera
Original Base Price: $115,100; Black Book: $82,875 – $120,300; Red Book: $72,100 – $96,500
Engine: Normally aspirated / turbocharged 4.8 litre V8
Horsepower/Torque: 400 hp & 500 hp / 369 ft. lb. & 567 ft. lb.
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic w. manual shift mode
Fuel Economy (litres/100 km): 12.9 city/8.3 (non-Turbo), Premium gas.
Alternatives: Maserati Quattroporte, Mercedes CLS63 AMG, Audi A8, BMW 750i.