With this Saturday’s Canadian debut of the 2010 Porsche Panamera, the term “five-door hatchback” will take on a fresh meaning. This is the first all-new Porsche in seven years, and the automaker’s first foray into the four-door premium luxury car market.
“It’s a logical next step for Porsche.” says Canadian Porsche public relations head Laurance Yap.
“There are many 911 customers buying into this segment who would like to keep their purchases in the Porsche family. We also expect the Panamera to bring a lot of new, first-time customers to the brand.”
From the headlights to the prominent fenders to the rounded back, this large “space coupe” (in the words of chief designer Michael Mauer) broadcasts 911, yet unlike that rear-engined icon, the Panamera carries a 4.8L V8 up front, powering the rear, or all the wheels, depending on model. The only available transmission is a seven-speed, double-clutch manual/automatic (PDK) transmission.
Segment innovations include the first Start-Stop system in conjunction with an automatic transmission, air suspension with additional air volume available on demand in each spring, and active aerodynamics.
Porsche’s prime goal, along with providing a dynamic driving experience, was to offer sufficient room for four full-sized passengers and their luggage. Rear head and legroom is very generous, which goes a long way in explaining the sedan’s almost humpback profile.
The interior will be familiar to those who have spent time in Porsche sports cars. You sit low in the vehicle, and the driver’s relationship to the controls is pure 911, although the appointments are considerably more luxurious.
There will be three versions the 2010 Panamera: The $115,100 S, the $120,300 4S and the $155,000 Turbo.
The naturally-aspirated direct-injection 4.8L V8 in the base Panamera S makes 400-horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, and pushes the sedan through the 100 km/h mark in 5.4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 283 km/h.
Standard equipment includes eight-way power and heated seats, navigation system, park assist; rain-sensing wipers, sunroof, bi-xenon headlights with LED running lights, premium audio, power liftgate, and 18-inch wheels.
The 4S is an all-wheel-drive version of the S, while the all-wheel-drive Turbo boasts 500-hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque thanks to the addition of twin turbochargers. It blasts to 100 km/h in 5.0 sec and tops out at 303 km/h.
Porsche in GTA
• Pfaff Porsche: 101 Auto Park Circle, Woodbridge. 905 851-0852
• Downtown Porsche: 265 Front St. E. Toronto. 416 603-9988.
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