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The Original Porsche Panamera Isn’t That Ugly

Car enthusiasts have a lot of opinions that confound me, and one of the most prominent is the seemingly common opinion that the original, first-generation Porsche Panamera is a very ugly car. From what I’ve gathered, people who like cars are pretty accepting of the current second-gen model and see it as a big aesthetic improvement over its predecessor. Am I the only one who thinks they’re both pretty good-looking cars that don’t even look that different?

It’s hard to talk about the Panamera without talking about its unusual proportions, so let’s cover that. When the original Panamera came out for the 2010 model year, it wasn’t quite a sedan and wasn’t quite a wagon, and it didn’t even neatly fit into the category of being a liftback sedan (think Audi A5 Sportback or Tesla Model S). The way the car slopes down in the back is a little odd — I’ll grant that to the people who hate the look of this car — but I don’t think it’s such a bad design, and it’s not enough to condemn the whole car as ugly. I think this was cleaned up quite a bit when the second-gen model came out for 2017 looking more like a normal fastback sedan with a distinct Sport Touring wagon variant and a very pretty rear light bar that replaced the taillights of the first-gen model.

I think we also need to talk about the face of this car. I think what people don’t like about it is its small lower-front grille and its flat, plasticky snout in the front. It has headlights typical of a Porsche and a front-end design that I think is considered by many to have ugly proportions. Frankly, to me, it just looks like a Porsche. Pick a Porsche, any Porsche from this era and this is pretty much what they all look like in the front. I don’t think of that as a bad thing because I’m a fan of Porsche’s corporate design language for most of the 21st century so far, including that which influenced the design of the original Panamera. Porsche design has always been something a little different in the luxury car world, and few brands are better at putting a modern spin on a classically inspired design.

The front-end is another part of the Panamera that wasn’t majorly revolutionized, but rather it was tweaked to make it a little prettier. I think of the second generation as a good-looking car turning into a better-looking car, and I’m having a hard time understanding why so many car enthusiasts like one and loathe the other. I look at the Panamera and see a Porsche, but a 4-door car, and I think it works quite well. I have kids, so I love the idea of a Porsche with useable back seats that isn’t a crossover, and I could see myself owning one of these things someday if it’s ever a good fit for my budget and lifestyle. I say this because my wife, who is right about everything, is also in the pro-Panamera camp.

So, why do people hate the look of the original Panamera? Is it just because Top Gear didn’t like the design when it first came out, or is there something else I’m missing? Find a Porsche Panamera for sale

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  1. It really is though. Unfortunate since it’s a great car, but the rear end is abysmal. The redo with the wraparound taillights made a huge difference. I have been in the market for a fast daily driver that also has some room for the kids, and this hit my radar for a hot second.  I just couldn’t look at it on a daily basis and be happy. Maybe once the newer ones get cheaper.

  2. The issue is that due to familiarity of the old design being around a few years, the new one gets credit for being more attractive. The fact is it’s just less horrifically ugly. Both generations are dumpster fires of design. They look like Surinam toads about to have eggs burst forth from their backs. I would rather walk than ride in a Panamera. 

  3. I’ve always liked the look of these and yes I like the updated version a little better but I would still love to have either. it is on my list of cars that I’ll be looking at buying hopefully next year.

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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