I recently had the chance to drive the new 2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo, which is a luxury sedan that is also, somehow, a hatchback. Have you ever noticed this? Everyone talks about the Panamera Turbo like it’s a sedan, when it has a whole rear tailgate with a window in it. You can even climb from the rear tailgate right on into the car, in case you’ve been smuggled into a drive-in movie theatre in a Panamera. See the 2017 Porsche Panamera models for sale near you
Anyway, I had the chance to drive it, courtesy of a local dealership here in the Philadelphia area called Porsche of Warrington. This is an excellent place to drive the Panamera, because Porsche of Warrington has a wonderful inventory of classic Porsche models, but they also have insane employee cars. Seriously. I shot the video you see above in the parking lot of this dealer, and the employee lot contained a highly modified Volkswagen Jetta station wagon, a Ford Focus RS, and Audi S3, a 996 Porsche 911, and the highlight of the entire day: a Suzuki Equator. I want to work in a place like this.
But I don’t work in a place like this, except for that day, a few weeks ago, when I filmed the Panamera Turbo. And here’s what I discovered: The Panamera Turbo is a really incredible car, in several ways. It’s also a tremendously expensive car; the one I drove had a sticker price of something like $150,000. But maybe, just maybe it’s worth it?
Here’s what I mean. OK, on the surface, the Panamera Turbo’s primary purpose is obvious: it’s a full-size luxury sedan. And, indeed, it fulfills this purpose reasonably well. It’s large inside, it has a nice, comfortable ride, and the quality of all the interior materials and features is top-notch. There are no squeaks inside a Panamera Turbo, unless you count the one from your passenger, which is really less of a squeak and more of a plea to slow down.
And this brings us to the second thing the Panamera Turbo is good at: performance. Yes, the Panamera Turbo is massively fast, in the sense that it has all-wheel drive, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, 550 horsepower and a 0-to-60 time of something like 3.5 seconds. But a lot of full-size luxury sedans are fast: Witness the Mercedes S65 AMG (621 horsepower) or the Bentley Flying Spur (up to 626 horsepower). The Panamera is special because it’s not just fast, it’s also excellent around corners. Steering is a little lighter than I’d like, but otherwise this thing just feels like a big 911; it’s totally flat going around corners, it can really dig in and push itself through a turn if you stab the throttle on the exit and the entire car is very precise and sporty. It’s a luxury sedan … that’s also a sports car.
And a hatchback. I joke about how the Panamera is a "secret hatchback" in the sense that everyone refers to it as a luxury sedan, but I really mean it: This thing is a hatchback, and you can use it like one. You have to move away some cargo covering and fold the seats, but this car offers up to 52 cu ft. of cargo space with the seats down — three times what you get in an S-Class. It’s a luxury sedan … that’s also a sports car … that’s also practical!
And it doesn’t stop there: the Panamera is also loaded with some truly impressive technology. I go into it in depth in the video, but this car has some seriously cool tricks, including a giant panoramic sunroof, a power-operating tailgate, an endlessly capable infotainment system that’s finally easy to use and touch and some of the most impressive climate control functions I’ve ever seen in a modern vehicle. All that stuff might break eventually, but as the first owner with a $150,000 luxury sedan under full warranty, there are some neat party tricks in this car I’d love to show my friends.
So, with all that in mind, you have to start thinking about the Panamera Turbo in general terms: it’s not just a $150,000 luxury sedan. It’s a $150,000 luxury sedan that offers tremendous performance, impressive materials, excellent comfort, surprising practicality and wonderful technology. I also happen to think the latest facelift transformed its once-unusual styling for the better. It’s certainly the ultimate $150,000 luxury sedan, and it may just be the best all-around car on the market. Really, the only thing it can’t do is the work of a pickup truck — but maybe that guy at Porsche of Warrington will sell you his Suzuki Equator. Find a 2017 Porsche Panamera for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.