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Porsche Panamera

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Porsche Panamera
7/10

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Road Test

Porsche Panamera V6 driven

Driven July 2010

Additional Info

Tackle the early adopting fashionistas with a small and concentrated raft of high-end variants, then mop up the remaining resistance with something a little more frugal and relatively cheap. Thus the Panamera S, 4S and almighty Turbo have done the shock troop bit, and now we're faced with the Panamera and Panamera 4 - basically the two- and four-wheel-drive versions of Porsche's big saloon, both equipped with an all-new 300bhp V6.

Referring to either car as the ‘base' of the range seems a bit churlish, mainly because anything with a 300bhp V6 under the bonnet isn't exactly anaemic, but this is where the Pamamera range really starts, so base it is. The figures are pretty good: 0-62mph in 6.3 seconds if you option the PDK double-clutch gearbox (and most do: PDK take-up in the UK on Panamera is a fairly unequivocal 100 per cent), and the car will keep up with autobahn traffic with a 161mph top-end.

Go easy on the options - of which there are an almost baffling Hydra-headed array - and you could even pick up a V6 on the lean end of £60k. But there are issues. The V6 sounds fine for about 2,000rpm, then just gets a bit drone-laden. The car is pretty quick, but you have to let it rev through, and that's weird in a big saloon-type sports car. The Servotronic steering is also odd: sticky in places and snake-bite fast in others. The front end is noticeably lighter, more pointy and a bit nervous - though the rack hasn't actually changed - which is, again, slightly at odds with the demeanour of the rest of the car. And yet... I quite like the absolute bog-standard two-wheel drive. Although there's not the easy grunt of the V8 cars, there's something less intimidating about the V6 and its relatively light 1,730kg kerbweight. It still changes direction with surprising ease, and the chassis can handle way more power than the V6 is capable of providing, so there's room to play.

In fact, once you've found a smooth road and got used to the Panamera's inherent bulk - threading tight lanes isn't much fun no matter how much power you have - you can sling the baby Pan around pretty effectively. Not the scorched-earth performance policy of the Turbo, granted, but a lot more effective than it looks.

It tramlines badly on gnarly surfaces, and once you've totted up the ‘want' options, there's a disconcerting closeness to a basic V8 Panamera S, but if you can resist the optional knobs and buttons, the Panamera makes a weird kind of sense. It's still ugly, and I'm not sure you'd tempt me out of an E63, but the basic Panamera is more desirable than you may think.

Tom Ford

On your drive for: £1,515pcm
Performance: 0-62mph in 6.3secs, max speed 161mph, 30.4mpg
Tech:  3605cc, V6, RWD, 300bhp, 400lb ft, 1730kg, 218g/km CO2

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