Whoever said, "You can't have it all" has never driven a 2012 Porsche Panamera. With most other cars, luxury and performance are either mutually exclusive or require compromises on each end of the spectrum. Not so with the Panamera, as the wizards at Porsche somehow blended the best of both worlds.
The Porsche Panamera S and 4S receive a 4.8-liter V8 good for 400 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. The V8-powered Panamera 4S impressed us with a 0-60-mph run of 4.6 seconds. The V8-powered Panamera S and 4S are both rated at 16/24/19 mpg. One notable feature on all Panameras is an auto start/stop function (something normally associated only with hybrid vehicles) that reduces fuel consumption by shutting off the engine whenever the car comes to a stop and then restarting it automatically when you're ready to go again.
The 2012 Porsche Panamera is an accomplished, luxurious grand touring car as well as an engaging, highly capable high-performance car. Drivers can select from several driving modes to fit their preferences. In Normal mode, the Panamera feels as soft and leisurely as any European flagship sedan. Engaging full Sport mode can sharpen nearly every aspect of the driving dynamics, including throttle response, suspension firmness and ride height. From a sporting standpoint, the Hybrid is the least engaging, though it counters with excellent fuel economy and an exceptionally quiet cabin.
The V8-powered Panamera is capable of incredible performance. Steering is precise and handling is comparable to that of much smaller sports cars. Power can be served up with muscle-car wallops or in measured increments. The PDK transmission fires off gearchanges with urgency when pedaling the accelerator hard, or with fluid transitions when cruising down the highway. Yes, the Porsche Panamera truly does deliver the best of both worlds: sports car and sedan.
Every 2012 Porsche Panamera comes standard with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and front knee airbags. Ceramic-composite brakes and a rearview camera are optional. With the standard brakes, both the Panamera 4S and Turbo models stopped from 60 mph in incredibly short distances: 109 feet and 112 feet, respectively.