There was a time, in the mid-1990s, when Porsche was down to just two models in its lineup. This decade the company is showing new energy, coming out with an SUV, a new sports car, and now a hatchback sedan. The Panamera represents a new and potentially lucrative direction for Porsche as it competes with big luxury sedans from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.
The Panamera is uniquely styled, and some would say ugly. But after spending a week with the car, it grew on us. The front end is unmistakably Porsche design, whereas the rear hatch shows graceful curves. The only part that seems out of proportion is the stretched roofline over the cabin.
We found the front and rear seating areas spacious enough, although the Panamera does not have the cabin proportions for a chauffeur-driven car. Access to the rear seat is slightly compromised by the door sill's shape.