>>It's the other car they said Porsche would never build. A four door hatchback, the Panamera. So, while we wait for Ferrari to launch a minivan, let's jump in this guy and check the tech.
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You know everyone told me Panamera looks better in person and everyone lied. This is not a pretty car, I'm sorry. Now, the color scheme is not doing it any favors, candy apple green over infant barf beige but even silver over black this thing would still look like Porsche gave George Barris a 911 and said go make a cooky custom that looks pregnant and he did. Let's get inside. Now, I got to tell you I love what Porsche has done with the interior layout. This is some really fresh thinking. This kind of rising center console here with a little bit stylized and a lot of but very useful buttons and look around the cabin, this is a big deal with this car, four full sporting buckets. This is part of Porsche's thing saying this is truly a sport's car with four seats which we'll have to figure out.
Let's get down to the technology now. The car comes standard with a hard drive based navigation system and you could look at different views. We have the 3D bird's eye there. I can also switch that to your standard plan view and then that can also be echoed in this very 007-ish round display to right of the tachometer. We have an optional media interface, you're going to hear me say a optional a lot on this car, that gives us a standard aux, a USB jack and a proprietary connector for this pigtail that goes to in this case an iPod and another male USB for other devices. Now, let's say you want better audio, go for the Bose 5.1 surround. We have that in this car. That bumps the power to 585 watts, gives you 14 speakers, 9 discrete channels of amplification. If you really want to go nuts get the Burmester audio system for about $6,000. I hadn't heard of these guys before. I'm probably butchering their name but it's German high-end audio.
Now, put this guy in reverse and let's see our rearview camera. Oh, that's right we forgot to get that option added. Yes, it's a $94,000 car and you have to add the rearview camera. We do have sensors. Those were optional, too. Now, all of these 4S Panameras come with a sport mode right here. If you bump it up to a little more aggressive level optionally, you get Sport Plus as the Chrono Package, there's the Chrono up there on the dash. This button here is interesting, a little nod to efficiency. This is the auto off thing that a lot of Europeans are doing now. If you want the engine to stop when you come to a red light or a stop sign, you leave this thing engaged, in other words turn that off and this thing will turn off when you stop, then you lift off the break pad it will restart the engine. You know, it's kind of hybrid greenie weenie stuff and, of course, there's the chronograph as part of the Sport Chrono Package because, you know, you're going to take your four door hatchback to the track a lot. Give me a break. Oh, while we're talking about silly, check out the key. Shaped like a little Panamera with a great big hood emblem.
Now, back to the thing you have to deal with is the, oh sweet Jesus, it's got a hatchback moment. Yeah, it sure does but behind there not bad. It will hold a lot like you probably could park a 911 back there or enough cash to gas up your Cayenne once. Now, being an S car you've got a 4.8 liter V8 in this guy naturally aspirated. This one's got 400 horsepower, 369 foot pounds of torque which even in this day and age are pretty stout numbers. Zero to 60 happens in 4.8 seconds, pretty good for a big boy. Four point 6 if you get that Sport Chrono Package because that adds some launch control. You can really hammer it off the line. MPG's pretty good, 16/24 and the emission numbers are alright, too, five and five for greenhouse gas and CO2 on a scale of 10.
Okay, so 4.8 liters and 400 horsepower and four driven wheels and two clutches later, what is the Panamera drive like? Well, this 4S drives real well. You got to remember you're in a longish four door sedan that doesn't feel like it's got as much wheel base as it appears from the outside. I'm not forgiving it for being ugly but when you're sitting up here in front, you don't look at the stuff behind you or outside and it feels like you're driving a 911 you can pickup folks in. That's pretty cool. Power comes on for days and this PDK when you're pressing the car is great. It's around town where things get a little annoying. It has a habit of being a little janky when you're in downtown traffic, coming to starts and stops and it kind of goes cajonk when it disengages sometimes. It's not a problem, it's just ineloquent. Where it is a problem is on some of the hills here in San Francisco trying to start from a stop on a steep upward grade and for some reason this thing sometimes forgets it has gears. I'm not the first reviewer who has had that problem so they got something to iron out in that situation.
A Panamera 4S starts at almost $95,000 then to get it CNET style you'll be optioning for days, USB aux iPod is $440, keyless access $1,100, parking sensors $600, rearview camera $650 on top of them. The Bose audio is $1,440 but the Burmester audio system is $5,700 and that's just a small slice of the options available. Unfortunately, one of them is not different sheet metal.