Porsche is placing a big bet on its Panamera lineup and just knocked some $15,000 off the price of entry, compared to its existing S, 4S, and Turbo cars. Prices for the two new Panamera “budget” models now start at $74,400.
They will arrive in U.S. showrooms in June 2010. If you want to see one before that, the world debut will be at the Beijing Motor Show on April 23. They feature a new V6 with 300 bhp, 295 lb-ft of torque, and much improved fuel efficiency (30.4 mpg). One car will have standard rear-wheel drive; the Panamera 4 will have active all-wheel drive and cost $4,500 more. All U.S. cars will have the PDK double-clutch seven-speed gearbox standard.
I think it’s a smart move on the part of the Stuttgarters. As Alex Taylor wrote last December, the Turbo is just too much car for most people. Where can you drive it? What can “you do with a 4,300-pound vehicle that purportedly has a top speed of 188 miles per hour and carries a sticker price of $145,000?”
The new “entry-level” cars feature the same beautiful interiors, handling, and basically ugly styling as the up-market cars. Yes, you give up 100 bhp over the standard S car, but so what? If your thing is a luxury performance sedan, you won’t find a much better bargain than this.
Some have been wondering why Porsche didn’t use a version of the 911-type flat six boxer instead of the Cayenne-VW-derived V6. The answer has to be that the V6 is smoother and has better low-end torque. And it’s likely cheaper to produce. The engine promises to be a good stablemate to the V8-powered Panameras.
The company now has a full range of performance sedans to compete with anything BMW or Audi can offer.
Why would you or wouldn’t you be interested in owning this car? What do you think is its closest competition?