Like it or not, Porsche’s Panamera has been an unqualified success for the company, as sales have soared. Now the V8 models get some engineering tweaks for 2011, basically in the form of a more efficient regenerative braking system, tires with reduced rolling resistance, and lower CO2 emissions.
Buyers will also get new color choices, more interior options—and an optional “heated three-spoke steering wheel,” which continues from 2010. You know, many simply detest a cold wheel.
The V6 Panamera (shown above) will also become available this month (more on this after the jump). But the big news is that the V8 Pana has been the vehicle to rescue Porsche SE from some crushing debt and is selling like crazy, even as 911 sales have dropped 35 percent (13,137 cars) and Cayenne sales are down 23 percent (18,932 SUVs) from a year ago.
Not to mention the fact that Porsche just took top honors in the recent J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.
The company aims to sell 20,000 Panameras this year—not bad for a car priced from $93,800 (the 4S model) to $132,600 (the Turbo). And not bad for a car that many in the auto media (ourselves included) hooted down as an ugly-duckling, out-of-the-tradition offering that made Porsche look stupid.
After some rather more welcoming media (ourselves included), the V6s finally arrive in showrooms this month. Called the Panamera and Panamera 4 (for its all-wheel drive), they will be priced at $74,400 and $78,900 respectively.
That, we submit, will be perceived as a bargain, particularly since these cars will have all the standard goodies of the V8s, plus most of the options and upgrades. Yes, you give up the extra 100 hp of the V8 (the V6 has 300 hp and 295 lb/ft of torque), but the new versions can still get to 60 mph in 6 seconds, with better fuel economy, and buyers will save some big bucks.
Do you traditionalists out there still think Porsche is making a bad move with the Panamera—now in a V6 version? Tell us why.