Perhaps to recognize the fact that China is becoming a world leader in terms of automobile markets (and industry in general), Porsche premiered a very unique addition to its lineup in the country at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show: the Porsche Panamera sedan. Yes, that's correct. It's not what you would traditionally think of when you think of a Porsche model. The luxurious four-door, full-size Panamera sedan is a game-changing vehicle for the luxury automaker, and it's available in an amazing eight different model types this year: the standard Panamera, the Panamera S, the Panamera 4 and 4S, (S being the sportier variant of both), the powerful Panamera GTS, the Panamera S Hybrid, and the Panamera Turbo and Turbo S. There is also a diesel version of the Panamera available in several European countries- but not in the U.S., which has yet to accept the engine type for most cars.
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Like the Porsche 911 Carrera model, the Porsche Panamera derives its name from the famous Carrera Panamericana race, which was a border-to-border sports car race in Mexico that took place on open roads. It was held from 1950-1954 and is generally regarded as the most dangerous race to ever take place. The Panamera sedan directly competes as a high-performing alternative to such luxury vehicles as the Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and BMW 7-Series sedans, but it really competes with such vehicles as the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.
The Panamera appeals to consumers beyond usual Porsche enthusiasts, and after review, we have to note that it's a very family-friendly option from Porsche, unlike its speedy 911 coupes, which are only suitable for a driver and one passenger. Also, unlike the Porsche 911, which usually features a rather sparse interior because it's dedicated to being powerful and fast, the Porsche Panamera is well-equipped with a sumptuous, luxurious interior that keeps its passengers feeling comfortable and stylish.
In our review, we find the 2012 Porsche Panamera 4 (which is identical to the base Panamera- except that it features an all-wheel-drivetrain instead of the standard rear-wheel-drive) to be an excellent alternative to traditional Porsche models, and with a starting price of only $79,800, it's a very cost-efficient luxury model. The Panamera is also a lot faster than traditional sedans, with a top track speed of 159 mph and a zero-to-sixty time of only 5.8 seconds due to its 3.6-liter V6 engine.