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.
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.