China is becoming a world leader in terms of automobile markets (and industry in general) and Porsche is well aware of that fact. Perhaps that's even why the luxury automaker premiered a very unique addition to its lineup in the country at the 2009 Shanghai Motor Show: the Porsche Panamera sedan. True, it's not what you would traditionally think of as a Porsche model, being that it's the brand's first full-size sedan in a long line of coupes, but it certainly holds its own. The luxurious four-door, full-size Panamera sedan is a much different Porsche than enthusiasts have previously seen, 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 yet in the U.S., which has yet to accept the engine type for smaller vehicles.
For this review, we'll focus on the 2012 Porsche Panamera 4S sedan. Much 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 took place from 1950-1954 and is usually regarded as the most treacherous race to ever take place. The Panamera sedan directly competes as a high-performing alternative to such luxury vehicles as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8,, and BMW 7-Series sedans, but it actually competes with such luxury sedanss as the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.
The Panamera appeals to many consumers-bypassing its usual Porsche enthusiasts. After review, we must note that it's a very family-friendly option from Porsche, unlike its speedy 911 coupes, which only hold a driver and one passenger. Also, unlike the Porsche 911, which usually features a rather sparse interior because it's dedicated to being fast and powerful, the Porsche Panamera is well-equipped with a luxurious interior that keeps its passengers feeling safe and stylish.
In our review, we find the 2012 Porsche Panamera 4S (which is very similar to the Panamera S except that it features an all-wheel-drivetrain instead of the standard rear-wheel-drive) to be a great alternative to traditional Porsche coupes, and with a starting price of $95,200, it's also a fairly cost-efficient luxury model. The Panamera 4S is also much quicker than traditional sedans, with a top track speed of 175 mph and a zero-to-sixty time of only 4.8 seconds due to its 4.8-liter V8 engine.