2012 Porsche Panamera Review
This review was written when the 2012 Porsche Panamera was new.
The 2012 Porsche Panamera offers exceptional performance and luxury. Still, its styling is divisive, and the Panamera’s price can skyrocket quickly with options.
If you’re looking for a luxury sedan that’s a veritable Jack of all trades, Porsche may not be the first automaker that comes to mind. However, test drivers remain impressed with the 2012 Porsche Panamera’s versatility. “Porsche is aiming for the sporty side of the luxury-car market, and Panamera hits the mark,” writes Consumer Guide. “This 4-door hatchback also scores points for its cargo versatility and passenger room and comfort.”
Interior comfort is expected of all super luxury cars, but since the Panamera bears the Porsche name, it’s also expected to deliver performance. It doesn’t disappoint. Reviewers note that the Panamera is as nimble a sedan as you’ll likely find. V8 models offer an edge in acceleration, but the base V6 Panamera has a handling edge, thanks to its lighter weight.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle the Panamera has to overcome is its polarizing exterior styling. Although its steep roofline and hatchback body improve cargo capacity and passenger space, those design cues add up to an oddly-proportioned exterior that some reviewers don’t like. Additionally, the Panamera’s long options list can make an already expensive car even pricier.
Other Cars to Consider
Rival cars like the BMW 7-Series and Audi A8 have one distinct advantage over the Panamera: Each offers space for five passengers, while the Panamera only has room for four. The base 7-Series is less expensive and more powerful than the base Panamera, but has a smaller trunk and a less attractive interior.
Although you’ll pay a little more for the Audi A8, it packs in more standard features. You’ll lose the Panamera’s comfortable rear seats and additional cargo space, but gain all-wheel drive and a more powerful base engine. Additionally, test drivers generally agree that Audi interiors are among the best in the business.
Porsche Panamera: The Details
For 2012, the Porsche Panamera is available in multiple trims. This review covers the V6-powered Panamera and Panamera 4, as well as the V8-powered Panamera S and 4S. The Panamera S Hybrid is reviewed separately. An automated manual transmission routes power to the rear wheels in base and Panamera S models. Panamera 4 and 4S models use the same transmission, but also feature all-wheel drive. See the full 2012 Porsche Panamera specs.
- "The secret is that under its somewhat polarizing exterior, the Panamera is an excellent luxury car." -- Automobile Magazine
- "With most other cars, luxury and performance are either mutually exclusive or require compromises on each end of the spectrum. Not so with the Panamera, as the wizards at Porsche somehow blended the best of both worlds." -- Edmunds
- "For someone who really cares about back-road romps, the V-6 Panamera makes a compelling alternative to more conventional sedans like the similarly priced Audi A8 and BMW 7-series." -- Car and Driver
- "The new, entry-level Panamera is essentially the same car as the S and it, too, is a joy to drive. You give up some raw speed but not much else, and the base model may handle a tiny bit better than the S because it's slightly lighter." -- BusinessWeek