I have been in the car hacking game for a while now, almost 20 years. I have seen numerous trends rise and fall, highs and lows of the market, and everything in between… But the one thing I have noticed in the last few years is that more and more people want to hack “family cars”, and not as many want gargantuan SUV’s, which leads one to wonder: what is the best sedan out there for the money?
It could just be the Porsche Panamera. Not only is this car beautiful in its own right, but it also handles spectacularly and is reliable enough to keep as a daily, but notable enough to still be a head-turner when you pull into the carpool lane.
Though enjoyed widely today by car hackers and retail consumers alike, when the Panamera first made her debut in 2009, Porsche “purists” were not impressed. They responded the same way to the release of the Cayenne years earlier, thinking that Porsche was devaluing their name to cater to the masses when the brand should remain true to the racing and exclusive heritage it was founded on. A similar mindset we see Ferrari having today as it has remained silent in the wake of exotic SUV’s like the Rolls Royce’s Cullinan, Lamborghini’s Urus, and Bentley’s Bentayga.
The Panamera was a massive stray away from the tried and true 911 Carrera. Rather than a lightweight, two-door, rear-engine sports car, the Panamera boasts a full-size sedan body weighing in at nearly 4,000 pounds, with four doors and a front-mounted engine. Its design, however, looks as if someone took a 911 and stretched it in length – giving way to a very spacious interior stocked with luxurious leather and modern technology to make driving the sedan both comfortable and convenient.
First brought into production in 2010 the Panamera came out with five trims to fit the needs of any driver: the base, the S, the 4, the 4S, and the Turbo. The Panamera base and Panamera 4 are powered by 3.0 liter and 3.6-liter v6 engines (respectively) and produce just under 300 horsepower. The Panamera S, 4S, and Turbo (twin-turbo) are all 4.8-liter V8 engines that produce just shy of 500 horsepower. The Turbo version is perhaps the most hackable out of the bunch, designed with active aerodynamics with a multi-stage adjustable rear spoiler, option Sports Chrono Package that features the Sports Plus option which helps the car to drive and handle more like the 911.
In 2011, Porsche released the Panamera S Hybrid 3.0 V6 supercharged), Diesel (3.0 V6 turbo diesel), Turbo S (4.8 V8 twin-turbo), and GTS (4.8 V8) variants to the lineup.
This many variations may seem like overkill, however, it enables drivers of all types/markets to own and enjoy a Panamera that best suits their individual needs, creating a larger and more versatile audience all across the globe.
I am a huge fan of Porsche. I enjoy the way they drive, I enjoy the culture around them, and I enjoy the luxurious yet racey feel they offer no matter if you’re in a Cayenne, a GT3RS, or a Panamera.
The car itself is tailored to create an easy-going driving experience for the one behind the wheel while allowing the passengers to be comfortable in whatever seat they choose (just remember there is no middle in the back seat – she is a true 4 door, 4 seater).
With a simple and easy to use LCD display right in the middle, the center console is still riddled with buttons all the way up and down for the driver to just the driving mode, temperature, seat position, traction control, suspension, and lift.
The dash display is a simple one that graces Porsches up and down it’s line, holding the gauges for oil temp, speed, RPM, and fuel all right in the direct eyeline of the driver. PDK paddles sit behind the steering wheel, tempting the more fun-loving of us to take her out of automatic and give the kids something to smile about on the way to school.
In terms of handling, if the BMW M5 is “too stiff” and the Audi RS7 is “too soft” the Panamera Turbo is “just right”. I am not telling you to take the Panamera out on the track and see if she can hang with the rest of the race cars, but I am telling you that if you need to take a sharp turn because you missed an exit on the high way, she can handle it.
Porsche Panamera Common Problems
Any car that has been around for nearly a decade and that is committed to being a daily driver for any and all types of people will, of course, be known to have some common problems.
Luckily though, being a decade old, these common problems have common solutions that most mechanics know how to solve.
Engine Overheating: Many Panamera owners experience problems with their engines overheating, even in very low mileage vehicles. Often, a warning light on the dashboard is a leading indicator.
High Oil Consumption: This isn’t so much a “problem” as a headache for some Panamera owners… the amount of oil consumed by their automobiles is high. The amounts reported have been as high as a quart every1000 miles. Do not be alarmed if your low oil light comes on. Just keep a quart in the trunk at all times and you’ll be fine.
Swaying when turning: Swaying while negotiating turns or uneven terrain is a major safety hazard encountered by some Panamera owners while driving.
Failed Front Air Suspension Strut: Many Panamera drivers report discovering their vehicles’ air suspension struts have failed while parking their cars overnight.
Mirror Adjustment Problems: Sudden failure of the automatic mirror adjustment has been reported by some Panamera owners.
A dozen or so recalls are also assigned to the Panamera throughout it’s years and trims of production. All open recalls are listed here for you to review. Remember if you are looking to purchase a Panamera be sure to question the dealer/private owner as to whether the recall that affects your year/trim has been completed.
Porsche Panamera Cost of Ownership/Maintenance
Panamera’s down the line come with Porsche’s standard 4 year/50,000 mi basic and 4 year/50,000 mi powertrain warranty.
Porsche seems to be a brand that many seem to want to take “to the dealer” to get it serviced. Now while I agree, maybe this is the case for a GT2RS or a 918, it is certainly not the case for a Panamera.
This car is mostly used as a daily driver by its owners, which means it will most likely need an oil change and maybe tires in your time of ownership. Oil changes at the Porsche dealer can run you around $500-$600 all said and done. That is insanity. Why would you pay that much just to have routine service done when you can go to a trusted independent shop and have it done for less than $250 (most expensive example, could be subject to change)?
This is one of those times where hacking a car comes into play. Because even if you get a phenomenal deal on one of these bad boys, but you spend thousands at a Porsche dealer getting tires/oil/spark plugs/ brakes done, you just lost your entire margin on costs that would be 60% less somewhere else that could do them JUST AS WELL.
Porsche Panamera Model Year Changes
1st Generation 970 (2010-2016)
In 2013 Porsche announced that all existing trims of the Panamera would be getting a facelift. This can be noted by the new front and rear bumpers and updated interfaces. During this year there was also an announcement of the Panamera S/E-Hybrid model, and a Turbo S model scheduled to begin production in 2014. Long Wheel Base models were also announced in this year but only for the 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S models.
2nd Generation 971 (2017-current)
The second generation of the beloved sedan was announced in June of 2016. This generation would be all together longer, wider, and taller than the first.
Porsche seems to listen to its critics. Doing away with the “hatch wagon” styling of the first generation and making the new line more aligned with the sporty feel that seems to encompass the brand. You can see these with the newly designed front and rear bumpers headlights, and the taillights of the car truly carrying on the 911 look.
The interior would also be updated with a redesigned center layout that featured touch-sensitive surfaces rather than buttons throughout the center console. Full LCD screens now grace the Panamera, both the center console and the dashboard. All manual gauges now fully digital right behind the newly designed steering wheel.
The engine of course got some modifications done to it too, in the Turbo, the 4L twin-turbo V8 can make 550 horsepower and 567 pounds of torque…or if you want to go green, you can turn of the valves, and make her a four-cylinder to reduce fuel consumption. On the 4S, the last generations’ engine is completely replaced with a new turbo 3L V6 that pushes 440 horsepower and 405 pounds of torque.
Porsche Panamera Options
As you can see from what is written above, the Panamera quite literally comes in all shapes and sizes, with different packages and options depending upon the trim you are most interested in.
Below I have placed a link to a site where you can compare different trims of the Panamera while also looking at different years and the specs that are exclusive to those years/trims.
Click here to give it a look.
Best Porsche Panamera To Buy
In terms of hackability, coming into the 2020 year, we have found that the 2015 Panamera is the best year to get into from a strictly dollar standpoint. It has depreciated enough with time to bring the dollar down to where only miles and conditions can affect the price any more.
You are also probably wondering, out of the ten trims which we recommend. There are three that hold their value in the car hacking model and they are the GTS, the Turbo, and the Turbo S. These are the trims you will want to go for if you are looking at getting into a Panamera, even if you go for a few years older or newer.
Porsche… there truly is no substitute. If you are looking for a four-door daily that allows you to go incognito to Target, while still getting you nods of approval when you pull into the office, then the Panamera may just be the car for you. This car is enjoyable to sit in traffic with, while also fun on an open road in spot mode. With the time it has on the market, plus the desire it has from enthusiasts, its a wonderful hack that someone can daily drive.