I was taken off guard by the roominess in the rear seats – headroom and legroom are exemplary. There are two very comfortable, heated and well-bolstered bucket seats, They’re separated by a narrow console where you’ll find a small storage bin.

Somehow, and this is hard to explain, it feels as though sitting in the back of the Panamera involves you in the driving experience. It sounds nebulous, but try it sometime and see for yourself.

My kids were very happy in the back – well, two of them were. I was happy that I never had to take all three. One time when I did, the trunk worked well for that.

2013 Porsche Panamera GTS2013 Porsche Panamera GTS2013 Porsche Panamera GTS
2013 Porsche Panamera GTS. Click image to enlarge

Speaking of the trunk, the cargo space beneath the enormous rear hatch isn’t negligible at 445 L, but it’s not huge either. Should you need more, you can easily flip the rear seats down, and you’re looking at 1,263 L of room.

How seriously do the Germans take their smoking? You get an ashtray and a cigarette lighter in the front, and an ashtray in each rear door. Smoke it up, Hans!

Porsche is a brand that speaks volumes. It means a lot of things to a lot of people. Once you’ve driven one – ANY Porsche – you simply can’t argue with its ability to transcend so much of what seems to hold mortal vehicles back. Porsche is somehow able to infuse even large sedans with a sense of sport, a nod to their heritage, and an ability to make you smile.

The Panamera GTS is a premium sedan that brings individual styling to the table and adds incredible performance to superb creature comforts. Stability at any speed is a given. I can’t imagine anyone taking a Panamera for a drive, be it a luxurious jaunt or a hot lap, and stepping out of it to tell you it wasn’t good. Because it is. It is a great car.

2013 Porsche Panamera GTS
2013 Porsche Panamera GTS. Click image to enlarge

Would I buy this car? For this money, probably not. You could buy a nice 911 and a nice SUV for this price, and get the best of both worlds. But people considering a Panamera GTS aren’t weighing those options. This is the car they want.

WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) was out of this world. She absolutely loved the Panamera. She loved the styling. She loved how it felt inside. She loved the ride. She loved the trunk. She loved that it was a Porsche. She loved the looks she got from soccer moms. She hated when I kicked her out.

I loved the feeling of exclusivity I got when I stepped into the Panamera. I loved that many things feel as though Porsche needs to go above and beyond. Not because they want to beat out the competition. But because it is who they are. An example? How about the nine (9!) windshield washer nozzles?

I loved driving the Panamera. I loved the looks it got from knowing enthusiasts, from uninformed but curious and appreciative onlookers and even the head-shakes from a couple of crusty Porsche air-cooled hardliners who probably felt that I was riding the Carmine Red horse of the Auto-pocalypse.

Fear not, hardliners. This isn’t the end.

This is a showcase of what Porsche can do. And it is good.

2013 Porsche Panamera GTS
2013 Porsche Panamera GTS. Click image to enlarge

Pricing: 2013 Porsche Panamera GTS
Base price (of specific trim): $126,700
Options: $3,590 Carmine Red Paint, $3940 Carmine Interior Package, $610 rear heated seats, $690 ParkAssist, $1650 BOSE system, $860 satellite radio, $2280 carbon interior, $340 SportDesign steering wheel, $1590 SportDesign painted side skirts, $3860 Sport Wheels, $850 brushed aluminum gear selector
Freight: $1,115
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $148,175

Crash test results
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

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