Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars
2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Greg Wilson

Celebrities and diplomats the world over have a sporty new ride:  the long wheelbase Porsche Panamera models – the 2014 Porsche Panamera 4S Executive ($143,600), Panamera Turbo Executive ($184,100) and Panamera Turbo S Executive ($229,100) – with extra rear legroom and luxury features designed to appeal to business executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities, diplomats, and politicians who prefer the comfort, prestige and safety of a chauffeur-driven automobile.

Porsche expects most Panamera Executive models to be sold to customers in emerging markets like China, Russia and the Middle East, but about 10 percent of its customers will be in North America.  Not necessarily executives perhaps, but owners who just want the biggest friggin’ Porsche there is!

With a wheelbase stretched by 150 mm (5.9 in.) – most of it behind the central B pillar – Panamera Executive models provide an extra 120 mm (4.7 in.) of rear legroom for two rear-seat passengers. Open the long and surprisingly lightweight aluminum rear doors, and you’re greeted by brushed aluminum door sills with the word ‘Executive’ tastefully inscribed.   Step over the raised door sills and settle comfortably into one of the two well-bolstered rear bucket seats that offer individual power recline, fore-aft, height and lumbar adjustments, and are heated and cooled for winter and summer comfort.

Should the right rear passenger need even more legroom, there are rear controls for moving the (unoccupied) right front passenger seat all the way forwards.

Dividing the rear seats is a tall centre console with separate controls for automatic climate control and seat heaters, a storage bin with a sliding cover, cupholders and removable ashtray, a lockable centre glove box with a vent for air conditioning, a 120-volt outlet, and rear storage area with a pass-through to the trunk.

Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars
2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive. Click image to enlarge

Executive models also include two additional reading lights in the rear, illuminated door storage pockets, power sliding sunshades on the side windows and rear window, illuminated fold-down vanity mirrors in the ceiling, and thermally-insulated window glass to reduce outside noises.

Curiously, there are no rear audio controls, video screens or auxiliary/USB jacks for music devices but remember, these rear seats aren’t intended for teenagers: the privileged rear occupants can just ask their chauffeur to turn up the Panamera Turbo’s standard 585-watt 14-speaker Bose audio system; or they can listen to their own personal music streamed wirelessly from their Bluetooth smartphone or tablet.

Things aren’t too shabby in the front seats either.  Both driver and front passenger seats have supremely supportive bucket seats with power adjustments for height, recline and lumbar and 3-stage heating and cooling.  Behind the beautiful leather-wrapped, electric tilt/telescopic steering wheel is a five-gauge cluster that tells you everything you need to know about the car’s current status:  the traditional centre tachometer incorporates a digital speedometer and transmission gear indicator, and is flanked by an analog 350 km/h speedometer, oil pressure and oil temperature gauges, a round colour screen that can be scrolled between different functions such as navigation map, trip computer with average fuel consumption readout, audio, and tire pressure monitoring system.  On the far right is a coolant temperature gauge and fuel gauge, the latter a bit small for easy viewing in my opinion.

The Panamera’s tall centre console is busy with buttons mainly because it includes some controls that would normally be found on the instrument panel, such as separate driver and passenger controls for temperature, ventilation and fan speed, and seat heater controls.  Further down the centre console are buttons for the Sport and Sport Plus driving modes (more about these later), shock absorber settings, air suspension height, stability control off, auto start/stop off, forward collision warning off, and power rear sunshade.

Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars Test Drive: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive car test drives porsche luxury cars
2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive. Click image to enlarge

In the centre of the instrument panel, the Panamera’s colour touchscreen is operated by a combination of large on-screen buttons and traditional buttons just below the screen.  Audio, phone, navigation, vehicle information, and sound functions can all be accessed on this touchscreen, which requires a firm push with your finger to activate functions but is generally easy to use.  USB, auxiliary, and 12-volt powerpoints for external devices are found under the centre armrest.

Though unusual for an executive limo, the Panamera’s hatchback body style does offer the advantage of a large hatch opening and split, fold-down rear seatbacks in case the owner needs to transport a newly-acquired Louis XVI antique chair across town.  The hatch is power operated and the cargo area, though sandwiched between the wheel wells, is nicely finished with two side bins and an aluminum scuff plate.

Cargo capacity is 432 L (15.2 cu. ft.) and 1,248 L (44.1 cu. ft.) with both rear seats folded down.  Under the cargo floor is a Bose stereo amplifier and a tire inflator kit – but no spare tire.




About Greg Wilson

Greg Wilson is a Vancouver-based automotive journalist and contributor to Autos.ca. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC).