February 24, 2014
2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive. Click image to enlarge
It’s easy to forget that the Panamera Turbo Executive comes with standard all-wheel drive. You really don’t notice this rear-biased system at work on dry or wet pavement as it automatically compensates for any lack of traction at any wheel in combination with a suite of automatic safety systems including stability and traction control, ABS and brake assist. The car negotiates wet corners without any drama, due in no small part to our test car’s sticky Pirelli Sottozero 20-inch winter tires. They offered excellent grip in the wet, though we didn’t test them in the snow.
Curiously, the Panamera Turbo Executive comes with Trailer Stability Management to automatically compensate for trailer sway, but I can hardly imagine a Panamera owner towing an Airstream trailer!
Did I mention the Panamera’s mammoth brakes? Consumer Reports’ recent braking test of a Panamera S showed a 60 mph to 0 mph (96–0 km/h) braking distance of just 116 feet in the dry. Impressive.
The driver has good visibility out front over the low hood, and to the side thanks to the long side windows. But the rear window seems a bit small and the thick hatch frame creates a blind spot at the right rear corner. Our test car came with the optional rearview camera with Surround View: this provides six different views around the car: forward, rear, left, right and overhead views using small cameras placed around the car. This is very helpful when reversing or guiding the car into a narrow parking space.
In its conservative Dr. Jekyll mode, the Panamera Turbo Executive can be a very comfortable highway cruiser. Its long wheelbase, wide track and PASM active damping suspension provide excellent high-speed stability and a compliant ride. Cruising in top gear (in Normal Driving mode) at 100 km/h, the engine turns over just 1,300 rpm and can barely be heard. If it wasn’t for the considerable tire noise coming from the huge Pirelli Sottozero winter tires on our test car, the freeway ride would have been very quiet.
The Panamera’s standard auto-stop feature automatically turns off the engine while stopped at traffic lights and restarts it when the brake pedal is released. Unlike the 911 Cabriolet I tested earlier this year, the Panamera’s stop-start system is quite smooth in its operation. There’s no jerkiness or excess starter or engine noise, and I felt comfortable leaving it activated, although it can be defeated if desired. The auto-stop function works in Normal Driving mode, but is automatically deactivated in Sport and Sport Plus modes.
The typical owner of a Panamera Turbo Executive may not care too much about fuel economy, but we thought our test car’s average of 12.3 L/100 km was pretty reasonable for a 2,070-kg (4,500-lb) hatchback with a turbocharged 4.8L V8 engine. The official EPA numbers for this model are 15.7 city/9.8 hwy and 13.1 L/100 km combined (in US mpg: 15 city/24 hwy/18 combined). Though it’s heavier than the regular wheelbase Panamera Turbo, Porsche claims the Executive model offers the same fuel consumption.
Now the bad news: our 2014 Panamera Turbo Executive had an as-tested price of $204,965, which included $20,865 in options! While a lot of luxury features are standard: bi-xenon headlights, air suspension, Bose surround sound audio system, navigation with seven-inch touchscreen, trip computer, four-zone climate control, leather, power front and rear seats, and power liftgate – some features you’d expect to be standard are optional: Blind spot detection ($970), lane departure warning ($730), rearview camera with surround view and parking sensors ($1,720), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control ($5,710), and Power Steering Plus ($310), for example.
Still, the Panamera Turbo Executive’s price-tag may not be a big deal for its well-to-do owners who want a roomy executive sedan with above-average performance capabilities. They might even take it for a spin themselves!
Pricing: 2014 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive
Base price: $184,100
Options: $19,750 (20-inch 911 Turbo design alloy wheels $1,640; Adaptive Cruise Control $3,070; Lane Change Assist & Blind Spot Detection $970; Lane Departure Warning $730; LED headlights and Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus $2,440; Reversing Camera, ParkAssist, Surround View $1,720; Sport Chrono Package $2,910; Power Steering Plus $310; Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control with PTV+ $5,710; Online Services $250)
Freight charge: $1,115
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $205,065
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