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Stretching It

Porsche's Panamera sedan gets a little nip-and-tuck.

private-elegant-rear-enjo
Although the Panamera is best enjoyed from the driver's seat, rear passengers are treated to elegant, private jet-like accommodations.

By the Numbers
Sticker  •  $123,875 (as tested)
Under the Hood  • 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6
Curb Weight  •  4,586 lbs.
Horsepower  •  420 hp
Torque  •  385 lb-ft.
0-to-60  •  4.9 seconds

In automotive parlance, the term “facelift” refers to the nip-and-tuck revisions manufacturers make in order to refresh a vehicle until an all-new version is trotted out. And so, four years into its life, Porsche’s Panamera sedan has gone under the proverbial knife for a handful of exterior updates, including revised front sheet metal and headlights. Too bad the design doctors at Porsche botched the operation.

It’s not that the new tweaks don’t look good. Rather, it’s like one of those sad medical mishaps in which doctors operate on the wrong part of the patient. You see, the Panamera never needed a facelift; what it has always needed was the automotive equivalent of a butt lift.

In its effort to bestow classic cues from its 911 sports car on a four-door sedan, Porsche saddled the Panamera with something resembling a cross between a hunchback and a bubble butt. The good news, however, is that this remains the only real knock against the Panamera. It is still brilliant to drive – and a veritable cash cow for Porsche, which now sells more four-doors (Panamera sedans and Cayenne SUVs) worldwide than its bread-and-butter sports cars.

There is much to love within the 2014 Panamera’s revised front end. Gone is the naturally aspirated 4.8-liter V8 that previously powered the S and 4S models. In its place is an all-new twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 offering more punch and better fuel economy. Having spent time recently in a dark blue 2014 Panamera S, let me say that the V8 will not be missed. The relative lightness, responsiveness and potency of this six-cylinder only enhance this sedan’s already unparalleled sports car feel.

The Panamera family has also grown. It now encompasses 11 variations on nine different models. The most noteworthy addition is the parallel plug-in Panamera S E-Hybrid, capable of running independently on gasoline or electric power, or both combined. The other big news is the addition of a stretched Executive model, boasting nearly six additional inches of rear seat space. Although the last thing the Panamera needed was further extrusion of its hind quarters, this would likely be forgiven from the comfy confines of the Executive’s deeply reclining rear seats.



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