Car of the Year 2014: Porsche Panamera Turbo
Porsche was the only brand with two horses in the 2014 Car of the Year competition, and the Panamera Turbo placed immediately behind the sporty Cayman S. The cars’ adjacent finishes speak to the judges’ acceptance of the 520 hp sedan as a bona fide Porsche.
As if to emphasize that the Panamera, though capable of serving as a family wagon, is still a driver’s car, Porsche restyled the silhouette for the 2014 model year, making it appear less frumpy by giving the rear lift gate a longer fly line and flatter, wider glass. Like the Cayenne SUV, the Panamera, which was introduced five years ago, still prompts hand-wringing among Porsche devotees, who worry that the brand’s integrity has been compromised. Our judges expressed no such concerns, perhaps because they have seen so many Panameras on the road that they have grown comfortable with the notion of a Porsche sedan. Porsche has produced more than 100,000 examples of the Panamera since its launch, and it was the company’s third-best-selling model behind the Cayenne and 911 last year. These sales figures also help to explain why the Turbo is one of eight current Panamera variants.
Our judges were surprised by how well the car handled through challenging corners and how quickly it accelerated (zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds) on the long straightaways of the Silverado Trail. “It’s a sedan that handles like a sports car,” said judge Jeff Maggioncalda. “I couldn’t believe there was so much car behind me.”
Configuration: All-wheel-drive sedan
Engine: 4.8-liter twin-turbocharged V-8
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automated manual
Power: 520 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 516 ft lbs at 2,250 rpm
Curb weight: 4,343 pounds
Zero to 60 mph: 3.9 seconds
Top speed: 189 mph
Base price: $141,000