Car of the Year 2010: No. 8 Porsche Panamera Turbo

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Peerlessly Bipolar

No one can accuse Porsche of not thinking out of the 911 box when it comes to packaging four sausage-fed Stuttgarters into a sedan worthy of the equine crest. Porsche acolytes either love the Panamera or hate it, though the majority falls into the latter camp. Indeed, the first Porsche sedan elicited from our judges more virulent remarks than has any car of late. No doubt the vehicle suffered from those prejudices that arise from lifelong 911 love affairs and the manufacturer’s previous forays into front-engined territory. Still, Porsche’s Frankenstein-like creation offers performance that challenges the world’s best sport sedans. Luggage capacity is not commodious, but for continental cruising, the Panamera has few peers. —Robert Ross

The Unpretty Porsche

While manufacturers such as Lamborghini and Bugatti have been busy teasing consumers with coupelike sport-sedan concepts, Porsche has sold or taken orders for more than 10,000 Panameras worldwide. Unfortunately, a number of this year’s judges failed to forgive Porsche for stirring it up in the style department, and those that did still felt a bit slighted by the rear-seat legroom. These quibbles were left behind, however, once our judges pressed the throttle: The Panamera Turbo had no difficulty justifying its designation. Despite its controversial exterior, the four-door Panamera is a serious sports car. More importantly, it is a bona fide Porsche. —Paul Meyers

[ SPECIFICATIONS ] Configuration Front-engine, all-wheel-drive sedan engine 4.8-liter turbocharged V-8 transmission 7-speed automated manual Power 500 hp at 6,000 rpm Torque 568 ft lbs at 4,500 rpm (sport package) Curb Weight 4,343 pounds Zero to 60 3.8 seconds (sport package) Top Speed 188 mph Base Price $132,600 Porsche, www.porsche.com

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