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Driven: V6 Porsche Panamera 4

2010-09-07 10:32
Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Porsche
Engine 3605 cm3 water-cooled six-cylinder V
Power 220 kW @ 6200 r/min
Torque 400 Nm @ 3750 r/min
Transmission seven-speed double-clutch gearbox
Zero To Hundred 6.3 seconds
Top Speed 259 km/h
Fuel Tank 80 litres
Fuel Consumption 9.3 l/100 km (combined)
Boot Size 445 – 1263 litres
ABS with standard Stability Management
Airbags driver and passenger front, side and knee airbags, curtain airbags all round
Tyres 245/50 ZR 18 (front); 275/45 ZR 18 (rear)
Front Suspension aluminium double-wishbone axle
Rear Suspension aluminium multi-arm axle with subframe

Hailey Philander

Panamera V6 video

Porsche’s four-door Panamera V8 and Panamera Turbo sports coupe range has been expanded with the addition of an “entry-level” V6.
The Porsche Panamera 4 is viewed by Porsche South Africa as “the ultimate business (woman’s) express”. And it certainly makes sense. The Panamera, though designed as a four-door, is as dynamic as any other Porsche, as comfortable as a limousine and as practical as a wagon.

Some critics have reviled the car for having less aesthetic greatness than the styling masterpiece 911, but those who drive them (and production of the car recently overshot the figure forecast, so there are quite a few) probably don’t care.

The Panamera just oozes class and while it may not be classically pretty, its proportions are classically Porsche – the roofline, shoulderline and fenders can all be identified on other cars born at the brand’s Zuffenhausen home. Also, as with all Porsches, nothing on the Panamera is superfluous or gimmicky, every component has a function and purpose. 

All-wheel drive

Sure, it’s a big car, but it certainly isn’t threatening or imposing. Furthermore, Panamera 4s are all-wheel drive, so you have the assurance of the extra traction this drive system affords when things get a little heated.

On the launch route stretching from Johannesburg’s northern suburbs to Mpumalanga’s White River, the 220 kW 3.6-litre V6 engine showed it is quick when needs be and perfectly docile at any other time. It has ample power without the screaming urgency of the bigger V8s launched in February, for instance. Top speed is at 259 km/h, and it’ll reach that too if you let it.

To take the hassle out of shifting through a six-speed manual ‘box on a car just short of five metres long, all local models are fitted with seven-speed PDK.

But just because this is the entry-level model, don’t think the V6 Panamera is not a dynamic masterpiece. Like the rest of the Porsche range, the default mode is Comfort, but Sport and Sport Plus buttons can be pressed to increase the sedan’s dynamism even more. It noticeably varied the PDK’s shift patterns and tightened the suspension for particularly exhilarating runs through a few of the passes along the way.

Porsche’s active suspension management (PASM) and Porsche dynamic chassis control including Porsche torque vectoring plus (PDCC and PTV Plus) are options for those requiring even more verve from their car.

Yet don’t accuse the Panamera’s creators of producing atmosphere-clogging, CO2-spewing sports cars – the V6 is claimed to deliver fuel consumption on the combined range at a rate of 9.1 l/100 km and release 213 g/km of carbon emissions into the air. However, don’t be put off by the carbon emissions tax introduced in South Africa on September 1 as pricing for all Porsche models remains unchanged as the company absorbs the tax. 

Auto stop-start

Keeping emissions down on the Panamera is a host of fuel-saving devices that include stop-start function, low rolling-resistance tyres and a low drag co-efficient. The auto stop-start system’s operation is dependent on various factors though, and won’t be turned off in high temperatures, when battery charge is low or when the Sport function is in use. When the system kicks in, at a set of traffic lights, for example, the engine quietly cuts out but quickly rumbles to life again when the brake pedal is released.

Weight-saving techniques include aluminium body panels and a six-cylinder engine that is 30 kg lighter than the V8.  

This car looks a little different, too, but you’d have to haul out your eagle-eye to spot the differences. The V8’s chromed side window surrounds are blacked out on the V6, oval twin tailpipes peep out from beneath the rear fender and 18-inch alloys round off the exterior package.

The Panamera’s leather-finished cabin has to be one of the best. Step inside for a particularly sumptuous experience as driver and front passenger are met by a two-column centre console that is a model of elegance with its chrome-rimmed buttons and simple appearance. Accommodation in the two rear seats is generous as well as being supremely comfortable.

Look beyond the badge to see just how much R780 000 will buy you in this segment. You get Porsche’s legendary ease of use, exquisite fit and finish and probably one of the better engineered six-cylinders around.

Decent enough for any business express, whether you wear the pants or not…

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