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Four doors and eight bores !

How's that for fun?


RISHAD SAAM MEHTA | New Delhi, July 29, 2011 19:48
Tags : Porsche | new model Panamera | Porsche Cayenne |Land Rover Discovery |four-seater luxury Grand Tourer |Porsche Doppelkupplung | Porsche Centres in Ahmedabad | Chandigarh | Chennai | Hyderabad | Kochi | Mumbai and New Delhi |

Instant seduction. That is what it was, the moment I turned the key and the V8 engine roared to life with a throaty exhaust burble and an automatic blip of the throttle.

The feel of the ergonomic leather seats, the way the flat bottomed and chunky steering wheel set in my hands, and the sight of the muscular, characteristic Porsche curves up front, left me in no doubt that the 4806cc, 400bhp engine was capable of doling out some serious performance. And, the multi-meter instrument cluster and the cellular phone-keys like switches flanking the gear selector all spoke of the clever electronic brains that would further aid and enhance the driving pleasure. Strapped into the driver’s seat, the Panamera had sufficiently charmed me to forgive this four-seater Porsche’s  hulking rear end.

The Porsche Panamera, which is Porsche’s first four-door, four-seater luxury Grand Tourer, dwarfs the 911 and is 3mm wider than the Cayenne. In fact at 1931mm wide it takes up more road space than a Land Rover Discovery. But don’t for a moment think that these dimensions suggest cumbersomeness. This is a not a luxury car with a big engine plonked into the bonnet. Sportiness is its very core. Porsche has cleverly trimmed the lard to keep the weight down. The window frames are made of magnesium alloy. The engine which is based on the one from the Porsche Cayenne has been made lighter by using a magnesium valve cover, magnesium cam adjusters and aluminium bolts on magnesium components.

There is a new oil sump which allows the engine to be mounted lower and hence lowers the car’s centre of gravity which is the lowest in its class of four door Grand Tourers. When I buried my foot down into the carpet, the Panamera responded like a well behaved missile, its automatic seven speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) gearbox moving across ratios rapidly and seamlessly, propelling the car to a 160kph before I had finished veering from the outermost to the innermost lane of the expressway. This car will continue, unflustered, to more than 272kph if unchecked.

But, it is on the twisting roads that the Panamera makes you desire it. Its nimbleness and agility through the bends belies its size and weight. All through curvaceous corners and hairpin bends, the Panamera thrilled and brought joy. I could eagerly attack corners and quickly pull out of them thanks to the PDK auto box doing its job well.  While the drivers seat is undoubtedly the best place to be in this car, the rear seats are well designed too and would even keep a six-footer comfortable.

However, four adults going on a grand driving tour will have to be light packers because the 445 litre boot space is not very generous.  The PDK Panamera also features the Auto Stop Start function which no doubt increases fuel economy but sometimes is quite exasperating. It makes the engine stop when the car is at rest and the brake pedal pressed. Of course, the electronic brain in the car figures when it is inappropriate to stop the engine (when on a slope for example) but at other times it does not.

So at a roundabout if you stop with your leg on the brake to give another driver right of way and then want to enter the roundabout quickly, there is a very slight pause before the engine switches on and you can start moving, but it’s not quite as quick as you would want it to be. Fortunately, there is yet another switch to turn the Auto Stop Start function off and I promptly did just that.

Its 100-litre fuel tank could give you a range of 900km if you drive sedately but a more practical estimate is just shy of 700km. You can buy the Panamera from the Porsche Centres in Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kochi, Mumbai and New Delhi for 1.54 crores  (ex-showroom, Mumbai for the Panamera 4s). It packs loads of appeal and comes without the restriction of just a single passenger. The  Panamera is truly an  exciting family Grand Tourer and owning one will make you want to regularly undertake those thousand kilometre driving holidays.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017