The center of the Panamera's body structure is steel, helping with rigidity, while the front frame sections, front double-wishbone suspension components, rear subframe and multilink suspension, hood, doors and hatch are aluminum, which reduces excess weight. In all, the S weighs in at just 3,968 pounds--well under the Maserati Quattroporte or Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG--and weight at extreme ends of the chassis has been eliminated, giving excellent handling characteristics.
Five models are available: The base model comes in both rear-wheel and all-wheel form, S and the all-wheel drive 4S and Turbo. The base models are powered by a 3.6L V6. The S and 4S are powered by Porsche's 32-valve 4.8L V8, which makes 400 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque. The S models has a top speed of 175 mph and provides a 0-60 time of just 5.2 seconds. The 4S shares the same 175 mph top speed, but the addition of all wheel drive drops the 0-60 time to 4.8 seconds. The Turbo makes 500 horses, which Porsche claims allows it to sprint to 60 in just 4 seconds flat on its way to a 188 mph top speed.
All Panameras receive an updated version of Porsche's PDK 7-speed automatic, which has been given two main shafts rather than the three offered in the 911, allowing the unit to fit in a more narrow transmission tunnel and freeing up interior space. The 7-speed is optional on all rear-wheel drive Panameras and standard on all the all-wheel drive models. All models receive a stop-start system, which stops the engine when the car comes to a complete stop to save fuel. Once the brake is released, the engine is automatically restarted.
An available air suspension system allows control of the car's spring rate with the flip of a switch, automatically lowering the car's ride height. Porsche's Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) is also available, which de-couples the chassis' stabilizer bars when running in a straight line to increase ride quality, then automatically reengaging them in the corners for increased control. Several levels are selectable with a switch mounted on the dash. Porsche also offers a ceramic brake upgrade (PCCB), which reduces unsprung weight while also significantly improving braking performance.
The Panamera's interior features a liberal use of woodgrain, leather and brushed aluminum. The louvers on the air vents, the sunvisors, the interior mirror and front and rear consoles all available in leather trim. 18-way adjustable leather front seats and 8-way adjustable rears are standard, as well as a host of power options.
The Panamera is available for customization through Porsche's Exclusive & Tequipment service, offering an array of high-end options including a rear seat cooling box in the center console, which keeps drinks chilled and includes Porsche-crested glasses.
Rear seat entertainment is also available, which includes dual 7-inch flatscreen monitors mounted in the front seats' headrests, as well as individual DVD players and cordless headphones. Each side comes with a USB interface as well as several AV inputs.