The odds were stacked against the Panamera at the time of launch: elements of the national press didn’t know what to make of it (The Times called it “unquestionably the ugliest” Porsche.
A look at AM sister title CAR’s website reveals less than favourable remarks. “A completely pointless car, trying to please too many and succeeding in pleasing none,” says one user.
But a cat’s whisker short of a year since the Panamera first went on sale, Porsche has revealed it has built 25,000, proving that despite the worst recession for a generation a premium manufacturer can launch into a new segment and succeed against the odds with a car that ranges in prices from £61,461 for the 3.6 V6 to an eye-watering £100,788 for the 4.8 V8 turbo PDK.
The PDK stands for Porsche DoppelKupplungsgetriebe, a double-clutch transmission available as a £2,388 option with the S model and standard on the 4S and Turbo.
Each derivative in the range comes with full leather interior, Porsche active suspension management (PASM), bi-xenon headlights, rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche communication management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls and a Bluetooth telephone module – complete with cordless handset for use by rear seat passengers.
The upsell opportunities are considerable in scope and value. The options list runs to more than 140 options – including 16 special paint choices costing £761 – priced from £48 for a leather key pouch to £5,349 for Porsche ceramic composite brakes. And if a saloon from Porsche wasn’t a surprise enough, news has come out of plans to introduce a hybrid next year.
Rivals: BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class