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Larger than Life

The 2010 Porsche Panamera Turbo isn't just a stunning new high-performance four-door- it's a sleek, rip-snorting challenge to the very concept of the luxury sedan.

Author Mike Guy

Image – Transtock

IT IS SAID THAT when the first European explorers came over the horizon in the Caribbean, the geometry of masts and sails and the sheer bulk of the approaching wooden hulls were so alien to the eyes of the native population that many of them simply couldn’t process what they were seeing. That’s how I feel when I first encounter the 2010 Porsche Panamera Turbo in a garage full of equally luxurious cars. With its classic spoon-front grille and super-low profile, the Panamera is unmistakably a Porsche, but at first glance, there’s just too much of it. That’s because it’s a sedan, an unheard-of configuration for an automaker famous for making racy little coupes.

When I step inside and see the perfectly arrayed cockpit, I’m comforted. More so when, on the narrow strip of highway between Jacksonville and Daytona Beach, Florida, I get to take her out for a spin. Driven properly, a Porsche should be an intense experience. The Panamera Turbo comes equipped with a turbocharged 4.8-liter V-8 engine that grinds out 500 horsepower, a seven-speed double-clutch transmission with paddle shifters and a multistage active spoiler on the tail that raises automatically as the vehicle speeds up. Outfitted thus, the Panamera goes zero to 60 in under four seconds.

This lithe new European arrival is surprisingly roomy, but like those early Spanish conquistadores, it’s not exactly family-friendly. If you’re looking for a roomy daily driver and money isn’t an issue, this may be a perfect selection. But think twice before putting babyseats in the back.

The Turbo’s top speed is said to be 188 mph. We advise against testing that data.

Massive 14.2–inch disc brakes improve on Porsche’s legendary stopping power.

At more than 16 feet long, it’s got three inches on the comparable Mercedes CLS 63.

The spoiler sits flush with the body until 56 mph, when it extends automatically.

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