In the realm of premium sports cars, Porsche takes a back seat to no one. But when it comes to back seats, Porsche isn’t the first marque that springs to mind. Every person geeked on cars knows that premium sedans with generously proportioned aft quarters hail from the likes of Rolls-Royce, Mercedes, Audi, Jaguar, and BMW. Porsche builds light, agile two-passenger sports cars, right?
Well, you can hold the dachshund-on-wheels quips and the 911-stretch-limo jokes. Porsche is making a tidy profit selling its five-door, four-seat Panamera luxury sedan. Meaning buyers, particularly in China, which is now the Panamera’s largest market, don’t seem to mind the big Porsche’s proportions at all. With its 911-inspired nose and tail, the Panamera stands out in a sea of sedan sameness. Together with the once equally unlikely Cayenne SUV, the two products handily outsell Porsche’s 911, Boxster, and Cayman sports cars worldwide.
|Porsche Panamera GTS||Porsche Panamera 4S|
Originally introduced for the 2010 model year, the 2014 Panamera receives a mid-cycle freshening, which is thorough enough that Porsche has decided to dub the car Panamera II. (We will refrain from using this naming scheme, however.) If you thought the Ford F-150 came in every nuance and flavor under the sun, the 2014 Panamera lineup has likewise ballooned—to nine models available in two wheelbases and powered by five different engines. There are some appearance updates—a more-teardropesque shape to the headlamps, bigger nostrils in the front fascia, a flatter liftgate window, lower mounting for the rear license plate, and revised taillamps—but you’d have to be a Panamerologist to notice without the previous-year car alongside for reference.
Likewise, the well-tailored cabin carries forward the upscale feel. It’s surprisingly roomy, with ample leg- and headroom in all four seating positions, even in the standard-wheelbase version. Your six-foot-two author had no trouble fitting in the back when the driver’s seat was set to his preferences. But the big news for 2014 is the addition of two stretched Executive models. These add another 5.9 inches of wheelbase—all of which is dedicated to the rear seats, which move fore-and-aft and recline, with optional fold-down picnic tables. (Porsche appears to have declined to match the 2014 Mercedes S-class’s nearly horizontally reclining seats with hot-stone massage, as well as its fragrance dispenser.)