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    Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

     

    Finally did test drive the Panamera turbo now (I know that I am a bit late...).

    As the A8 W12 (short wheel base, i.e. same suspension setup as in the S8) used to be my personal benchmark for performance oriented but still luxurious limousines I drove the Panamera back-to-back with the A8 W12.

    In summary, I would argue that Porsche has managed to establish a new benchmark for performance oriented luxury cars. The Panamera excels in terms of steering feel and precision, stability (heavy braking etc.) and - very significantly - handling. I am impressed. The car has clearly some of the genes of the 997. Driving it fast through tighter bends gives you a little bit of 997 feeling. Not comparable to the rather heavy and clumsy feel of the A8 at all.

    In summary, here are some observations:

    - Seats are very low, nice feel, the rear is a bit difficult to enter though

    - Engine sound is nearly inaudible, the W12 has the much smoother engine and also a nicer sound; the S8 (i.e. the V10 engine) is very (!) much more audible than the Panamera

    - Great throttle response (in particular in Sports mode)

    - The Burmester Sound System is the new benchmark; the B&O is not as good as the Burmester in terms of neutrality; low frequences are even more convincing in case of the Burmester, mids and highs are on a similar level. The Burmester is probably even better in terms of locating single sounds ("Ortbarkeit") which surprised me most

    - PDK works just perfectly - not comparable to BMW's DKG in any regard. PDK in this car has no major flaws

    - Engine power is OK, you can feel that the acceleration is better than in the W12. Still, above 200kph the car cannot do miracles either

    - The steering feels synthetic if compared to the steering of a GT2 or GT3 - however, compared to the Audi the Panamera is in another world: Excellent directness, nice feed-back

    - The suspension is great, comfortable enough in comfort or sport mode, quite stiff in Sport Plus

    - The setup is clearly in another world as the Audi's: the car has such a nice balance (rear feels much heavier than in case of the A8), very limited understeer (for a car of that size and weight!), a nice "play" between neutral and oversteer in tight bends, clear tendency for oversteer under throttle, agile, quick - perfect  The best limousine setup I know. Even the M3 on cup tires (!) feels less precise

    - The car is absolutely stable if the brakes are applied strongly, compared to the Audi the difference could not be larger - vertical body movements are very limited in case of the Panamera, which clearly brings stability

    - The overall drive feel of this car is clearly a major step from the Audi A8/S8 towards a Porsche 997. The Panamera turbo is quite fun to drive  SmileySmileySmiley

     


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Thanks for your report, it was one of the few I have been the most looking for! 


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Better late than never! Great report!

    I haven't driven the A8 so it was very informative the comparisonInterestingly a friend of mine has a S8 and he didn't like the Panamera because the seating position was too low, and its was ugly. I told him that he needs to take it for a spin to judge it  but I can see how not everyone in this car segment will appreciate the Panamera's strong points.


    --


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Smiley

    Absolutely true. I have to admit that the Panamera turbo is simply the superior car (for sporty drivers) compared to W12 and S8. As time goes on technology gets better and better Smiley 


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    MKSGR:

    Smiley

    Absolutely true. I have to admit that the Panamera turbo is simply the superior car (for sporty drivers) compared to W12 and S8. As time goes on technology gets better and better Smiley 


    Markus,

    Your report is indeed very good one. BUT, also a very subjective one.

    This time I do not fully agree with you about Pana Turbo. Why? Because average A8/S8, 7er, S-class buyer is looking at different things then the one Pana Turbo is focused about.

    Drive dynamics, great PDK and awsome acceleration are not key areas for those buyers. Great ride quality, smooth gearbox at low speed and good trunk size are. Also, look wise car in this class needs to look incognito...

    A person that I know choose new 750i over Pana S because:"...750i is more comfortable, offers better trunk size, gearbox much smoother at low speed, cheaper with full options and NOBODY will notice me... I a want a sportscar I would buy 911!" Hmm...

    IMHO Panamers is excellent technical achivement. Just, I do not know for what kind of buyer?

     


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    KresoF1:  .....  and NOBODY will notice me... I a want a sportscar I would buy 911!" Hmm...

    IMHO Panamers is excellent technical achivement. Just, I do not know for what kind of buyer?

     

    I think there are major cultural differences across different market areas regarding "incognito" expensive cars.

    In places where it is OK to be noticed, the Panamera is very appealing.  In cultures that are more envy sensitive, not so much.

    And, there's a second twist operating in the USA concerning Porsche.  Here, Porsche is regarded in a different way than Ferrari or Bentley, Rolls, etc.  Porsche is seen as a car maker for those that appreciate technology and mechanical refinement, whereas the other makes above are regarded more like expensive jewelry.

    At the same price point, a Porsche does not generate the same level of envy from USA neighbors that a Ferrari, Bentley, etc. does.  There is almost no difference among any of the German makes on the envy meter here.


    --

    Mike

    2005 Carrera GT - Signal Yellow + 2008 Tesla Roadster - Thunder Gray +1972 BMW 3.0 CSi - Nachtblau +2009 Bentley Arnage T - Black Saphire


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    KresoF1 is making an interesting point here. My local Porsche dealer has the same problem: actually no BMW 7series or Mercedes S-class owner actually wants to buy the Panamera, there aren't requests from the owners of the mentioned competition limos.

    I like the Panamera Turbo (and ONLY the Turbo) a lot but due to the current envy problem in Germany and due to the, in my opinion, horrendous price tag, this is no car for me, I will pass on it.

    Right now I'm (again) leaning forward to a BMW X5M rather than Cayenne Turbo for various reasons but I wouldn't want to turn my back on Porsche, simply because I LOVE the brand and their products.

    Difficult decision. IF I would live in the US and IF I had the money, I would definetely go for the Panamera (or a pimped-out bullet-proof Escalade ).


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor 997 Turbo, Cayenne Turbo S, BMW M3 Cab DKG, Mini Cooper S JCW


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    KresoF1:
    MKSGR:

    Smiley

    Absolutely true. I have to admit that the Panamera turbo is simply the superior car (for sporty drivers) compared to W12 and S8. As time goes on technology gets better and better Smiley 


    Markus,

    Your report is indeed very good one. BUT, also a very subjective one.

    This time I do not fully agree with you about Pana Turbo. Why? Because average A8/S8, 7er, S-class buyer is looking at different things then the one Pana Turbo is focused about.

    Drive dynamics, great PDK and awsome acceleration are not key areas for those buyers. Great ride quality, smooth gearbox at low speed and good trunk size are. Also, look wise car in this class needs to look incognito...

    A person that I know choose new 750i over Pana S because:"...750i is more comfortable, offers better trunk size, gearbox much smoother at low speed, cheaper with full options and NOBODY will notice me... I a want a sportscar I would buy 911!" Hmm...

    IMHO Panamers is excellent technical achivement. Just, I do not know for what kind of buyer?

     

    Kreso, I think with the Panamera Porsche intends to target the limousine buyer that is very much focused on driver involvement. Same target group as in case of S8 or A8 W12 SWB, S63 or the coming "sport" versions of 7 series or new A8/A7. I have no clue how large this segment for driver oriented performance limousines actually is but given the number of current and planned products in this sector it might be an attractive segment.

    I agree with you that the typical limousine buyer (regular S class, 7 series etc) will most likely consider the Panamera as "too stiff, direct, sporty". The Panamera is for those few who are interested in very sporty limousine - and who are willing to pay Porsche's asking price.


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    RC:

    KresoF1 is making an interesting point here. My local Porsche dealer has the same problem: actually no BMW 7series or Mercedes S-class owner actually wants to buy the Panamera, there aren't requests from the owners of the mentioned competition limos.

    I like the Panamera Turbo (and ONLY the Turbo) a lot but due to the current envy problem in Germany and due to the, in my opinion, horrendous price tag, this is no car for me, I will pass on it.

    Right now I'm (again) leaning forward to a BMW X5M rather than Cayenne Turbo for various reasons but I wouldn't want to turn my back on Porsche, simply because I LOVE the brand and their products.

    Difficult decision. IF I would live in the US and IF I had the money, I would definetely go for the Panamera (or a pimped-out bullet-proof Escalade ).

     

    Agreed, the Audi is much less flashy. But then - a new 7 series or S class probably has a similar impact on the social environment as the Panamera Smiley


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    MKSGR:

    Agreed, the Audi is much less flashy. But then - a new 7 series or S class probably has a similar impact on the social environment as the Panamera Smiley

     

    According to my experience, not really. People are apparently very p.ss.d at SUVs, the media has done a marvelous job influencing public opinion.

    What is funny though (actually not that funny but interesting): people love SUVs, they like how they look, they love their spacious interior and they love the higher driving position. This is why crossovers and small "SUVs" have success right now over here in Germany. I can see tons of VW Tiguan, Audi Q5, BMW X3, etc. on the streets, nobody seems to care. However when a Cayenne shows up, the end of the world has come. Smiley Smiley

    Porsche URGENTLY needs to correct and improve the public perception of the Cayenne, otherwise the new generation Cayenne will be a dead fish in the (german) water.


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor 997 Turbo, Cayenne Turbo S, BMW M3 Cab DKG, Mini Cooper S JCW


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    RC:
    However when a Cayenne shows up, the end of the world has come. Smiley Smiley


    Sad but true. Smiley


    --

    The secret of life is to admire without desiring.


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    100% agree.
    Nevertheless, by my experience its better to drive an SUV unlike Porsche.
    forex. a BMW x5 or ML.
    The X5 is a well established SUV, mostly with diesel engines.
    Therefore I'm in the market for the X5M or Panamera alternative.
    But as the Pana is a Porsche, the BMW has great chance to win...Smiley


    --
    Kind regards, Conny 
    More pics:
    http://www.dayboox.com/group/Connys%20Galerie
     

    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Today I brought my daugther to her school in a BMW X6M testcar, the car is carbon (?) black.

    A mother of one of my daugther's classmates came over to me when I exited the car and congratulated me for getting such a beautiful new car...and added immediately that she is glad (!) we got rid of that fuel eating monster and environmentally unfriendly Cayenne of ours

    I told her that the car I just exited has a 555 HP engine, eats up at least the same amount of fuel and that I still have the Cayenne. I was really p.ss.d.

    She looked at me like as if I just stabbed her in the back, turned around to her kid and didn't even say good-bye.

    Talking about public perception...

    Btw: the X6M is really impressive, I get a lot of attention with it but apparently always in a very positive way. The engine/exhaust note unfortunately really sucks but I like the very direct feel of the steering. The X6M definetely feels "lighter" than my Cayenne Turbo S first gen. but of course it is also the newer car. Lets see what Porsche has to say about this with the next Cayenne generation.

    One thing is for sure: if Porsche doesn't succeed to turn around public perception of the Cayenne, even the next generation will sell very very hard in Germany.

    The Panamera Turbo still attracts me most, especially from a performance point of view but due to its horrendous price tag and the gigantic appearance, I'm afraid I'm going to stick with a SUV.

    My wife and me talked this through and maybe our next car pool will look this way:

    1. BMW X5M (maybe X6M if I get a good deal, my wife likes the X6 more) as the family car

    2. Porsche 991 Cab (most likely the Carrera with not so much options) with PDK as a "fun" car for me and my wife

    I can't afford to own three Porsche anymore, sad but true. Unless of course I win the lottery...or somebody here in the forum "donates" a GT3 or GT3 RS (my favorite Porsche models right now).


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor 997 Turbo, Cayenne Turbo S, BMW M3 Cab DKG, Mini Cooper S JCW


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    RC:

    One thing is for sure: if Porsche doesn't succeed to turn around public perception of the Cayenne, even the next generation will sell very very hard in Germany.


     

    How has this enmity against Cayenne began in Germany? I find this German mentality very weird as this car is no more or no less "offensive" than any other premium SUV in the market Smiley.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us!


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts

    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    reginos:

    How has this enmity against Cayenne began in Germany? I find this German mentality very weird as this car is no more or no less "offensive" than any other premium SUV in the market Smiley.

    Perhaps you can enlighten us!

     

    I think it started for two reasons: german AutoBILD published an article about the fuel consumption of the Cayenne Turbo, officially declaring it to be the most "dirty" car on the planet.

    Then, Greenpeace started some sort of protest against the Cayenne. It somehow backfired in the press because Porsche was prepared but the word was out and the public always kept in mind that the Cayenne is THE dirtiest car on this planet (which of course isn't true but you know how the media can brainwash the masses).

    After the fuel prices hit new heights in 2008, the public was even more furious with the Cayenne because, according to some articles and comments in the german media, the Cayenne (and alike but unfortunately the media very seldom used the brand and model of "alike") was eating up the world fuel reserves, resulting in rising fuel prices.

    Meaning: the Cayenne and ONLY the Cayenne is to blame for global warming and rising fuel prices. Smiley Sounds stupid? Well, it IS stupid because it isn't true, not even a bit but the public believes what the media tells them. Best example is the "swine flue" vaccination here in Germany. 

    Believe it or not but the media influences people's minds even more than religion.


    --

    RC (Germany) - Rennteam Editor 997 Turbo, Cayenne Turbo S, BMW M3 Cab DKG, Mini Cooper S JCW


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Thanks RC, what you say sounds like a plausible explanation.

    On a different note I had the chance today (when I went to the OPC to fit the black wheels to my car) to drive a Panamera 4S.

    It looked very nice inside and out in Yachting blue with a 2 colour interior and very well made.

    I rode first as a front seat passenger. It was very comfortable in all PASM suspension modes (no air suspension) but you could feel the acceleration and the car's movement. So it isn't a 100% comfort limousine in this respect. The basic ride was very acceptable to a BMW driver but not S class standard.

    When I was given the car to drive my observations are as follows:

    1. Very good driving position. The plethora of buttons will be no problem after a couple of days with the car.
    2. Very good and smooth PDK operation in both modes(no Sport chrono, so only 2 modes) contrary to other reports here and in some magazines. More smooth than the 997.
    3. Isolated from the outside (noise, engine noise etc) but not to the extent to make it like a boring clinical car. IMO Porsche has hit the right balance.
    4. Strong engine. 200+km/h reached without trying at all. Due to the smoothness and the relative silence of the car you can cruise at higher speeds than the 997 without any special concentration.
    5. Handling was very safe predictable and somewhat entertaining but it can be caught out in roundabouts and tighter S type of bends. However, light years ahead of the Mercedes and older 7 BMW (the current one I don't know). I wonder how different the 2WD model is?
    6. Overall a very good performance saloon but no substitute for a 911 Carrera or better a 911 Turbo. It is for the performance oriented owner/driver who needs the space and comfort for long distances and the limousine image.

     


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    I also had the chance to drive a full spec (luxury config, €45k in optional equipment...) Panamera 4S. It had all the tech goodies (even TV) but no PDCC, Sport Chrono nor PCCB.

    Well, I have to admit that the car has made a great impression on me. Driving position in a truly Porsche way, smotth ride (very confortable with the air suspension), luxury feeling like no other car I've driven. Performance was enough for Spain (a shame we cannot drive at full throtle on hghways...) and handling was quite good for a car of its size when pushed on flat curves.

    But...

    a) Didn't like AT ALL the air suspension. Whilst firm on compression, it was too soft on extension. Went to a small fast section of highway that I call "my little Nurburgring" (because of its camber, downhill and uphill profile) and the car was loose on suspension extension. Guess the air cannot hold the car like a good spring setup. It reminded me of a good old Citroen CX...

    b) The trunk is way too small for its size. Why Porsche couldn't squeeze five cms on height to make the trunk a decent capacity one its beyond my understanding.

    c) Being a four seater is a no-sense. A five seat option should be available for those customers with this need (OK, no four sport seats, but I would care to have a single rear seat for three).

    d) The test car had the Burmeister sound system. A complete waist for an iPod/USB input source IMO. Guess that one could only appreciate it with Dolby 5.1 DVD disks. And what about the stupid aluminium speaker frames that reflect on the front shield??? Cannot believe Porsche didn't cure this defect.

    In summary, a very good car. It's a shame it is at 8/10 and Porsche didn't go the last mile to round the final product.


    --

    997 GT3 RS


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    People will always be critical of unique products and people--it's the herd phenomenon.  If you like a Cayenne, get another one in the future.

    From a different point of view, when I was driving in Germany for two weeks in the spring,  It seemed that every car was a black Audi or BMW--SUVs, sedans, wagons.  I was proud of my Cayenne being apart from the conforming herd.  You are a talented car enthusiast RC, go for it and forget about others' views...


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    It is interesting to learn that the German media is so powerful.

    Not so much in Canada, we don't tend to listen to what our government and media have to say.

    Don't feel bad if the new Cayenne won't sell in Germany, as North America is its major market.  Besides VW can just stick a VW badge on and sells tons of it. 

     


    --

    Tim

    2010 997.2 GT3RS, January build

    2008 Cayenne Turbo

    2006 911 Club Coupe #13

    2006 BMW 530xi


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Targa Tim:

    Don't feel bad if the new Cayenne won't sell in Germany, as North America is its major market.  Besides VW can just stick a VW badge on and sells tons of it. 

    Yeh, maybe they could call it the VW Touareg?  Smiley Smiley

    Smiley


    --

    fritz


    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    Mikla:

    a) Didn't like AT ALL the air suspension. Whilst firm on compression, it was too soft on extension. Went to a small fast section of highway that I call "my little Nurburgring" (because of its camber, downhill and uphill profile) and the car was loose on suspension extension. Guess the air cannot hold the car like a good spring setup. It reminded me of a good old Citroen CX...


    The car I drove had the steel suspension with PASM dampers á lá Carrera. It has 3 settings (normal, sport and sport plus) instead of 2 in the sportscars and for my estimation it worked well.

    I believe that if you get the optional air suspension it's recommendable to also get the PDCC (also optional) to have the complete effect.


    --
    It's not where you're going, it's how you get there that counts

    Re: Driving Impressions: Panamera turbo vs, A8 W12 (S8)

    reginos:
    Mikla:

    a) Didn't like AT ALL the air suspension. Whilst firm on compression, it was too soft on extension. Went to a small fast section of highway that I call "my little Nurburgring" (because of its camber, downhill and uphill profile) and the car was loose on suspension extension. Guess the air cannot hold the car like a good spring setup. It reminded me of a good old Citroen CX...


    The car I drove had the steel suspension with PASM dampers á lá Carrera. It has 3 settings (normal, sport and sport plus) instead of 2 in the sportscars and for my estimation it worked well.

    I believe that if you get the optional air suspension it's recommendable to also get the PDCC (also optional) to have the complete effect.

    Agree, but It wouldn't still fix the extension feeling. It also happened in my former Cayenne S with PASM. 


    --

    997 GT3 RS


     
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