• Don’t Like The Porsche Panamera? You’ve Got Other Spicy Options To Consider

Take a look at a couple German cars and one American that I think are better than the Panamera

So the new Porsche Panamera has finally been unveiled, and everybody from Porsche itself to official media outlets, are treating the car like it’s the best thing to come since the invention of toilet paper. In all reality, the car is pretty sweet in its own regard. It’s a fair evolution of the previous model, comes with a great sound system and that sweet retractable spoiler. Plus, who can argue with a 440-horsepower V-6 or a 550-horsepower V-8 or the fact that the car emerged dominate on the Nürburgring? Well, the fact’s may be there, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Panamera, in my opinion, looks like someone drove one Porsche 911 up the ass of another and called in a Panamera.

That might sound a little harsh, but take a look at the car as a whole. The rear end, minus a few little details here and there – like the overall shape of the fascia and the location of the exhaust outlets – looks like the rear end of a 911. So, I look at the Panamera like a four-door 911. I’m sure I’m not the only person out there that feels this way.

The new Panamera starts out at $99,900 for the 4S and $146,900 for the Turbo, which, for the “fastest luxury sedan on earth” doesn’t seem like a bad price. But, what if you’re like me and don’t want to spend your $100,000 or $150,000 on a car like the Panamera? There are certainly other options out there, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Facts

2018 Porsche Panamera High Resolution Exterior
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The new Panamera has a lot of 911 styling, and is, admittedly, more stylish and upscale than the outgoing model. The turbocharged, 2.9-liter V-6 delivers 440 horsepower, 405 pound-feet of torque, a 4.2 to 4.4-second 62-mph sprint, and a top speed of 180 mph. The Turbo with its turbocharged, 4.0-liter V-8 kicks things up a notch or two with 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque, a 3.6 to 3.8-second sprint to 62 mph, and a top speed of 190 mph.

As far as technology goes, both powerplants available in the Panamera have twin turbos that are mounted inside the vee of the cylinder banks, which cuts down how far the exhaust has to travel and practically eliminates turbo lag. Furthermore, the car has a new three-chamber adaptive air suspension system with active suspension management, torque vectoring, and dynamic chassis control, among other things. Also, both trim levels are offered with permanent all-wheel drive and an eight-speed PDK transmission. Aside from the look of the car, it’s really not a bad proposition for $100k or $150k. But, there are other options out there that you might want to consider.

Alternate Choices

Let’s be honest here, there aren’t exactly a lot of luxury sedans out there that can actually keep up with the Panamera in looks, power, or luxury, but there are a few. And, some of them, might net you more power for the buck.

Mercedes-AMG E63

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Exterior
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Mercedes’ entire lineup has been going under the knife lately, and we’re expecting to see a new E63 for the 2017 model year. To be clear, the model has yet to show its face without camo, but earlier this year, we saw the wagon version testing twice, and the Sedan was seen playing in the snow as well. Changes to come with the 2017 model year include an updated chassis, new engine, and revised interior, which will also make it quicker than before. For the 2016 model year, the E63 rocked a 5.5-liter V-8 that delivered 577 horsepower at 531 pound-feet of torque. It was enough to give the car a 3.5-second sprint to 60 mph with its top speed limited to 155 mph. For the 2017 model year, there should be some improvements in the department thanks to the lighter overall weight and new engine setup.

The power isn’t the only that that turns me on to the E63. The interior is quite luxurious as well. The E63 AMG for 2017 is expected to get the standard AMG treatment like a flat bottom steering wheel, racing seats, new instrument cluster, plenty of leather on the sports seats, and healthy doses of carbon fiber. With that said, I think the current model is equally as luxurious as the Panamera, so the next-gen model should be even better. The best part is, we’re expected the E63 to have a price somewhere in the $100,000 range since the current model is going for $101,700.

So look at it this way. You can spend $99,900 on a 440-horsepower Panamera 4S, or $146,900 on a Panamera Turbo. My choice is the E63, as you can spend right around $100,000 and get more horsepower and faster acceleration that the $146,000 Panamera Turbo. Save yourself about $40,000 and go with Merc. I certainly would.

Read our full review here.


2014 BMW M5 Exterior
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At this point, you’re probably thinking that I’m just going with other German competitors, but that’s not necessarily the case. In my book, the proof is in the pudding, and the BMW M5 surely gets some consideration from me before I shell out $100,000 for a luxury sedan. When it comes to the M5, Bimmer, like Mercedes, is a little far behind Porsche as far as making an official debut. In fact, the only recent spy shots we’ve seen of the upcoming M5 was the current model testing the xDrive system that has been confirmed for the next-gen model. Don’t get it twisted, though; we saw the next-gen test mules as early as mid-2015. With that said, the M5 will also be available with all-wheel drive, just like the Panamera – and things start to get juicy.

As is the usual case with next-gen models, we’re expecting the next M5 to shed a little weight and maybe even get a bump in power. The current model, which went through an update for the 2014 model year, features a 4.4-liter V-8 that delivers 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque. With a curb weight of 4,354 to 4,387 pounds, that is enough to send the M5 to the 60-mph benchmark in 4.2 seconds with a limited top speed of 155 mph. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the Panamera 4S makes the 62-mph sprint in 4.4 seconds or 4.2 with the Sport Chrono Package. Of course, the M5 can’t exactly keep up with the Panamera Turbo and its 3.6- to 3.8-second 62-mph sprint, but it does still have ten extra ponies to brag about. Outside of that, the current M5 goes for $94,100 as of the time of this writing. That means it’s not only faster than the Panamera 4S, but it’s also $5,800 cheaper than it too. For a minor drop in overall performance, the M5 also rubs me as a good proposition to the Panamera Turbo – I’d happily add a couple tenths of a second to my sprint time to save $50,000.

The one downside to the M5 is that I don’t think the current model is quite as luxurious as the interior of the Panamera. It’s got all the right features and materials; I just think the layout could be a little better. Then again, the next-gen M5 might debut with an improved interior as well. The Panamera hits dealers in November of this year, so hopefully Bimmer will get the next-gen M5 ready by then.

Read our full review here.

Cadillac CTS-V

2016 Cadillac CTS-V High Resolution Exterior
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First off, throwing a Cadillac in here proves that I’m not just focused on German-built works of art, but on overall value and performance as well. First off, let me start by saying that the CTS-V has come a long way in its short life. Originally boasting a mediocre 400 horses, the CTS-V now packs one hell of a punch with 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of torque from a 6.2-liter V-8 under the hood. Now, I normally give GM a lot of crap for how shotty its interiors can be, but when it comes to the CTS-V, Cadillac knew it had the Germans in its crosshairs, so it went above and beyond. Complete with 20-way adjustable, heated, and ventilated performance-oriented front seats, lots of soft-touch surfaces, and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster display with V-series graphics and full-color heads-up display. The outside features sporty styling cues that were heavily improved for the 2016 model year and, in my opinion, looks much better than that of the Panamera.

That 6.2-liter and its 640 horsepower is enough to rocket this luxury sports sedan to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 200 mph. By the way, the Cadillac is American, so there is no German speed limited to keep you pinned at 155 mph. Unfortunately, the CTS-V doesn’t come with a manual transmission as of yet. For now, you’re stuck with GM’s 8L90 eight-speed automatic, but Cadillac does do you the courtesy of adding on paddle shifters. According to Cadillac, the Performance Algorithm Shifting system makes the 8L90 as fast as any dual-clutch transmission. I can’t exactly vouch for that, but it sounds pretty good.

At the end of the day, the CTS-V stacks up pretty well against the Panamera. It’s got 200 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque more than the Panamera 4S and 90 horsepower and 73 pound-feet of torque more than the Panamera Turbo. Furthermore, it blows the doors off the 4S any way you look at it, and it falls right in line with the Panamera Turbo while still beating it on top speed by ten mph. Here’s the best part of it all: The CTS-V is equipped just as well as all the other models listed here, including the Panamera, and it commands a significantly lower price. You can get into a 2016 model for as little as $83,995. You might not be rocking the same status as you would if you were driving the Porsche, Merc, or Bimmer, but you’ll probably beat them down the line most of the time and still have an extra $20,000 in your pocket.

Read our full review here.


2018 Porsche Panamera High Resolution Exterior
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After going through all of this, it’s only fair to admit that I stacked the deck a little on this one. I couldn’t not compare the Panamera to a couple of German models and, since I’m a fan of GM, I had to put Porsche in its place with the CTS-V. All the models I’ve listed here feature similar creature comforts, amenities, and are just as luxurious as the Panamera, but they come with more power, quicker acceleration, and at a lower price. In most cases, you can get the same power offered in the Turbo for the price of the 4S. Of course, none of these models feature that cool responsive wing that the Panamera has, but to save a hefty chunk of change, it might be worth giving up.

Right now, Porsche is claiming that the Panamera is the fastest luxury sedan on earth. But, what if that is because none of these models have had the right driver run a lap on the Nürburgring? I suspect BMW and Mercedes will have their next-gen models in dealers around the same time as the Panamera, but even if it takes an extra month or two, it would be worth waiting to save the kind of cheddar we’re talking about here.

That said, I want to see the Merc, Bimmer, and Cadillac all run next to the Panamera and then we’ll see which is truly the fastest luxury sedan on earth. Some of the others might not be quite as nimble as the Panamera, but I still hold out hope for them all. In fact, my money is on the Cadillac. Not because it has considerably more power with a way lower price, but because Cadillac is often underrated in the luxury segment and, with the right man behind the wheel, I think the Caddy might just put the Germans to shame. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topspeed.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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