Those who want a bigger 911 will more than likely drive home in Porsche’s best-selling Cayenne. And who can blame them? It shows up the Panamera as not being nearly family friendly enough by having just two rear seats.
But you can now buy a 2010 Panamera for just over £30,000. That seems like rather good value for money compared with a 911 from the same year; that’s going to be just under £40,000. So by my backward Bangernomics reasoning, you will get a lot more Porsche for your money. However, if you want to transport more than four occupants, you really do have to shop around for an alternative, high-performance luxo-barge.
The Audi A8 is always my default choice for barging, especially as there are S8, quattro and diesel options. However, rather than take that route, there’s one model I haven’t mentioned much, because they have taken a while to become affordable: the A7.
Audi may call it a Sportback, but we know it is an executive hatch in the mould of a Rover SD1. It isn’t as interesting as the mangy old Rover, but it is bigger, more practical and probably, at £12,995, cheaper than the appreciating classic. It would have a 3.0 TDI engine and you will have every possible extra and an eye-popping colour display if you find an SE. Most seem to be a more solid £15,000, and an S line is going to be £18,000-plus.
I looked at a Lexus with a reclining and massaging rear relaxation package, but that meant there were only two rear seats, and the price was even more off-putting. A 2009 LS 600h is the sort of vehicle that gives hybrids a good name. The thing is that you know it’s going to be reliable. Everything is pretty much standard, with all the usual luxury ingredients, and don’t be fobbed off by A 2010 Porsche Panamera can be had for just over £30k the thought of just four seats. Push up the tech-laden armrest and sit on the hump, or stick a child seat there.
The Honda Legend is now long gone from new car showrooms but is still around in large enough numbers second-hand to be tempting. A 2009 3.5i VTEC at £6495 doesn’t seem half bad and is slightly more interesting to look at than the original giant Accords. The Legend is cheaper and rarer than a Lexus LS and there’s lots of rear room.
I’ve only scratched the luxo-barge surface here and this is very much my favourite area of the car market. I’ll be returning soon and won’t care much about child seat friendliness.