Proof the Panamera is the Porsche few want to dance with comes with the news that £30,000 is all you need for a mint, low-mileage 2010-reg 4.8 S with all the trimmings. You’ll be lucky to bag an older but honest 2007-reg 911 (997) 3.8 Carrera S for the same money.
No surprises there. The 911 is widely regarded as a real Porsche whereas some see the Panamera as the product of a bloodless decision to unseat rivals in the hot saloon sector, albeit a job it achieved with moderate success, looking at the number of tax- friendly 3.0-litre diesel Panameras now clogging the classifieds.
Diesels are wise buys. What they lack in petrol pizzazz they make up for with sledgehammer torque, generating 406lb ft of the stuff, perfect for fuel-efficient wafting and the occasional overtake. It’s a reliable lump too. Against the backdrop of a downturn in demand for diesels, you can chip away at asking prices. Being former company cars, many have full service histories and, judging by the quantity of low-milers, most went no farther than the train station. You’ll easily get into a 2012 diesel for our notional £30k.
This is a 365bhp, rear-drive sports saloon with something to prove. Let’s see...
The Panamera was launched in 2009. Initially, engines were petrols: 292bhp 3.6 V6, 390bhp 4.8 V8 S and 486bhp 4.8 V8 Turbo. They were joined in 2011 by the 418bhp V8 GTS, 535bhp Turbo S and 370bhp 3.0 V6 supercharged Hybrid S. The 247bhp 3.0 V6 diesel (a tough Audi unit found in the Porsche Cayenne) also arrived.
Four-wheel drive was an option but standard on the Turbo. The rare GTS is worth looking out for thanks to its tweaked, naturally aspirated 4.8 V8 and sports suspension. In addition, 4.8-litre Panameras from around 2011 are free of the bore wear issues that afflicted some earlier cars.
In July 2012, there was a recall concerning faulty turbos that at best might be down on power and at worst might cause a fire. Most cars will have been sorted now but check anyway.
Transmissions were a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed PDK (standard on the 4, 4S and Turbo). The hybrid and diesel had an eight-speed Tiptronic ’box. Standard features included leather, a sat-nav and Porsche Active Suspension Management. S versions gained additional toys, while Turbo and Turbo S versions had air suspension (optional on the 4.8 S).
In 2013, the range was facelifted. New lights and front and rear bumpers are the most obvious external changes, while under the bonnet of S and 4S versions, a new 408bhp 3.0 V6 twin-turbo petrol motor appeared. At the same time, the existing 3.6, 4.8 GTS and 4.8 Turbo petrols and 3.0 diesel were uprated, the latter to 259bhp.
A Mk1 Panamera may seem a little frumpy alongside today’s sleeker-looking Mk2 model but a sporty 4.8 GTS or economical 3.0 diesel in a bright colour with alloy wheels still commands attention – and because it isn’t a 911, you should be able to haggle a decent discount too.
How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view: STEVE McPHERSON, PANAMERA REGISTER, PORSCHE CLUB GB - “I’d owned 10 Porsche 911s before I bought my first Panamera, eight years ago. I’ve not regretted it. A Panamera is more practical and, in everyday driving, just as much fun. I’ve had four of them (two new and two used) and am about to buy my fifth – a six-month-old 4S Diesel.
I do around 15,000 miles a year, the cars are new or nearly new and I have them serviced by a main agent, so there have been few issues. Those that spring to mind are wheel judder on full lock when the tyres are cold, a wonky sat-nav that needed reprogramming and a boot that kept opening when the doors were unlocked. Because the car is so big, it’s very colour and wheel sensitive, so choose wisely.”
ENGINE - Early V8s and more especially V8 Turbos can suffer bore wear from around 80,000 miles. Check for wet plugs and the condition and level of the engine oil. The engine can require a litre of oil every 600 miles. Listen for timing chain ticking, check the condition of ignition coils and look for oil and coolant leaks.
GEARBOX - On PDK cars, check for oil leaks on the underside of the car, suggesting the gearbox sump cover needs replacing. Check the transmission fluid has been changed every 36,000 miles. Feel for smooth, fast changes.
BRAKES AND SUSPENSION - Expect accelerated tyre and brake wear. Where fitted, check expensive carbon-ceramic brake discs for chips and flaking. The car should ride quietly, so listen for clonks and rattles from loose suspension joints. On cars with optional air suspension, ensure the vehicle rises to the correct height on start-up. Check the height sensor and air compressor.
BODYWORK - Aluminium bonnet, doors and bootlid mean corrosion is rare. Where there is any, suspect poor accident repair.
Expect some wear on the driver’s side bolster. Otherwise, the interior should be as new and rattle-free. A coffee spillage can wreck the central switch console so check every function works.
Also worth knowing:
For around £220, a Porsche dealer will give the Panamera you’re considering buying a 111-point mechanical check. It takes about 90min and you’ll get a full report with any work required priced up.
How much to spend:
£24,500-£27,999 - Early 3.6, 4.8 and 3.0 diesel cars with up to 130k miles, but many around 70k.
£28,000-£29,999 - Mileages closer to 50k, plus 12-reg cars.
£30,000-£34,999 - Lots of low-mileage 2012/13-reg diesels and higher-miles 2014-reg cars.
£35,000-£39,999 - More 2013/14-reg 3.0 V6s but mainly low-mileage 2013/14-reg diesels. Early Hybrids from £38k, plus early Turbos and 2015-reg cars from £39,500.
£40,000-£49,999 - Rare 2013-reg GTS with 60k miles. Low- miles 2014/15-reg diesels and Hybrids.
£50,000 AND HIGHER - Plenty of late GTS and Turbo cars.
One we found, PORSCHE PANAMERA 4.8 V8 S PDK, 2010/60-REG, 34,000 MILES, £29,925:
You can buy younger and cheaper, although with higher mileage, but this car has a one-owner, full Porsche service history and more than £13,000 of extras. It also has the balance of the Porsche warranty until October 2018.