Drive: Female-friendly family wagon a beast of a car

2010-09-03 08:42

When manufacturers punt a car as “made for women”, alarm bells go off in my head. More often than not, “made-for-women” cars mean less aggressive styling, lacklustre ­engine ­performance and more emphasis on “softer” aesthetics.
 
This global consensus that all women are mother figures ­concerned with boot space and extra compartments is wearing a bit thin.

Porsche South Africa has ­answered numerous women’s calls to swop their drab soccer-mom mobiles for a sexier car by introducing the ­Panamera.

When you hear the word ­Porsche, you think of a racy red coupé with oodles of power.

Those with ­families will like that the Panamera is still very much a Porsche, except it’s one for the whole family.

Porsche launched the Panamera Gran Turismo – their first family sedan with four doors – earlier this year in the form of the sportier and naturally ­aspirated V8 model with 294kW of power and the 368kW ­supercharged ­derivatives.

The latest model, the Panamera and Panamera 4, has been added to the line-up and has a 3.6-litre V6 ­engine under the bonnet.

It is specifically aimed at moms – or dads – who need to play the role of a taxi driver when doing school runs and extra-mural ­activities.

It’s practical for everyday use, yet sporty enough for long-haul holiday trips.

The all-wheel-drive, V6 ­entry-model still kicks out rewarding performance figures for the ­inner-racer with 220kW of power and 440Nm of torque, but it’s a much more comfortable drive compared to the more powerful models within the range.

The torque is less ­intimidating but easy enough for anyone to handle and still ­reaches illegal speeds of over 200km/h.

The interior has a classy touch, and the buttons in the cockpit and centre console are all self-explanatory.

The boot leaves ­ample room for bulky school bags, sports gear or dad’s golf bags.

The Panamera 4 comes standard with the Porsche double-clutch gearbox (PDK), auto start/stop to help minimise fuel emissions, and 19-inch tyres with optimised roll.

It also offers three driving modes: comfort, sport and sport plus.

So while this is tagged as a ­female-friendly family wagon, it is still a beast of a car.

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