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Tesla S vs. Porsche Panamera

1 comments 2015-05-08 Read: 789x

The world of luxurious, high-dollar sport sedans is a rarefied one, but it's chock full of superb cars. These days, two of the very hottest sedans going--especially for those with a bent toward performance--are the Porsche Panamera and the Tesla Model S.

The Panamera was Porsche's first-ever four-door sedan,

built as much for growing markets like China as for the Autobahns. It's done well in North America too, in part because it drives like a Porsche should, even if it's a larger package than the lithe rear-engined sports cars the German brand was known for.

Then there's the Tesla Model S, which is not only fast, good-looking, and exceptionally smooth and quiet, but also offers the instant curb appeal of being an all-electric sedan. You might say it’s a car of the future that you can buy today.

For performance fans, the Tesla Model S P85D is the go-to comparison point.

Its sub-three-second 0-to-60-mph times are just the punchline, with its (literally) breathtaking acceleration documenting on videos that get millions of views. The Panamera Turbo S, on the other hand, takes a mere 3.6 seconds—brutally quick, but a relative eternity beside the Tesla. Thanks to the Tesla’s instant-on torque, the difference in acceleration seems even greater than it is.

Turn the page to top speeds, however, and the Porsche walks away with the show. Recent updates raised the Model S speed limit to 155 mph for the P85D and other variants, but even the slowest Panamera handily tops 160 mph--and the fastest Porsche sedan is good for 192 mph.

Both cars offer all-wheel drive,

so they're fine in bad weather--though the Porsche's AWD system can enhance performance and handling, too. Here, again, the Porsche steals the show, handling like a much smaller sports car, with more driver-engaging feel from the wheel, pedals, and seat. The Model S is very fast; the Panamera is very good and very fast.

It's pointless here to talk about gas mileage: one gets pretty okay mileage, the other eats electrons and smirks at gas stations. Likewise, horsepower and torque aren't the telling figures; instead, it's the result of those numbers that matters.

Neither the Tesla Model S nor the Porsche Panamera is all about performance or outright pace, however: they have four doors, after all. Here, the Panamera runs away with the show, at least for those that aren’t completely overawed by the Model S’s huge touchscreen control system/display.

Materials, space, ergonomics, features, and functionality

in the Panamera are all somewhere between just as good and far superior to the Model S—and that’s before you climb into the back seat. Where the Model S offers enough space for adults, the Panamera has ample space—and an Executive long-wheelbase option for those who require (or desire) limo-like space in a very, very fast car. The Panamera leverages not just Porsche's much longer experience with and resources for vehicle development, but advances in technology and features found throughout the Volkswagen Group--and those economies of scale and of refinement make themselves known in everything from the feel of the leather to the quality of the switches to the navigation's menus.

That leaves styling, and here, we have an unquestionable win for the Tesla. Sure, the Panamera has evolved to wear its slightly hump-backed look more gracefully over the years, but it's still anything but an inherently beautiful shape. The Model S, on the other hand, is considered by many to be a sort of rolling sculpture, and for good reason: its curves, its proportions, and its details just work. There's something elementally satisfying about the Model S's shape.

At the end of the day, we're back where we started: both the Model S and Porsche Panamera are fantastic buys in a very competitive segment.

If you prefer the smooth, quiet calm of electric motoring to gas-scented performance, you'll choose the Model S; and you'll do the same if you're an aesthete first, a driver second. If you're looking for more room, more refinement, or a more satisfying driving experience, however, the Panamera is your pick.

by The Car Connection

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