I finally saw the controversially styled Porsche Panamera in the metal last Saturday. The president of official distributor PGA Cars was riding in front, there was a Porsche Cayenne ahead of it and a Nissan Patrol behind it that served as backup vehicles.
I've read a lot of the almost unanimous criticism leveled against the Panamera's design, including Top Gear's own style review written by Brian Afuang. The effect of all this publicity and criticism hyped the car for me, not to mention the history of this being Porsche's first four-door sedan (although technically it's not a sedan but a big hatchback). It made me more excited to see one in the metal.
I know this sounds like travesty but I like the Panamera's design. I like it even more than the Cayenne, actually. I remember feeling this way about the Cayenne when it first came out, the thought that Porsche actually built an SUV made it fascinating when I laid my eyes on it. But over the years I grew tired of its design. When more of them started appearing on the road the novelty wore off (PGA Cars is doing quite well with selling Cayennes).
Maybe that's it, the Panamera is still new that's why I find its size, shape, and visual oddity so appealing.
Yes it still looks like a stretched and mutilated 911, but it also looks like a streamlined bullet. Plus, knowing Porsche's quality and standards, it's a guarantee it will be fast and handles well. Imagine being able to take your friends and family out on drives in a sports car. I don't know if it will grow on me some more, or if I will grow out of it, but I sure would love to try it out if given the chance.
Other carmakers are aware of this desire, and also have products in this segment (Lamborghini Estoque and Aston Martin Rapide). But my choice would still be the Maserati Quattroporte, and not because it will make any driver feel like Vincent Chase--that's just a bonus. I'm sure the Panamera won't give me the same feeling.