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What is it: The 2017 Porsche Panamera 4S is an all-wheel drive grand tourer with four luxurious places to sit.

Key Competitors: BMW B6, Mercedes-Benz AMG S65, Audi S8

Base Price: $100,950 As-Tested Price: $133,185

Highlights: A completely new engine and chassis make the Panamera a perfect mix between sports car and grand turismo.

Our Opinion: The Panamera 4S is the perfect car for a 24 Hours of Lemons race weekend. Not only are the massaging heated seats perfect for relaxing after a 12-hour day lying in the mud fixing a timing belt on a 1990 Lexus ES250, but it’ll also fit three full-size mustachieod mechanics for the pitch-black ride home.

I joined a Lemons team this year, driving the Hoy Fong Foods No. 999 Sciracha Racing Lexus ES250, and made the 2.5-hour trip to the west side of Michigan in this grand tourer at mostly illegal speeds. This is one of those cars that makes me think, “why shouldn’t I be able to cruise at 90 mph on a desolate stretch of two-lane highway at 8 a.m.?” The Panamera feels as stable as a bench vice as it eats highway miles. The drive is actually about three hours, and I did it in 2.5, with a stop. The eight-speed auto only kicks hard in sport plus mode, which is probably good. Most drivers don’t want their back cracked with every shift, ‘cept me.

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Now that I’m looking at the specs, I don’t know if I would have guessed that it has 440 hp, but it is quick at any point in the rev range, and I love the push-to-pass button that turns everything to sport plus mode for 20 seconds. The brakes are great too, hauling this, wow, only 4,100-pounder with ease.

The adaptive suspension is very compliant in normal mode, even when going over the big potholes. Everything firms up in sport and sport plus, but I didn’t use those modes a lot, considering the condition of the surrounding roads. It’s a Porsche, so steering feel is already better than most cars on the market today.

And then there’s the tech. The Panamera has stop/start, mostly non-intrusive; night vision that actually caught a deer before I saw it; lane keeping and adaptive cruise control, which I used a ton; park assist, which helped get me out of the grass between parked cars, and about 20 other acronyms for safety and security. The night vision/wildlife detector was the most impressive though. I did not see the three deer running alongside the road until the car beeped at me, kicked the night vision on and put the animals in red, digital boxes like an acquired target in fighter plane. However, the same thing happed a bit later in the night, and it didn’t detect them, so it’s not 100 percent there.

Hoy Fong Foods No. 999 Sciracha racing Lexus ES250

Hoy Fong Foods No. 999 Sciracha Racing Lexus ES250

One piece of tech that is all the way there is the launch control function, which really isn’t even a function. You just pin the brake, pin the throttle, let go of the brake and hold on. I tested it out on a dirt road. The revs jump up to about 4,000 while the tailpipes pop likes it’s at the rev limiter. Let go and all four tires bite into the road like a dirt-grading machine leaving four, foot-wide tire imprints of freshly ground rocks. After a couple more times the entire road was fresh again. People pay money for this. It never slowed, never overheated and never gave me any sort of warning that the practice might be detrimental to the drivetrain. 

This particular Panamera has about $33,000 in options, which is, in Porsche terms, about mid-pack. The most expensive is the Sport Package that includes rear steering, the Sport Chrono pack, adaptive air suspension and the sport exhaust. Almost everything on the option list is $1,000 or more. Massaging seats, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, four-zone climate control all break the four-figure barrier. But if you’re spending $105,000 with tax, what’s another $30K in options between friends?

There is a little less space in the trunk than I expected. I had to slide my cooler back up against the seats, Tetris in my tool boxes and bags and then throw a couple things in the back seat. I’m not sure if you could vacation with four people in this thing. The trunk was acting a little wonky as well. It must have some sort of sensor so as not to crush what’s back there, but it might be a little too sensitive. I got up Sunday morning to the trunk only 2/3s of the way closed — luckily with the direction of the rain, nothing got too wet.

Competitors include the BMW 6-Series Gran Turismo, maybe the mid-AMG Mercedes E-Class and the Audi S6. As for driving feel, I’d take this over all of those. The BMW 6 probably has more space, the E is more cushy, I’d guess, but in the $100K four-seat, four-door space, this Panamera 4S is at the top of my list.

–Jake Lingeman, road test editor

OPTIONS: Sport Package with rear-axle steering, sport chrono package, adaptive air suspension, sport exhaust ($5,930), Premium package with lane change assist, Bose surround sound system, power seats w/memory package, comfort access ($3,860), adaptive cruse control ($2,880), night vision assist ($2,540), LED-matrix headlights ($2,220), power seats w/ 8-way ($2,010), 20-inch Panamera Turbo wheels ($1,790), four-zone climate control ($1,410), lane keep assist w/ speed limit indicator ($1,210), massaging seat function ($1,190), park assist ($1,190), power sunblind for rear compartment ($880), night blue metallic ($830), soft close doors ($770), seat heating ($550), USB interface ($410), window tint ($390), standard interior in black/luxor beige ($380), ionizer ($340), steering wheel heating ($270), wheel center caps w/ colored Porsche crest ($185)

On Sale: Now

Base Price: $100,950

As Tested Price: $133,185

Powertrain: 2.9-liter DOHC turbocharged V6, AWD eight-speed automatic

Output: 440 hp @ 5,650-6,600 rpm; 405 lb-ft @ 1,750-5,500 rpm

Curb Weight: 4,123 lb

Fuel Economy: 12/28/23 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: Eats highway miles with the best of ’em

Cons: Tech needs its own entry-level course