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There we were stuck behind a 5 mph backhoe on the country roads north of Atlanta, Georgia. I was sitting in the passenger seat of the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid while Chris Little from Limited Slip Blog drove. With the hybrid’s top speed of 177.7 mph (leave it to Germans to be that precise on a spec sheet), 416 horsepower and 435 pound feet of torque the Panamera’s other qualities could be experienced better at 5 mph. The leather seat, smooth ride, and attention to details were being experienced on this slow going parade of Panameras.

Chris eventually was able to get the car going again as the construction worker pulled over to the side and turned his head smiling at how he slowed down five Panameras to a grueling slow crawl. What he didn’t know is that even at 5 mph the Porsche was awesome.

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I was invited to an event a few weeks ago where 20 of us from car, fashion, and style blogs had an opportunity to experience most of the Porsche Panamera line including the already mentioned S E-Hybrid, but also the 4S, 4S all-wheel drive, Turbo, and Executive Turbo.  The cars range in price from $104,000 – $174,000. While we spent some time on Georgia’s country roads adorned with the trees changing colors in late October, we also had some track time with each vehicle.

We started the morning with breakfast and a marketing communications slide deck sharing more about the Panamera’s “Thrilling Contradictions” campaign. Each table include a bottle of motion sickness tablets foreshadowing the day ahead was going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

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Our almost hour drive to Atlanta Motorsports Park gave us a more typical day in the Panamera’s life, where we left from Buckhead and spent most of the time on the freeway cruising the highway in a row of 10 Porsches on a Monday morning while everyone else headed the opposite way to work. Here we were enjoying a day off ready to play on the race track in our German sports sedans.

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Chris and I drove a silver Porsche with black interior housing the twin-turbo 4.8-liter V8 engine capable of 520 horsepower; though, we were all behaving knowing the track was coming up. So going a steady 65-75 miles an hour was alright. It gave us some time to figure out all the buttons and there are a ton of buttons.

The center console is literally the centerpiece of the cabin. My first BMW, a 1997 318i, had the window switches in the center console next to the shifter. The Panamera takes that to a whole other level. There are two long rows of buttons that include different driving modes, active safety, seat heaters, dynamic cruise control, and climate control and of course window switches. If optioned with the sport exhaust there’s even a button to turn the exhaust note on. The S E-Hybrid includes E-Power and E-Charge buttons respectfully turning the car to full EV mode or charge mode where the car charges the battery while driving (and braking.)

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Enough about the center console. How was it on the track?

Easily my favorite example on the track was the rear-wheel drive twin-turbo V6 4S. It took the corners with less grip, but there was no loss of control. Instead you just felt the car more and could tell what it wanted you to do. Plus you had plenty of power. Sure there was some extra power from the V8 but like similar twin-turbo V6s you feel the torque immediately and this was always a blast after a slight brake.

Atlanta Motorsports Park was less about going some insane top speed and more about perfecting corners or coming into a turn with the right amount of brake and then immediately pushing the car to its maximum before you approached a hard or soft turn.

Of course all of the Porsches performed flawlessly. We even did hot laps with the instructors to end the day demonstrating how poor our track skills were against someone who lives on the track. We also experienced just what Porsche was trying to convey on the slides earlier that morning that there are Thrilling Contradictions with the Panamera. It could handle the track, the highway and crawling behind a construction vehicle all flawlessly.

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It was definitely one of the best Mondays ever. Plus I got to share some track time with my good friend Melanie and I finally met Ray Wert in real-life after all these years. I ended the day driving back to the hotel with fellow BMW enthusiast Chris Little, he too owns a 3-series.  Here we were two German car owners driving a very luxurious Porsche Panamera Executive Turbo, the model that had a bit more length for the passengers to enjoy, enjoying the roads of Georgia one last time before heading home.

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The day felt like this was the next natural evolution of my German car ownership adventure. Sure there are other BMWs to one day own, but I have to admit a Porsche is a brand I’ve admired yet never seriously considered. While the Panamera is a bit out of my reach, I did spend most of my leisure time Tuesday and Wednesday looking up various Porsches on craigslist. And now whenever I see a Panamera on the road I don’t think “why did Porsche make that thing?” Instead I silently nod in the car’s direction to show respect and to recall how fun the Panamera truly is.

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Here’s a video from the event.

Disclaimer: I was invited to attend the event in Atlanta with travel and accommodations provided by Porsche. Opinions are my own.