Home » You Can Buy A V8 Porsche Panamera For The Same Price As A New Mid-Range Corolla

You Can Buy A V8 Porsche Panamera For The Same Price As A New Mid-Range Corolla

Porsche Panemera Top

Depreciation’s a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I mean, it sucks for people who buy new cars, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to buy a brand new Porsche Boxster and BMW 3 Series at this point in life. Aside from a few blue chip cars, depreciation eventually comes for everything, and the latest victim of note is the original Porsche Panamera, the car that taught many Americans what the word “gopping” meant.

Since early examples are more than a decade old at this point, and the styling is controversial to say the least, they’ve slid into tantalizingly cheap territory. I’m talking new Toyota Corolla money, certified pre-owned Honda CR-V money, the sort of money that could make you want to roll the dice.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

However, is buying a decade-old German luxury sedan a good idea? Well, in the case of the Panamera, it all depends.

Fast, Butt-Ugly

Porsche Panamera 1

When the Porsche Panamera debuted, people thought it was the ugliest thing Porsche had ever made, an impressive feat considering the Cayenne existed. James May described the Panamera Turbo as the “four-wheel-drive Elephant Man,” while Car And Driver was more charitable, writing that “The humpbacked hatchback styling is having a hard time finding friends.”


However, because just about every other car on the road has grown substantially uglier over the past 14 years, the original Porsche Panamera doesn’t look that bad anymore. It’s as if one day, a light switch was thrown while we slept, and everyone collectively decided that the original Panamera is fine. Frankly, that’s a good thing, because these executive sedans could be optioned up to be properly quick.

Sure, the base model with its 300-horsepower V6 won’t set your trousers alight, but it’s only up from there. The Panamera S sported a 400-horsepower 4.8-liter V8, the Panamera GTS upped the ante to 430 horsepower, the Panamera Turbo bolted on a pair of turbochargers for a peak output of 500 horsepower, and the Panamera Turbo S ratcheted things up a click to 550 horsepower.

Porsche Panamera 2

While even the cheapest model could crack 160 mph, the V8 Panamera S had a claimed zero-to-62 mph time of 5.4 seconds, and things only got quicker from there. Adding all-wheel-drive gets that time down to five seconds flat, and the Panamera Turbo with the Sport Chrono package cut that time down to four seconds. All American cars came with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, too, which is still properly quick by modern standards.

Cram It In The Hatch

Porsche Panamera Interior


Sure, if you just wanted a big, fast, cheap sedan, you could buy an early Chrysler 300C SRT-8 with a 6.1-liter V8. However, the Panamera offers two obvious advantages over the big Chrysler. For one, the interior panels don’t feel like they’re made by child laborers. It’s legit big car luxury in a Panamera through and through. Secondly, the Panamera is a five-door liftback, and that means it can probably replace a crossover SUV as a family car. With the rear seats folded down, you get 44.6 cu.-ft. of cargo space, and that’s even taking into account the sloping roofline. However, since few people actually load their vehicles up beyond the window lines, the cargo length in this five-door Porsche makes it a formidable school run machine.

Porsche Panamera Hatch Open

Oh, and if you need to haul more, don’t worry. When properly equipped, the Panamera is capable of towing 4,850 pounds. Shocking, right? This means you can tow your cheap 944 track car to the track in a cheap Panamera and look like an absolute boss even with a U-Haul sticker on the trailer. Try that in a Toyota RAV4.

How Cheap Are We Talking?

2011 Porsche Panamera 4s 1

When I say these things are cheap, I mean it. This 2011 Panamera 4S recently hammered on Bring A Trailer for $26,000, and it’s pretty much loaded to the hilt. I’m talking 19-inch wheels, the Sport Chrono package, power-operated sunshades, front and rear parking sensors, a proximity key system, a walnut steering wheel, and a Bose stereo. Best of all? It had just 63,000 miles on the clock when it sold, certainly on the low end for a 12-year-old car.


2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo

Over on Cars & Bids, the deals on these big Porsches are even better. Here’s a Panamera Turbo that hammered for $22,750. That’s low-spec Elantra money for a 500-horsepower family liftback with a top-shelf Burmester sound system. Granted, this particular example has two recorded hits on its Carfax and 97,600 miles on the clock, but that’s still an excellent price for something this quick.

Porsche Panamera Base

Oh, and that’s just looking at some of the nicer V8 examples on auction sites. Given a little leeway for mileage and location, you can get into a controversial liftback sedan with the more sensible V6 engine for less than $20,000 from the regular ol’ internet classifieds. What could possibly go wrong?

Bore Score And Seven Years Ago

Porsche Panamera Turbo Engine


Well, how about catastrophic engine damage? Yep, as the water-cooled Porsche experts at LN Engineering note, the 4.8-liter V8 in these original Panameras isn’t immune to bore scoring, and the firm notes that “Once cylinder bore scoring starts, there is no way to stop it.” If the scoring gets bad enough in these AluSil-plated cylinders, oil consumption grows so vast that OPEC might send you a Christmas card. Fixing this issue will max out your Amex, so a good pre-purchase inspection goes a long way.

Porsche Panamera Camshaft Adjuster Bolts Recall

In addition to a good poke around with a borescope, it’s also worth checking if any prospective early Panamera models have been in for camshaft adjuster bolt recall work. In 2017, Porsche issued a recall on 2010 to 2012 Panamera S, 4S, and Turbo trims, along with 2011 to 2012 Panamera and Panamera 4 models, because the variable valve timing camshaft adjuster bolts could snap. In Porsche’s words, “The proper functioning of the camshaft controllers cannot be assured over the normal service life of the vehicles,” so the whole batch of cars was recalled.

Oh, and then there’s the litany of coolant leaks that can spring up, the most prolific of which can come from a pipe that connects to the thermostat housing of the 4.8-liter engine, or another pipe that connects to a coolant crossover manifold. The adhesive holding these pipes in can allegedly fail, quickly emptying the cooling system. In 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed for these issues, and last month, a summary judgement sided with Porsche on the basis of the issue being time-barred. Regardless of legal outcome, if you’re looking at a Panamera, keep your eye out for coolant leaks.


Speaking of aggravating, I need to talk about air filter replacement on these cars because it’s hilarious yet also painful. To access the airbox, you need to remove the front bumper cover. Thankfully, the filter is enormous, so replacement is only required every four years or 40,000 miles, but it’s a pain in the ass once you reach that interval.

Besides a few model-specific problems, I’ve seen Panameras occasionally suffer from the usual issues with any big performance car. Air suspension components wear out, the active rear spoiler can break, walnut blasting the intake valves every 100,000 miles is a good idea since the engines in these cars feature direct injection, and transmissions that are beat on and neglected may not have the greatest service lifespans. Still, if a proper pre-purchase inspection checks out, these original Panamera models are still some of the more reliable heavily-depreciated flagship luxury sedans out there.

Should You Buy A Cheap Porsche Panamera?

Porsche Panamera 3

Well, it really depends on who you are. The average person looking at a new Toyota Corolla should avoid a bargain Panamera like, well I was going to say the plague, but we all know how that played out. Even in their heavily depreciated state, these are still six-figure cars, and they come with the service bills to match.

However, if you’re handy with a wrench or know a good local independent specialist, are willing to do some legwork, and are interested in owning a fast family hauler for sensible money, I reckon you should consider a Porsche Panamera. They’re a hell of a lot of car for reasonable cash, and they don’t look or feel that old. With an MMI box or screen replacement to support CarPlay, these things are bang up to date, the naturally-aspirated V8 examples still sound glorious, and the liftback makes them genuinely practical. Now, let’s hope that the styling stays controversial enough that too many people don’t latch on and buoy prices.


(Photo credits: Porsche, Bring A Trailer, Cars & Bids, Autotrader)

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4 months ago

Speaking of Cars and Bids, Doug DeMuro did a review of a first-gen Panamera with this very same take: for something in the $20-25K range, you could get a helluva impressive car, provided you don’t mind the looks of it’s rump (which I do not).

However, even lower-spec Panameras have like a quarter-zillion buttons on the dash, and there are sensor and control unit laden systems behind all them little plastic polygons. I can only imagine (based on my own experience with a ’98 Mercedes Benz CLK) how that whomever buys one of these seemingly cheap Panameras has a stronger heart than I do (and a fatter wallet wouldn’t hurt either).

Is Travis
Is Travis
4 months ago

I bought a 2014 BMW 335ix GT early pandemic, but if I could have afforded it and planned it out properly (Going to do most the work myself to offset cost and not be carpoor) I would have gone for the 4 door Porsche Dadmobile over the 4 door BMW Dadmobile, but sub 20k was my goal and I pulled it off with a fantastic 49k mile example about 3 years ago.
Oh I would be tempted AF to try out a Porsche longhatch, it is categorically a better vehicle.
The 335ix GT is nice, it is great, drives amazing, the N55 pulls like hell, but I read about how much better those things feel to drive and I wince a bit about how I figured I would give the full digital thing a try after the full analog decade in the ’89 Montero.

These are getting convincingly cheap.
I will also admit that I have the horrible taste of 4 door liftback German makes. Can’t justify it, just like em and they fit the whole “being a Dad with a desk job” phase of life.

Last edited 4 months ago by Is Travis
4 months ago

Finally reading this, and YES, very much yes. My wife loves these, and I love rebuilding motors. HMMMMMMM

4 months ago

Early Kia Stingers are at about $30k CAD – those *have* to be a more sensible alternative, right? At a minimum, it’s much better looking (perhaps at the expense of interior materials).

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
4 months ago

Just make sure you always back into a parking space so you never have to look at is lumpy misshapened butt. I would disable the rear parking sensors and back up camera also; you might get lucky and back into something, which would undoubtedly improve the aesthetics at the rear.

4 months ago

Can you Turbo the V-6? Just wondering if the gain justifies the pain of the installation.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x