Automobile Mag: BMW 550i Gran Turismo vs. Porsche Panamera S

5 Series GT | May 15th, 2010 by 13
1004 39+bMW 550i gran turismo and porsche panamera s+side view

The popular Automobile Magazine reviews two of the most controversial vehicles launched last year. First one comes from the Munich-based automaker BMW, in the form …

The popular Automobile Magazine reviews two of the most controversial vehicles launched last year. First one comes from the Munich-based automaker BMW, in the form of a Gran Tourer: 5 Series GT. Second one, Porsche’s Panamera model is positioned as a genuine alternative to a Maserati Quattroporte or Mercedes CLS, both in image as well as day-to-day driveability.

A fair comparison? Most likely not, but certainly one of a two niche vehicles that are equally loved and disliked.

Mirror, mirror
Before we can move on though, we’ve got to address our insecurities, so we park the two hunchbacks side-by-side. The BMW, with its tall roofline and slightly raised ground clearance, looks a bit truckish when standing alone. But next to the Panamera, the 5-series GT looks natural and even somewhat pleasing. The truncated hatch hardly looks controversial. Instead, the GT seems merely to wear BMW’s design du jour and if you’re into the 5- or 7-series sedans, accepting the Gran Turismo is easy.

1004 39+bMW 550i gran turismo and porsche panamera s+side view 655x409

Unfortunately, the Panamera doesn’t provide the same sense of resolution. The front end’s broad, low hood and oval headlights establish the Porsche identity, but it’s also rather bland. Boring, however, would be an improvement for the rear end. The awkward interplay of the fenders and hatch present an ungainly growth. Viewing the Panamera from a low front three-quarters angle allows you to hide the massive rear end behind the windshield and side glass, but that mass is lurking every time you look back at your parked Panamera.

On the road
Equipped with the $1320 Sport Chrono Package Plus, the Panamera offers three dynamic modes (normal, sport, and sport plus) to modify the engine, transmission, stability control, and suspension character. BMW’s Driving Dynamics Control adds a fourth setting, comfort mode, and offers a broader bandwidth in varying the ride character. Despite that, with the BMW in its stiffest setting and the Porsche set to its normal mode, the Panamera is significantly more buttoned down. Body roll in the Gran Turismo is present in any quick turn, regardless of the setting, while the Panamera always remains flat and poised.

While the Porsche lacks the BMW’s grunt, its greater body control and more capable handling would likely make it faster around a track. Still, the BMW surprised us because it’s no less engaging than the Porsche. Part of that, though is a weakness of the Panamera, which has a minor case of Nissan GT-R Syndrome. This is the phenomenon that afflicts incredible performance cars boasting uncanny 0-to-60-mph sprints, lateral grip, and lap times, yet failing to engage the driver the way we expect from a sports car. In the Panamera, the steering lacks the satisfying feedback cherished in Boxsters and 911s. The wheel still offers good feel, but the heavy weight masks some of the communication.

1004 37+bMW 550i gran turismo and porsche panamera s+side view 655x409

Despite their similarities, these two cars have unique personalities. BMW’s Gran Turismo is a bastion of luxury and comfort. The Porsche is a sports car first and a luxury car second.

Full review at Automobile Magazine

13 responses to “Automobile Mag: BMW 550i Gran Turismo vs. Porsche Panamera S”

  1. Giom says:

    What a conclusion! I didn’t expect that! (from Automobile or any other publication for that matter.)

    But it does reiterate what I have been saying all along… that the GT is about the function – the ‘what’ clients really want. And they have been vindicated by an unexpected demand.

    Great article – thanks Horatiu!

  2. efoza says:

    Its a delight to see the GT get a fair hearing. As Giom says, the GT is all about function over matter. The people who compare the 5 GT with other BMWs are misguided. The GT is unique and will always go down in BMW’s history as yet another unique development by BMW. Well done BMW for giving birth to the GT in these days of tough choices.

  3. viper says:

    what a ridiculous review.
    what a ridiculous comparison.
    no comment

    • vixen says:

      yoh retard u still commenting u dum shit hahahahaha retarded shit…………..

    • Jordan says:

      lol viper… you just did comment!

    • kenee says:

      I hear your employer, MB, is now seeking to get rid of its attacks on BMW as Audi has now taken over its title. How does it feel to be 3rd in Germany in respect of both sales and ratings!? Come on Viper be honest, your MB is now even struggling to compete with even Audi. It must hurt you. I am sorry but the reality is that MB lost the game way back in the 1980s. I suggest you give up with your employer and get a real job.

  4. XC says:

    Last thursday I was checking out the new 5 series at the dealer and seeing both the 5 GT and the new 5er together I noticed how different they are regarding their intended functions. Sure the 5 is much more sexy than the GT, but sitting in the backseat of the GT you really get the feeling of a much more expensive car inside; it’s seats are very comfortable and the space you have is immense. If I were someone who is chauffered most of the time I will certainly chose this car, regardless of its shape. This car is really a case of Bauhaus-form-follows-function.

    • kenee says:

      I don’t think the 5er is sexy. It is dead boring. I have noticed that people don’t even notice it on the road as a brand new car . I do however agree with you in respect of your comments re the GT. It is a wonderful feeling sitting and driving the GT.

  5. Roland Renno says:

    The BMW 550i GT is at its best for comparing it with the Porsche Panamera S. I’m not a fan of its shape but someone must admit that it has its advantages like XC said.

  6. kenee says:

    I must say I am now totally in favour of the 5 GT well over any other brand new concept. It is an amazing design if you look deep into its concept. What Porsche or dare I say VW have done is to stick 2 extra doors on the 911 and hope to get away with it. On the other hand BMW has created a classic car for those who want a bit of exclusiveness and above all class. I note that the GT is now the car of choice for VIPs in all major sectors. Its sales success is pure and simply down to its wonderful design and build- not to mention the 100% supurb driving feel. The car just drives like a true sports car but without the painful drive feel of a sports car.

  7. GT Avenger says:

    drove a panamera, drove an audi 7 drove the mercedes e 350, own a gt.  best of all in performance, room and price

  8. KRAM says:

    I own a GT….best car I’ve ever owned!  It is amazingly comfortable and luxurious.  As for the styling….you are not going to find many vehicles that look nicer than mine!  Black…I added to AC Schnitzer 3 piece rear spoiler, along with a set of Vossen concave 20″ wheels.  It is a beast!  GO BMW!!

  9. Sharkansh says:

    I own a gt too :) its an athlete on the road and a monster offroad ;)
    Mixture of sport n luxury, the gt is nothing less then a house :)
    Proud to have it

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