The Porsche Panamera gets put to the (naming) test

By Eli Altman
April 21, 2009
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Filed under Naming

by Eli Altman

Porsche Panamera Naming
The Porsche Panamera: perfect for fleeing lighthouses. Photo:

Yesterday, recession be damned, Porsche debuted the newest addition to its lineup at Auto Shanghai—the Panamera. It’s a four-door luxury sedan that starts at $89,000 and tops out around $132,000 with all-wheel drive and some turbo. U.S. sales are set to begin in October.

While we like talking about cars, we love talking about names. So how good of a name is Panamera? Let’s get to it.

First off, what does it mean? According to Porsche, the car got its name from the Carrera Panamerica, an open road race that ran from 1950 to 1955 across Mexico. Some people called it the most dangerous race ever. 27 people died during its five year run and only about one third of the cars finished. Porsche had some success in the race, winning the small car series in 1953. We like the tie-in with auto history, and we imagine  with all-wheel drive and airbags, the mortality rate in the Panamera will be much lower than its namesake.

Let’s also look at how the Panamera fits in its environment. Porsche Panamera sounds good—nothing wrong with a little alliteration. It rolls off the tongue pretty easily. Two other Porsches have been named after road races: the Carrera (also named after the Carrera Panamerica) and the Targa, named after the Targa Florio in Italy. The racing relationship definitely works here. We also like the name Panamera better than two of its main 4-door super-luxury rivals: the Maserati Quattroporte (literally 4-door), and the Bentley Continental Flying Spur.

While we’re not typically fans of names that are contrived, Panamera works.  It’s close enough to Pan-American and also sounds a little like panorama, which has some nice artistic connotations. So if you have an extra 100 grand lying around and want to take four people somewhere really fast, the Panamera might be up your alley.