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Porsche vs. Ferrari

 
 

A Comparison of the Porsche Panamera to the Ferrari FF

In comparing the Porsche Panamera and the Ferrari FF, there are a number of similarities and differences, not the least of which is the price. Depending on the driving goals and the preferred style of vehicle, these two cars are excellent choices for sport and speed enthusiasts.

Porsche Panamera
porsche-panamera-imageFrom 2010-2016, the Porsche Panamera was widely scoffed at for its body shape, especially in the backend. With a so-called baggy rear, the Panamera moved exceptionally well even with this less-than-ideal design. The 2017 edition of the vehicle managed to lower the roofline and tailor the backend to produce a more pleasing shape. However, these were not the only improvements to this well-liked sports car.

The aluminum body boasts four doors for easy entrance and comfort. In addition, the rear bucket seats have plenty of legroom, making the back seating area just as comfortable as the front for average-sized passengers. The vehicle rides on air springs or on a combination of coil springs and adaptive dampers, depending on the model. These methods make the ride comfortable at both slow and high speeds. However, the steering and the brake pedal could both be stronger, especially as the car increases its speed and as tighter controls are necessary.

The center console of the new Panamera is highly superior to previous models with a central analog tachometer and two seven-inch touchscreens. Drivers can configure these touchscreens to show a navigation map and controls, or both screens can be used to show traditional round gauges. These impressive controls, however, can actually make it more difficult to make proper selections, especially with the disorganized screen options and less-than-precise touch response. Luckily, there are sounds to indicate which option is being selected.

The Porsche InnoDrive adaptive cruise control system uses a high-definition map to look two miles down the road and to automatically adjust speed limits. However, InnoDrive does not make any effort to steer the vehicle. This technology is ready for the laws and roads of Europe, but more tests and fine-tuning will be necessary to get it perfect for the United States.

Safety features of the Porsche Panamera include:
• Electronic stability control (ESC)
• ABS and driveline traction control
• Dual stage driver and passenger seat side airbags
• Side impact beams
• ParkAssist front and rear parking sensors
• Low tire pressure warning
• Curtain first and second row airbags
• Airbag occupancy sensor
• Rear child safety locks
• Outboard front lap and shoulder safety belts with height adjusters and pretensioners

For a more expensive but potentially more exciting Panamera option, the Turbo retails for $147,950, significantly more than the basic Panamera. At $100,950, the Panamera 4S is just one step down the power ladder. However, the baseline Panamera can be bought for a more reasonable price of just under $80,000.

This new generation of the Panamera features all-new hardware, but the drive experience is very similar to the original that made this vehicle popular. The design and construction of the Porsche Panamera is a work in progress, and it will likely continue to improve in upcoming models.

Ferrari FF
ferrari-ff-front-endAlthough it is no longer in production as of 2016, the Ferrari FF is an impressive two-door wagon. Four adults and some luggage will fit comfortably in this Ferrari offering, and with the 651 horsepower V-12 engine, there is plenty of power to move that quartet of passengers.

 
 

In an attempt to offer all-weather capabilities, the Ferrari engineers built this vehicle as four-wheel drive with most of the power in the rear wheels, relegating the front ones to handling traction in bad weather or poor road conditions. However, the mostly neutral stability control does activate on most uphill corners.

The engine makes the FF the most powerful road vehicle ever built by Ferrari. Reaching speeds of 60 miles per hour in just 3.5 seconds is enough to make any driver or passenger excited about that kind of power. In dry conditions, the car moves fluidly and cleanly, even around corners.

The typical Ferrari body shape is intact as the three-door hatchback, also known as a shooting brake. This design is perfectly suited for passengers entering through the side doors after putting luggage in the back. The post-2012 Ferrari FF also features cruise control and cup holders, surprisingly an upgrade from some past models.

The main downgrade of the FF is the woefully poor stereo system and navigation unit included in what should be a top-of-the-line vehicle. The touchscreen buttons are difficult to maneuver, and the sound system is unclear and less than satisfactory. However, there are some displays visible, including navigation, trip information and maintenance warning lights. These are shown on two high-resolution LCD screens on either side of the large, center-mounted tachometer.

Passengers will appreciate the seating space in the Ferrari FF despite its seemingly cramped exterior. Although it can be difficult to gracefully enter the seats, especially the backseat, once inside, there is plenty of room for heads and legs for those under six feet tall. Individuals exceeding this height will still fit, but it may be a less comfortable ride.

Like many similar vehicles, the Ferrari FF features many safety features, including:
• Electronic stability control (ESC)
• F1-Trac ABS and driveline traction control
• Front and rear parking sensors
• Back-up camera
• Low pressure tire warning
• Side impact beams
• Dual driver and passenger front and side airbags
• Outboard front lap and shoulder safety belts

Unlike some past Ferrari models, the FF is not an all-out sports car. In fact, it is not as sporty as the Porsche Panamera. Unfortunately, the FF is no longer being manufactured, and only used models are still available for purchase. In the spring of 2016, Ferrari introduced the GTC4Lusso, designed to be the successor to the FF.

Comparison at a Glance

Porsche Panamera Ferrari FF
2015 MSRP $78,100 $295,000
Origin Germany Italy
Seating capacity 5 4
Engine V-8 V-12
Horsepower 430 651
Transmission 7-speed automatic 7-speed double-clutch automatic
Torque 295 504
Length 197.4 in 193.2 in
Width 76.0 in 76.9 in
Height 55.8 in 54.3 in
Curb weight 4343 lb 4145 lb
City miles per gallon 18 mpg 11 mpg
Highway miles per gallon 28 mpg 16 mpg
Fuel tank capacity 21.1 gal 24 gal
Top speed 175 mph 208 mph
0-60 mph 4.6 sec 3.45 sec
1/4 mile acceleration 13.2 sec @ 103 mph 11.7 sec @ 122 mph
Cargo volume with rear seat up 15.7 cubic feet 15.88 cubic feet
Cargo volume with rear seat down 44.6 cubic feet 28.24 cubic feet

Conclusions
The Ferrari FF was created in answer to the Porsche Panamera and other similar sports cars. It was the most powerful Ferrari created at the time, able to leap to over 100 miles per hour in less than 12 seconds. With its larger frame and superior driving capabilities on uneven terrains, the Ferrari FF is an excellent choice for a fast and attractive car. However, the Porsche Panamera is an equal in nearly every category except price. With its specialized InnoDrive technology, the Panamera is a serious contender against other upper level sports and luxury vehicles. Both of these cars are built for speed and an excellent driving experience.

 
 
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