Only the more dedicated petrolheads know of the Carrera Panamericana - the 3,300-kilometre road race from the north to the south of Mexico that ran in the 1950s and was billed as one of the most gripping events of its kind. The race was resurrected in 1988 as a classic rally and its name has been embraced by Porsche as a suitable moniker for its cars. The company has just brought out a new model that is every bit as dynamic and thrilling as the legendary Mexican contest. Long before the Porsche Panamera made its global debut at Auto Shanghai last April, Porsche aficionados had been putting down deposits to ensure they would be among the very first to hit the road behind the wheel of the new model in Hong Kong. 'Despite the economic downturn, the Panamera has been selling very well,' said Porsche marketing manager Mabel Wong. 'The confidence level in Porsche has remained constant, and the new model has a great appeal.' The new car comes in three flavours - the Panamera Turbo, the Panamera 4S and the Panamera S. Significantly, the Panamera is the very first four-door, four-seat Gran Turismo from Porsche, indicating a bold step towards the family market. 'An owner who might have driven a Porsche previously, and who has since married and had children, might well not want to lose that feeling of driving a Porsche,' Wong said. 'The Panamera is the answer - able to accommodate the driver and three passengers. With all the unique sports car characteristics of a genuine Porsche, the Panamera delivers a profound feeling of space and comfort hitherto unseen in the luxury performance class.' All three Panamera models feature a super-powerful 4.8-litre V8 engine and direct fuel injection, the first auto start/stop system that works in conjunction with double clutch transmission, and new adaptive air suspension with add-on volume available in each wheel spring. Active aerodynamics that incorporate a multidimensional and extendable spoiler at the rear grants the Panamera greater stability and fuel efficiency while not intruding on the car's celebrated sporty performance. Such a superlative vehicle naturally attracts a price tag to match, with starting prices at HK$1,485,000 for the Panamera S, HK$1,565,000 for the 4S and HK$2,263,000 for the Panamera Turbo. The Panamera S, equipped with the Sport Chrono Package, can accelerate up to 100km/h in a mere 5.2 seconds using its 400bhp power unit, with an incredibly economical fuel consumption rate of just 10.8 litres per 100 kilometres. The 4S, equipped with exactly the same engine but with all-wheel drive, can reach 100km/h in 4.8 seconds, using just 11.1 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres. The Turbo is also fitted with all-wheel drive, but its twin-turbo technology ensures a maximum output of 500bhp and it sprints from a standing start to 100km/h in four seconds flat.