I walked almost 50 miles an hour on a mountain road just north of New York City. In front of me, the road bends to the left with only a thin metal line between the speed car and a long drop down a mountain side into the Hudson River.
I did not touch the brake pedal.
Instead, the Porsche Panamera Plug-in Hybrid of $ 1
This special Panamera had two separate cruise control devices. (The price includes both voluntary systems.) It was the familiar Active Cruise Control, which uses radar to feel and slow down for traffic. These days there is an option also on many non-luxury cars.
The other, called InnoDrive, is intended to be used when turning rural roads. You know, what kind of roads you prefer to drive a Porsche. In addition to radar that lets it detect cars forward and slowdown, it also depends on detailed map data to know when curves or hills come up. The car will not steer around the curve – it's still up to the driver – but it will automatically slow down, even use the brakes, at a safe speed for the curve, and accelerate up to speed on the way out.
I closed the system as I approached a road that was talking over a mountain. I could set the system to obey the specified speed limit – cameras have read speed interface signs or, if not, can rely on their own map data. If I wanted, I could set my preferred rate higher or lower.
I wanted to go faster.
I took a self-propelled Cadillac from New York to Washington
Panamera loaded on the mountain. As I approached the first curves, Panamera did not change the speed at all. It just went through. It did not mean that the car was unaware of the curves. It just meant that even at higher speeds I would decide that these bends were not so big. It was not necessary for Panamera to slow down.
Then the sharp left hand came with nothing but a railing and a partly cloudy sky straight ahead. A blue arrow, which turned to the left, appeared in the gauge. It was the car's way of saying "Yes, I know."
The brake pedal is moved down and the car's 8-speed gearbox is varied. I had put the car to Sport mode so that Panamera moved quite quickly. I had been warned that it could be scary, but it was not. I had already used the InnoDrive system a bit and I had learned to trust it.
Like many luxury cars, Panamera has several driving modes, including Hybrid, Sport and Sport Plus, which change how fast it responds to the accelerator and steering wheel when it switches and switches and how fast the suspension is. The InnoDrive system also plays and runs in different ways.
The self-propelled car starts the confidence of the automotive industry
When set to Hybrid mode, this car's standard, Panamera plug-in unit is slow and moved smoothly through each turn.
Even in sports, it never felt crazy or insecure. Frankly, I would probably have driven them faster than myself.
A question will of course be remembered. Do not buy any Porsche so they can do all this? TRUE. But sometimes you may just want to come somewhere and while giving your foot a rest.
When I finished reviewing InnoDrive, I closed it, turned the car and drove the same road myself with my own right foot. It was very fun.
CNNMoney (New York) First published May 9, 2018: 11:11 ET