For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Panamera have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The BMW M3 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Panamera are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW M3 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Panamera offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The M3 doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
Both the Panamera and the M3 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, plastic fuel tanks, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Panamera third among large premium cars in their 2013 Initial Quality Study. The M3 isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 18th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche second in reliability, above the industry average. With 39 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 16th.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid’s standard 3.0 supercharged V6 hybrid produces 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (435 vs. 406) than the M3’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The Panamera GTS’ standard 4.8 DOHC V8 produces 15 more horsepower (440 vs. 425) than the M3’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. The Panamera Turbo’s standard 4.8 turbo V8 produces 95 more horsepower (520 vs. 425) and 110 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 406) than the M3’s 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The M3 must run its internal combustion engine to move.
Regenerative brakes improve the Panamera’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The M3 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The Panamera Hybrid/V6/S RWD’s standard fuel tank has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the M3 (21.1 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Panamera S4/GTS/Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 10.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the M3 (26.4 vs. 15.8 gallons).
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Panamera offers optional 20-inch wheels. The M3’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.
The Panamera offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. BMW doesn’t offer an active suspension on the M3.
The Panamera has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Panamera’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The M3 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Panamera’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the M3 (115 inches vs. 110.7 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Panamera is 3 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the M3.
For better maneuverability, the Panamera S E-Hybrid’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the M3’s (39 feet vs. 40 feet). The Panamera’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the M3’s (39.3 feet vs. 40 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Panamera is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the M3 is rated a Compact.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Panamera’s available rear seats recline. The M3’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Panamera has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the M3 (15.7 vs. 13 cubic feet).
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the Panamera has a standard power rear liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The M3 doesn’t offer a power trunk.
The Panamera offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The M3 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the M3, the Panamera offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position (with optional power wheel adjuster), outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The Panamera’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The M3 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Panamera’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The M3 does not have an oil pressure gauge.
The Panamera’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The M3’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Panamera offers an optional rear wiper. The M3 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
The Panamera’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The M3 doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.
To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Panamera offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The M3 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.
To help keep rear passengers entertained, the Panamera offers optional rear seat controls for the radio which can play a separate audio source. The M3 doesn’t offer rear seat audio controls.
The Panamera offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The M3 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.