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Porsche offers a computer-controlled cruise control for winding roads



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I drove almost 50 miles per hour on a mountain road north of New York City. In front of me, the road curved sharply to the left with a thin metal railing between the raging car and a long fall into the Hudson River.

I did not touch the brake pedal.

Instead, the $ 1

20,000 Porsche Panamera plug-in hybrid slowed down on its own, driving me around the corner. When I unfolded the steering wheel, the car accelerated back to speed alone.

This particular Panamera had two different cruise control systems. (The price includes both optional systems.) There was the well-known "Active Cruise Control," which uses radar to capture and slow traffic. These days, this is an option even for many non-luxury cars.

The other, called InnoDrive, is intended for use on winding country roads. You know, the streets where you would most like to drive a Porsche. In addition to the radar with which it can detect and slow down cars ahead, it also requires detailed map data to know when turns or hills appear. The car will not go around the bend – it's still up to the driver – but it automatically slows down, even when braking, to a safe cornering speed and speeds up again on the way out.

  prosche panamera
The Porsche Panamera four-door is available with InnoDrive technology that can handle brakes and accelerate on winding roads.

I turned on the system as I approached a road winding over a mountain. I could set the system to meet the specified speed limit – it has cameras to read speed limit signs, or if that's not possible, it can rely on its own map data. If I wanted, I could set my preferred speed higher or lower.

I wanted to go faster.

The Panamera stormed up the mountain. As I approached the first corners, the Panamera did not change the speed at all. It just went through. That did not mean that the car did not know the bends. It just meant that even at the higher speed I had set, these bends were not a big deal. The Panamera did not need to slow down.

Then came the sharp left-hander with nothing but a railing and a partly cloudy sky straight ahead. A blue arrow, which curved to the left, appeared in the oak pile. It was the way the car said, "Yes, I know."

The brake pedal went down and the car's 8-speed gearbox was downshifted. I had put the car in the Sport mode, so the Panamera moved fast nicely . I had been warned that it might be scary, but it was not. I've already used the InnoDrive system a bit and learned to trust it.

Like many luxury cars, the Panamera has various modes of driving, such as Hybrid, Sport and Sport Plus, that change how quickly it reacts to accelerator and steering wheel, when it shifts and shifts, and how tight the suspension is. The InnoDrive system also plays and drives differently.

In hybrid mode, the vehicle's default setting, the Panamera plug-in slows down and moves slowly through each turn.

Even in sports mode, it never felt crazy or insecure. Honestly, I would probably have driven faster through these bends myself.

One question comes to mind, of course. Does anyone buy a Porsche so he can do it all himself? True. But sometimes you might just want to go somewhere and while you rest.

As far as I'm concerned, when I worked through InnoDrive, I turned it off, turned the car over, and rode the same road with my own right foot. It was much more fun.

CNNMoney (New York) First published May 9, 2018: 11:11 ET

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