Porsche's most luxurious model is still mighty fast
- Very fast, luxury travel
- High-tech, comfortable cabin
- Cutting-edge driving technology
- Refined but exciting to drive
- Limited range of models at launch
- Budget extra to buy options
This is the second-generation version of the Porsche Panamera, the German sports car maker’s large four-door model. All-new from the ground up, it now offers an even more rounded blend of high-performance driver enjoyment and luxury saloon comfort, enhanced by a sophisticated array of cutting-edge on-board and chassis technology.
Porsche has even improved the way it looks – though still not a classic beauty, the second-generation Panamera’s styling is far less heavy-handed than before, especially around the rear, where there is now a clear resemblance to the firm’s trademark 911 range.
Longer and stronger
The redesign has also made it much roomier on the inside – especially for passengers travelling in the rear – while the new structure is lighter, stronger and more versatile than before, allowing not only for a forthcoming stretched wheelbase version but also a “shooting brake” style estate variant that will be called the Sport Turismo.
At launch, however, the regular Panamera is available in just one bodystyle, with three engine choices (all brand new too) and four-wheel drive. It is a serious challenger to rivals such as the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe, the Maserati Quattroporte and the Mercedes-Benz CLS – though in terms of comfort levels it’s also right up there with the Mercedes S-Class as well.
Porsche Panamera engines
Those launch engine choices are a 440hp 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol and a 422hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 diesel, both badged 4S, and a 550hp 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol badged Turbo. We have driven all of them.
There are no trim levels as such, as Porsche links equipment specification to engine and model name – so the 4S models have a slightly lower level of fitted kit than the Turbo but each engine only comes in that single spec. A comprehensive optional extras list allows for plenty of customer personalisation, though be prepared to pay a hefty cost. Porsche is a top level premium brand, and knows how to charge accordingly.
Lesser V6 petrol and diesel models, two “performance” hybrid variants and even more driver-focused cars (GTS and Turbo S) are all expected to join the range later; rear-wheel drive will be offered as well, but only on less powerful Panameras. All, however, will come fitted as standard with the new eight-speed version of the dual-clutch automatic transmission that Porsche calls PDK; there is no manual gearbox option at all. As we have come to expect, the new car is both faster and more economical than the one it replaces.
More of the latest technology
New technology for the new Panamera includes a driver assistance system called InnoDrive, a much improved multimedia system, three-chamber air suspension for even better ride quality, rear-wheel steering for greater agility and stability, and a more efficient electro-mechanical active anti-roll stabilisation in place of the previous hydraulic setup.
The last three are optional (with the exception that air suspension comes as standard on the Turbo, and at launch is also the only suspension available on the other models – meaning customers are required to pay an extra charge on the 4S variants until August 2017…), but are completely integrated into a new system called Porsche 4D Chassis Control that does come as standard.
Porsche 4D Chassis Control coordinates all of the driving tech into one holistic package, giving the Panamera remarkably fleet-footed responses – not just for a car that is over five metres long but full stop.
In fact, the new Panamera has an exceptionally wide breadth of ability. Click the Driving tab above to continue reading our full Porsche Panamera review.