Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • High-tech feel with large touchscreen and fewer buttons
  • Great quality of fit and finish

The Porsche Panamera is a pricey, premium car – but you won’t have any trouble understanding where the money went from behind the wheel. Build quality is top notch.

Under the influence of Tesla

Replacing the massed ranks of individual buttons on the previous model’s centre console are sleek touch-sensitive panels. Above these sits a 12-inch widescreen display containing a new multimedia system that has been heavily influenced by smartphones, being relatively intuitive to operate, easy to customise and responsive to multi-touch gestures,  such as pinching to zoom in the standard sat-nav.

Porsche Panamera 2016 interior

There are more screens either side of the central revcounter – the only analogue instrument left in the car, aside from the dash-top clock you get with the Sport Chrono Package – and another for passengers to play with in the back. All of which gives the Panamera a very modern air, one that Porsche acknowledges has been influenced by the success of premium electric-car maker Tesla.

Too much tech for its own good?

Generally speaking it’s all fairly straightforward to use, but as usual with touchscreen-dominated in-car control interfaces, there remains a sneaking suspicion that buttons are still easier to use and less distracting for the driver.

A point in case here is the central air vent, which is entirely operated from within the touchscreen display, including the angle you want to point it. You have to take your eyes off the road for far longer than you would with a conventional vent as a result. It smacks of Porsche doing something because it can, rather than because it makes things better.

Is it comfortable?

  • Air suspension offers great comfort
  • Roomier cabin now more limo-like
  • Refinement and excitement well balanced

Key to the aforementioned limo-like comfort is the second-generation Porsche Panamera’s air suspension, which uses three air chambers (one more than the previous version) for maximum cushiness.

Even the firmest of the three available settings feels tolerable on the motorway; while rougher surfaces leave it feeling a little unsettled. The softer settings will certainly keep you untroubled over all but the very worst potholes or bumps, even if you decide to go for the optional 21-inch alloy wheels.

Air suspension optional - or is it?

It’s a good job the air suspension works to well, because until August 2017 Panamera 4S customers will be forced to pay an extra charge for it, as the regular suspension is “unavailable” until then. The Turbo includes the cost within its basic asking price.

Porsche Panamera 4S rear, grey

Porsche is a sporty brand, so its customers generally expect to hear some engine noise in the cabin, and consider this a positive part of the experience – assuming the sound is a pleasant one.

Sounds sporty

In the new Panamera this is particularly well managed, as not only are those sounds charismatic during more spirited driving, they drop away to virtual silence when you’re simply at a cruise. For instance, your passengers will never suspect the 4S Diesel is actually a diesel on the inside (and Porsche has this time elected to remove the Diesel badges from the outside).

This caveat aside, refinement is excellent; wind and road noise is well contained right up to motorway speeds, where normal conversation is easily maintained. Simply put, if you’ve got a long way to travel and you like to go both quickly and comfortably, there is little to find fault with here.