Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • High-tech feel with large touchscreen
  • Rather too many buttons on the centre console
  • Great quality of fit and finish

How is the quality and layout?

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.

On the centre console you get sleek touch-sensitive panels. Above these sits a 12.0-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.

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.

Infotainment and tech

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.

Comfort

  • Air suspension offers great comfort
  • Roomy cabin is almost limo-like
  • Refinement and excitement well balanced

Key to the 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. The Turbo includes the cost within its basic asking price.

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.

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. 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.