Since mid-2009 the Panamera has successfully combined the sports car experience with genuine saloon practicality. Completely revised for 2017, can the second generation still deliver?
If looks are anything to go by the new car has already succeeded, sporting a profile blessed with a Boxster-like front end treatment and a roofline that sweeps more aggressively towards a truncated rear deck - a look that is definitely more Coupe than Sedan. However, one mustn't forget the Panamera was a hit was because it offered genuine seating for four along with folding seats and a hatchback rear for easy storage. Even though it looks leaner than its predecessor, the Panamera has actually grown in its proportions – 34mm in length and 5mm in height and 6mm width, all of which should help retain practicality.
Yet despite the increased dimensions, the car weighs about the same as before and benefits from increased rigidity thanks to Porsche’s new MSB platform, with most of the structure and bodywork wrought in aluminium along with sections of high-strength steel added in for good measure. Should you desire more handling prowess, a whole suite of acronymed witchcraft is offered, such as PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), PTV (Porsche Torque Vectoring) and Rear Wheel Steering, all of which help to keep this large Porscheagile at all speeds. All this trickery is optimized on-the-go by Porsche’s 4D chassis management system.
Propelling this technological tour-de-force down the road is a choice of two new engines for now, both of which employ a “Hot-V” design which places its twin turbos right in the “V” of the engine for quicker response. The Panamera 4S will have a 2.9 liter V6 with 440hp and 551Nm of torque, while top-of-the-line Turbo will have a 4 liter V8 with 550hp and 769Nm of torque.
Both engines kick power to all four wheels via a new 8-speed PDK double-clutch gearbox, yielding a 100km/h sprint time of 4.2 and 3.6 seconds respectively. That gives the 4S enough performance to bait a 911 Carrera and puts the Turbo squarely amongst the world’s quickest sports cars, being faster than the Jaguar F-Type R and equal with the Mercedes AMG GTS. All the while delivering fuel economy of 8.2L/100KM and 9.4L/100KM respectively; not bad for a large four-door with so much performance on tap.
And yet for all this performance, the interior is available with all the amenities you’d expect in a luxury saloon, with massaging seats, panoramic sunroof, a Burmeister sound system and Porsche InnoDrive, a system which ties in the adaptive cruise control and GPS maps to anticipate not only when to accelerate and decelerate, but even when to coast, taking into account everything from speed limits to bends and dips in the road.
Should you finally decide to take control, the Panamera now offers up a cleaner cockpit that will hopefully be easier to use than its button-laden predecessor, with piano black touch surfaces and a 12.3-inch touchscreen doing their part to reduce clutter. Center your gaze ahead, and a large central tachometer is flanked by dual 7-inch touchscreens to give you all the information you need at a glance.
With such a tantalizing mix of ingredients that promise to make the new Panamera faster, nimbler and more luxurious while wrapped up in a more stylistic package, it is looking to be hot property even before it hits the dealer forecourt, which is estimated to start happening at the start of 2017.