The new Panamera is simply sublime. I wasn't a big fan of the previous model, but this - this is perfect.
Photos Joel Tam
Yes it’s really that good. Already from the outside, the new design has been tweaked at areas where it matters most. No, it’s not revolutionary but rather more evolutionary. But that’s enough for me. Because the previous Panamera had ‘meat’ in all the wrong places. The new one though has edgier lines that help to slim the car down.
Let's manage some expectations first - you’re never going to get a car that looks like a 911, as this is a 4-door sedan. So for now, this is as good as it gets. Well maybe the newly launched Sport Tourismo is better. But for a sedan, this works nicely.
Let’s step inside. The new Panamera is so technologically rich that even the aircon vent direction control can only be operated via touchscreen. Yup, it’s slow and annoying sometimes, but admit it, the idea is cool (pardon the pun)! Now if only they had a fan oscillation function - wouldn't we all love that?
So that, plus the fancy new touchscreen panel, digital instrument cluster and super comfortable seats make the interior very, very inviting. Heck, even the passengers at the back get their own touchscreen panel to control media and climate settings.
The overall design on the control panel is a bit cleaner than the model it replaces. Where numerous buttons and switches used to be on the centre console, sits a flat mirror-black panel with touch-sensitive controls. The only downside is the fingerprints that will be left there after a few days of using the car. Best to keep a handy microfibre cloth nearby to wipe it down before leaving the car.
But it’s in the drive that the Panamera brings it all together to deliver the perfect package. Despite being a large sport sedan, the car manages to feel fairly ‘compact’ to drive. Steering feel while electronically enhanced, is still weighted and steers nicely through the corners.
Power comes from a 2.9-litre V6 turbocharged unit that pushes out an adequate 326 bhp and 450 Nm of torque at 4900 rpm. This may be a ‘base’ model, but the driving experience is not entry-level at all.
Shift the gear lever to “D”, select “Sport” on the driver profile selector on the touchscreen panel and you’re in for a good time. 0-100 km/h comes in 5.5 seconds and the Panamera will hit 264 km/h if given enough road.
But more than just outright speed, the V6 is also very flexible across the whole rev range, making for effortless performance at any situation. If at anytime you need to pick up speed, just flick the paddle-shifters to manually use the quick shifting dual-clutch 8-speed PDK gearbox.
Or you could punch the Porsche Sport Response Button located on the round selector mounted on the steering wheel, which will bring out the ‘beast’ in the car and give you 20 seconds of its angriest nature.
The new Panamera is full of tech, great to drive and luxurious to be in. But it doesn’t come cheap. If you compare it to an S-Class or say a BMW 540i, it comes with a 15% premium in price. But of course when compared with an Aston Martin Rapide or a Maserati Quattroporte, it would seem like a bargain.
I guess we’ll need to do a group test with its closest rivals to see how it matches up in terms of value and brand positioning. But for now, the Porsche Panamera 3.0 PDK is pretty high up there on our want-list for sports sedans. Good job Porsche.