RAPID TRANS­PORT

The all-new Panam­era wins more fans with added style and clever tech­nol­ogy

Car (South Africa) - - DRIVE - PORSCHE PANAM­ERA 4S PDK AND PANAM­ERA TURBO PDK PRICES: ETA:

IN the lex­i­con of Ger­man road signs, three di­ag­o­nal lines on a cir­cu­lar sign-board mean one thing: un­re­stricted au­to­bahn. With a fast-for­ward com­mand from the driver, the Panam­era 4S’ new 2,9-litre tur­bopetrol V6 clears its throat and the eight-speed PDK (dual-clutch) trans­mis­sion swiftly se­lects the ap­pro­pri­ate gear. The thrust and rate of speed ac­cu­mu­la­tion are impressive, only slow­ing marginally after an in­di­cated 230 km/h. When traf c con­di­tions even­tu­ally cur­tail the storm­ing run, the nee­dle nudges the 260 km/h mark. That’s impressive given the fact that the oc­cu­pants are co­cooned in the serene cabin and largely obliv­i­ous to the tar­mac streak­ing past be­neath them.

The per­for­mance po­ten­tial of the old Panam­era was never in ques­tion, but the same could not be said about the odd-ball styling. The lat­ter, there­fore, was one of the main fo­cus ar­eas on the new ve­hi­cle. Built on the brand-new Mod­u­lar Stan­dard Driv­e­train Plat­form, the Porsche is 34 mm longer, 6 mm wider, and 5 mm taller than the model it re­places. The di­men­sional change that im­pacts the pro­por­tions most, how­ever, is the 30 mm longer wheel­base. The front axle is now no­tice­ably closer to the nose, min­imis­ing the over­hang. The sil­hou­ette is clearly still Panam­era, but now al­to­gether more “sportscar”.

Up front, the clean de­sign is high­lighted by the LED head­lamps that each fea­ture 109 sep­a­rate el­e­ments, and the four- point day­time-run­ning lamps are rem­i­nis­cent of the WEC Porsche 919 racer. The rear is clearly mod­elled on that of the cur­rent 911, with hor­i­zon­tal el­e­ments run­ning be­tween the slim tail units; the end re­sult is a ve­hi­cle that is far more aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing than its pre­de­ces­sor.

In the Panam­era, Porsche has launched its new Ad­vanced Cock­pit and the re­sult is a leap in tech­nol­ogy and de­sign, with cen­tre stage oc­cu­pied by a vast 12,3-inch touch­screen dis­play con­nected to the new in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. With sim­i­lar op­er­a­tion to a smart­phone, it fea­tures two- nger zoom­ing and scrolling via swipe mo­tions. The in­stru­ment clus­ter still has a cen­tral, ana­logue rev counter in true Porsche tra­di­tion, but it is anked by two seven-inch screens that are fully cus­tomis­able via the con­trol but­tons on

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