POISE AND POWER: REVAMPED PANAMERA BOOSTS PORSCHE’S FOUR-SEATER SALOON
Porsche has completely reworked its luxurious four-door Panamera sports saloon. We take the top of the lineturbo model for a spin to see how it fares
PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO
WHAT’S NEW? Pretty much everything, really. The second-generation Panamera Turbo has been completely reworked from the ground up, featuring improved styling, a more powerful engine and cutting-edge technology.
The new Panamera’s proportions have increased over those of the first-generation model. The car is now 34mm longer, 6mm wider and 5mm taller, while the wheelbase has also been lengthened by 30mm.
Under the bonnet, Porsche has fitted a new four-litre, twin-turbo V8, which powers all four wheels through an eightspeed, twin-clutch PDK gearbox.
While the Turbo’s powerplant may have shrunk in comparison with its predecessor’s 4.8-litre V8, power is up 30bhp to 543bhp.
The Panamera Turbo now has more pulling power than ever before, too, with the new car producing 770Nm compared with the old model’s 700Nm.
LOOKS AND IMAGE Despite a number of face lifts over the years, the first-generation Panamera was never much of a looker.
While the new car has been dramatically improved in the looks department, you would still be hard-pressed to label it a properly attractive car.
Styling cues such as a new LED light bar that stretches across the rear end of the car help to link the Panamera to the rest of the current Porsche range — a similar feature also adorns the new 718 Boxster and Cayman models.
In addition, trapezoidal quad exhausts help differentiate the Panamera Turbo from the new 4S and 4S Diesel models.
The Panamera Turbo also features a new extendable rear wing, which splits as it deploys. Not only does this help with down-force and stability, it also looks incredibly cool.
The Panamera’s interior has also been completely reworked. The majority of the traditional buttons that festooned the centre console on the old car have been done away with. Touch-sensitive buttons housed in smart-looking black panel surfacing now control the majority of the Panamera’s fixtures and fittings.
Although these new controls may not be as easy to use (or find) while on the move as traditional buttons are, they certainly make for an incredibly attractive and luxurious-feeling cabin. The Panamera’s interior more than makes up for any misgivings the car’s exterior might inspire.
Those features that aren’t operated through the buttons on the centre console are controlled through the new 12.3-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash — even the air conditioning. Other features controlled via this large, responsive screen include the online sat nav, Apple Carplay integration, and chassis set-up controls, to name but a few.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY Like any vehicle that caters towards the premium end of the saloon car section of the market, the Panamera will certainly not leave you wanting for space on the inside.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the 20mm reduction in roof line height above the rear passenger compartment has infringed on space, as Porsche claims there is now more headroom available for back seat passengers than ever before.
This is a win-win situation, as the lower roof line makes the car appear longer, lower and ultimately, better looking. Rear passengers also won’t feel shortchanged when it comes to headroom. As you would expect from a car of this nature, rear legroom is plentiful.
From a practicality point of view, the Panamera has been improved yet again. Boot space is up by 50 litres over the old model, reaching 495 litres with the rear seats in place. Fold the back seats down and this figure is increased to 1,304 litres of luggage capacity.
BEHIND THE WHEEL One thing rapidly becomes apparent the moment you set off in the Panamera Turbo: the huge amount of power the 4.0-litre V8 is capable of putting down on the road. Producing 543bhp, this new engine helps shift the car from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 190mph.
In a car this vast, experiencing such acceleration feels rather surreal, yet incredibly addictive. There is the tiniest amount of turbo lag when you first plant your foot, but as soon as the turbos kick in you’ll find yourself rocketing up to speeds that certainly wouldn’t please the local constabulary. While the V8 doesn’t make the angriest or most exciting noise in the world, at the end of the day it’s still a V8, which means it sounds good — if a little reserved.
The optional Sport Response button is also a great toy to play with, summoning the Panamera’s maximum power for 20 seconds. Once pressed, the engine’s response is dramatically sharpened, as is the shift ferocity of the PDK gearbox. This all adds up to you being thrown into the back of the comfortable, supportive seats.
Through the corners, all-wheel drive coupled with the optional active rearwheel steering system we had on our test car mean you never really feel like you’re going to run out of grip. The car’s steering is also well weighted and gives a pleasing amount of feedback.
Trundling around town, the Panamera is incredibly refined and comfortable, with road noise kept to a minimum.
Put the car on the motorway and it’s much the same story. This is a great cruising machine, with wind noise being the only intrusion you might notice as you push on. That said, even at speeds of up to 125mph on the German autobahn you still won’t find the increased wind noise all that annoying.
VALUE FOR MONEY Compared with its closest rivals, the Panamera Turbo could almost be considered something of a bargain. Porsche throws in plenty of kit as standard for the £113,075 you’ll pay for a Panamera Turbo.
This includes features such as full leather upholstery, satellite navigation displayed on the large 12.3-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple Carplay for easy iphone connectivity. You can even make your Panamera a wireless hotspot for internet access on the fly.
Considering that a Maserati Quattroporte GTS or Mercedes-amg S63 will set you back at least £115,980 and £127,675 respectively, the Panamera does make a fairly strong case for itself. Be wary of Porsche’s infamously expensive options list, however...
WHO WOULD BUY ONE? The Panamera Turbo will appeal to anyone who is after a large, luxurious saloon that is both capable of ferrying them around in a composed and comfortable manner, yet powerful enough to give them a proper adrenaline rush when the mood takes them.
Remember, this car conquered the Nurburgring in 7 minutes 38 seconds, so if you want a car you can spend a day blasting around a track in before cruising leisurely back home, this could be the one for you.