The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Head To Head -

VALUE This is ex­pen­sive, even by Porsche stan­dards. The flag­ship of the new Panamera range at­tracts about $100,000 in lux­ury car tax and it will be $404,500 on the road. The price climbs rapidly once a few extras are added, such as sports ex­haust ($6950), 21-inch wheels ($6540), rear axle steer­ing ($4990), sport chrono lap tim­ing pack­age ($4790), 18-way elec­tri­cally ad­justable front seats ($3190) and ad­justable rear seats ($4690). The list goes on. DE­SIGN In Porsche’s sec­ond at­tempt at a sedan; the ex­te­rior styling is more co­he­sive than the first (2010-16). Great­est im­prove­ments are in­side. The su­per high-res­o­lu­tion touch­screen has iPhone-style func­tion­al­ity and clar­ity. You can drag and drop favourite ra­dio sta­tions in the dis­play. Metal switches and a “float­ing” pi­ano-black panel for the air­con con­trols ooze lux­ury. The touch­screen ad­justs the di­rec­tion of the cen­tral air vent — that’s too com­pli­cated. Rear oc­cu­pants have their own screen to view the nav­i­ga­tion and more. EN­GINE The twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 (404kW/770Nm) is matched to an eight-speed twin-clutch auto and all-wheel drive. It does a solid job of shift­ing the 2070kg sedan, do­ing 0-100km/h in 3.6 sec­onds (we matched this us­ing satel­lite tim­ing gear). Even with the op­tional sports ex­haust, it’s muted com­pared with the Mercedes. SAFETY Ten airbags are stan­dard, as are au­to­matic emer­gency brak­ing and crash mit­i­ga­tion linked to radar cruise con­trol (the bea­cons are in place of fog lights). Brak­ing per­for­mance is in­cred­i­ble — six-pis­ton calipers on metal discs pulled up from 100km/h to 0 in our test in a smidgen over 34m — up there with the best sports-cars and shorter than the AMG with op­tional F1-style car­bon ce­ramic discs. DRIV­ING De­spite the sporty looks, it’s a serene ma­chine. Rid­ing on air sus­pen­sion, it feels like you’re on a pil­low-top mat­tress. It rolls on the same Pirelli P Zero tyres as the AMG (al­beit a dif­fer­ent size). The Panamera is qui­eter than the Benz, pos­si­bly due to hav­ing more sound dead­en­ing ma­te­rial. The ac­cu­racy of the steer­ing de­fies the senses. Down­sides? The auto shift­ing can some­times be too abrupt, thump­ing be­tween changes.

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