Porsche’s second-generation Panamera is a luxurious fastback saloon with classleading sportiness.
260 HIGHEST KM/H HIT IN THE LATEST PANAMERA
This speed was clocked on a derestricted stretch of the German autobahn and could have been even higher with less traffic.
ALL-NEW FROM THE GROUND UP, THE PANAMERA HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED INTO A REAL HEAD-TURNER.
Porsche’s new 4-litre V8 bahnstormer is punchier, plusher and
more fuel-efficient that the old 4.8-litre V8 Panamera Turbo.
PORSCHE’S four-door luxury fastback, the Panamera, was a qualified success, at least in the US and the massive China market. The car’s sporting credentials were second to none.
Where it possibly fell short was in its polarising styling. The original Panamera’s bulbous curves and humpback rump made it the “ugly duckling” in the Porsche lineup. Its appeal would have been more universal if it had a sexier body.
The second-generation Panamera clearly addresses the earlier shortcomings, whilst building on the strengths of its predecessor. The newcomer has received improvements to its exterior and interior; upgrades to its chassis, engine and drivetrain; plus digitised displays and touch-controls to future-proof the flagship.
All-new from the ground up, the Panamera has been transformed into a real headturner. It now looks like the “stretched 911” it was intended to be. The lines are noticeably sleeker – more svelte at the front, with a lowered (by 20mm) and more rakish “flyback” roofline towards the rear, along with slimmer three-dimensional LED tail-lamps conjoined with an LED strip that accentuates the car’s rear width. Porsche’s signature four-point LED running lights distinguish the front end.
The wing mirrors get redesigned splayed mounts for better air flow-through. A familiar rear spoiler pops up at speeds above 90km/h. In the most powerful Turbo version, the spoiler even extends outwards for a “Transformer” party trick, hinting at the fastest Panamera’s performance potential.
and a sporty
There are three versions in the initial lineup – the 440bhp 2.9-litre V6 4S, the 422bhp 4-litre V8 4S Diesel (upsized from 3-litre diesel V6) and the 550bhp 4-litre V8 Turbo (downsized from 4.8-litre V8). All three are more powerful than the engines they replace.
New, too, is the quick and seamless ZF 8-speed dualclutch PDK transmission with one more cog than before.
All the new Panamera powertrains are all-wheel-drive (AWD) and twin-turbocharged, and sit on a newly engineered modular MSB platform. Said platform will be deployed for other large to medium-sized Porsches in due course.
The new Panamera is a little larger than its predecessor, though it doesn’t look it due to the sleeker styling.
It is 5049mm long (+34mm), 1937mm wide (+6mm) and 1423mm high (+5mm). To put these dimensions into perspective, the Panamera is longer than an E-Class (by 126mm) and wider than an S-Class (by 38mm), both being sizeable Mercedes limousines.
The Porsche has also gained some weight, even with the extensive use of aluminium sheets and alloy steel structures.
The 2.9-litre V6 4S, for instance, weighs 60kg more than the previous 3-litre model. The extra weight, however, is “covered” by the improved performance and better equipment across the range.
In spite of the Panamera’s rakish roofline, rear cabin space hasn’t been compromised. The 2950mm wheelbase (30mm longer than before) allows an inviting pair of backseats that cater comfortably to lanky passengers.
and a bigger
The 495-litre boot (63 litres bigger than before) can accommodate two golf bags. Fold the 60/40 split-fold rear seats and 1304 litres of cargo space is created. No two-door Porsche offers this level of utility, although the five-door Macan SUV is still a more practical cargo carrier.
The Panamera’s cockpit has been updated with higher technology and upgraded with more premium materials. There are few buttons and conventional instruments, with a high-resolution 12.3-inch touchscreen display (PCM – Porsche Communication Management) now taking centre stage as the main control module.
The PCM’s sub-controls are summoned via hand gestures, while the rest of the PCM’s functions are similar to operating a tablet – with press, swipe or pinch actions. Gadget connections, apps interface, Internet and Google connectivity, and voice actuation are now standard fare. The centre console’s touch- sensitive, glossy black panel provides “digital switchgear” to adjust various vehicle and climate- control settings. The matching air vents, which lie flush with the dash when not in use, are also electrically adjusted by touch-sensitive sliders.
The driver’s area of the Panamera dashboard looks familiar, but it’s much more sophisticated now.
The analogue tachometer at the centre of the cluster is flanked by a pair of 7-inch displays, which can be configured to replicate the traditional round-dial instrumentation and readouts. The display on the right side can also show navigation info to supplement the PCM.
As a homage to Porsche’s Le Mans heritage, you’ll need to twist a key-like fob to start the new Panamera, even though its engine ignition doesn’t require a physical key.
Both the Turbo and 4S Diesel I tested came with the optional Sport Chrono package. Its Sport Response dial, attached to the steering boss, lets you select the driving mode (Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual), and also provides a “hot button” to activate up to 20 seconds of max-boost power for ballistic pick-up.
It’s perhaps rather gimmicky, but Sport Chrono enables the Panamera Turbo to do the century sprint in a supercar-quick 3.6 seconds instead of 3.8.
It’s not just unbridled Turbo power on tap, either. For better efficiency, the twin-turbo petrol V8 puts four of its cylinders into “sleep mode” below 3500rpm, and does it imperceptibly.
On the 182km first leg of the test route, I managed 8.8km per litre, which is impressive considering the car’s heft and horsepower.
Equally impressive is the fact that the Panamera 4S Diesel is the world’s fastest diesel car (at time of writing this). It does the century sprint in 4.5 seconds (4.3 with Sport Chrono), and its 850Nm of twisting force is available from just 1000rpm.
This stonking torque makes for instantaneous and linear acceleration, from standstill till well past 200km/h.
Being an oil-burner, the 4S Diesel will still run out of puff at peak revs, but that’s academic if you don’t do any track time. Under typical urban and motorway conditions, it has all the poke that you’ll ever require.
I managed to momentarily see 235km/h on the speedometer when a stretch of the autobahn cleared, and the diesel missile was still raring to go.
Amazingly, it doesn’t feel that fast at the wheel because of the car’s composure and quiet refinement at high speed.
In fact, the diesel Panamera is marginally quieter and more relaxing than the full-blown Turbo flagship. Being a turbodiesel blessed with plenty of low-end torque means that similar velocities are attained at lower rpm, which also makes it even more frugal.
I managed an impressive 11.2km per litre in the 4S Diesel, giving it a potential cross-country range of over 800 kilometres on a 75-litre tankful of diesel.
For all my decades of driving experience, I couldn’t detect the diesel engine under the bonnet. The car even fires up with a racy “vroom”. It’s a mechanical note, minus the typical diesel clatter, and it remains buttery-smooth on the go.
Onlookers won’t know the difference either, as the previous “Diesel” badges (on the fenders) have been omitted – it’s just “Panamera 4S” now.
No doubt the Turbo feels more urgent when the revs pile up. A pity, then, that I couldn’t really test the cornering finesse of the Turbo and the 4S Diesel, due to slower traffic holding us back. Furthermore, the girth of the Panamera became more apparent on narrower country roads, requiring me to ease off and drive at saner speeds.
New to the Panamera is an integrated Porsche 4D Chassis Control system that synchronises the different elements – adaptive air suspension (standard on the Turbo), Porsche Active Suspension System (PASM, electronic control of the three-chamber dampers), Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport), Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) and the electromechanical steering system.
Everything works in concert to optimise the car’s behaviour according to road conditions and driving style.
On the go, the car feels a little more nimble and, at the same time, more limo-plush than its first-gen predecessor.
IT’S A COMBINATION OF LUXURIOUS FOUR-SEATER FASTBACK AND CAPABLE SPORTS CAR.
stretched 911”is prettier
Equally commendable is the Panamera’s insulation from extraneous noises – even at serious speeds, tyre rumbling and wind buffeting are minimal. Likewise, the purposeful engine note is always muted, unless the exhaust amplification function is activated. After all, no sporty car would be complete without a hint of pop-and-crackle on demand.
The new Panamera looks like a stretched 911, but that is where the similarity ends.
The legendary 911 will always be revered for its engaging power delivery, pin-sharp handling and flat-6 boxer mechanical wail, whereas the Panamera will be appreciated for its posh demeanour at all speeds.
Yet, the posh fastback wouldn’t break a sweat keeping pace with exotic sports cars on public roads, but its driver would still arrive in a relaxed state at the end of the journey.
As with all Porsches today, there is a long options list for the Panamera. The list includes a panoramic roof, two-tone cabin decor, ventilated massage seats, hi-fi upgrades to Bose (standard on the Turbo) or Burmester, and a pair of 10-inch multimedia touchscreens for rear passengers’ entertainment.
Two of the Panamera’s most innovative options are Night Vision Assist (a “James Bond” thermal imaging system) and InnoDrive (an electronic co-pilot). The latter works in conjunction with navigation data (such as bends, inclines and speed limits), the current traffic situation (using radar and video sensors) and the car’s adaptive cruise control to calculate the optimal acceleration/deceleration figures for the next three kilometres, and implementing them via the drivetrain and brake system.
of a German
Both features are expensive add-ons that are initially available for European Union countries. Frankly, they are superfluous for Singapore’s roads. Instead, driving aids such as lane change assistance, lane departure warning and 360-degree-view cameras should be offered as standard.
It’s unlikely the secondgeneration Panamera will sway hard-driving Porsche aficionados away from the iconic 911. But the newcomer is a combination of luxurious four-seater fastback and capable sports car, befitting the Porsche badge.
Folks who gave the first Panamera a miss because of its quirky styling will find the replacement model more attractive, in more ways than one.
The latest Porsche Panamera is scheduled to make its Singapore debut in March 2017.
PORSCHE PANAMERA 4S DIESEL 4.0 (A)
ENGINE 3956cc, 32-valves, V8, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 422bhp at 3500-5000rpm
MAX TORQUE 850Nm at 1000-3250rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 205.9bhp per tonne
GEARBOX 8-speed dual-clutch with manual select 0-100KM/H 4.5 seconds
TOP SPEED 285km/h
CONSUMPTION 14.9km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 176g/km
PRICE EXCL. COE $556,988 (no CEVS rebate/surcharge)
PORSCHE PANAMERA TURBO 4.0 (A)
TYPE V8, 32-valves, turbocharged
BORE X STROKE 86mm x 86mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.1:1
MAX POWER 550bhp at 5750-6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 770Nm at 1960-4500rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 275.7bhp per tonne
GEARBOX 8-speed dual-clutch with manual select
DRIVEN WHEELS All
0-100KM/H 3.8 seconds
TOP SPEED 306km/h
CONSUMPTION 10.8km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 212g/km
SUSPENSION FRONT Double wishbones, adaptive air suspension
REAR Multi-link, adaptive air suspension
FRONT / REAR Ventilated discs
TYPE Pirelli P Zero SIZE 275/40 R20 (front), 315/35 R20 (rear)
TRACTION AIDS ABS, PSM
KERB WEIGHT 1995kg
TURNING CIRCLE 11.9m
PRICE EXCL. COE $711,688 (after $10k CEVS surcharge)
WARRANTY 5 years/100,000km
+ SLEEK 911-INSPIRED LOOKS, PLENTY OF HIGH TECHNOLOGY, CREAMY POWER DELIVERY
- CABIN SEATS FOUR AND NOT FIVE, THE PRICE CLIMBS REALLY HIGH WHEN OPTIONED UP
LOCATION MUNICH, GERMANY