Porsche Panamera: the best just got better
Sun Moon Lake, Taoyuan, Taiwan—Porsche recently invited motoring journalists for a dynamic driving experience at the scenic lake-town of Northern Taiwan Province to sample Porsche’s latest 4-door sportswear Gran Turismo, the all-new second-generation Panamera.
As with any Porsche event, driving was intense, the scenery was beautiful, and the technology behind the latest Panamera proved why Porsche is a true favorite among car enthusiasts, and remains one of the most profitable car companies worldwide.
The all-new second-generation Panamera, at first glance, can easily be mistaken for Porsche’s most iconic model, the 911 sports car.
The rear sloping fast-back roofline is 20 mm lower, bringing it closer to the vaunted 911’s overall silhouette.
All exterior panels of the Panamera are finally made in aluminum, which helps bring down the weight of the Gran Turismo, despite packing more or everything.
The all-new Panamera is 5,050 mm in length, 1,935 mm wide, and 1,423 mm tall, making it 35 mm longer, 5 mm wider and 5 mm taller than its predecessor.
Wheelbase has been stretched to 2,950 mm, 30 mm more than its predecessor, which helps increase interior cabin space and comfort, and gives improved high-speed stability.
The front wheels, in particular, have moved further forward, reducing front overhang and creating a more dynamic stance.
LED headlights and the 4-dot daytime running lights illuminate the road at all times.
The 3D effect of the LED rear tail lamps finally ties in the Panamera to the Macan, and will be a prominent feature in all future Porsche models.
Overall, the body sculpting is tighter, more pronounced, and more athletic, a welcome departure from the rounded and soft features of the previous Panamera.
The interior is a true masterclass. Porsche’s advanced cockpit does away with buttons, and instead has back-lit, touch-sensitive panels that offer a more intuitive touch-screen interaction.
The few remaining buttons feature knurled aluminum finish, a feature commonly found in ultra upscale limousines.
The steering wheel is of the same design as the Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid hypercar, with auxiliary controls mounted on the spokes for the multi-info display system and the infotainment system.
No less than five LCD screens now display vital information to the driver: the main rev counter remains an analog affair, but the two screens on each side of it—a Porsche tradition of having five main instrument displays in front of the driver—are all digital, and can change views and display a variety of information such as oil and coolant temperatures, G-force meter, navigation, and so many more.
The center display is a large 12.3-inch LCD panel that is touch screen as well, and displays settings for a wide variety of creature comforts in-car known as Porsche Communication Management or PCM.
PCM also offers Apple CarPlay as standard, making integration of your Apple mobile media device seamless.
The seats are 14-way adjustable powered items that comfortably hug your back and offer seat heating and cooling as options.
Of course, everything is covered in soft, perforated leather. And to truly complete the ambiance, LED mood lights activate at night, plus a standard 10-speaker hi-fi system delivering a total of 1500 watts leaves a truly unforgettable aural experience for the occupants when sporty driving isn’t on the cards.
The all-new Porsche Panamera comes with a bevy of new six- and eight-cylinder engines.
The base Panamera has a turbo V6 engine delivering 330 hp and 440 Newton meters of torque, all the way to the Turbo S e-Hybrid variant which delivers a mind-boggling 680 hp and 840 Nm of torque.
A new 8-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission is available on all models, which delivers seamless, CVT-like shifting. The improved gearing helps fuel economy on the highway.
Additionally, the V8 turbo petrol models have a cylinder deactivation feature that turns the V8 into a miserly 4-cylinder engine on the highway.
All-wheel drive is available on the more powerful variants, and rear-wheel drive is standard on the base models.
A new rear wheel axle steer is also available on the more powerful all-wheel drive variants, aiding agility and responsiveness on tight roads.
A diesel V8 option is now available, delivering an earth-stopping 850 Nm of torque mated to 422 hp from a low 1,000 rpm to 3,250 rpm.
The all-new Panamera Turbo features Porsche’s latest iteration of Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control with Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus and Porsche Active Suspension Management.
These electronic aids offer a bevy of driving modes from normal, sport and sport plus, matching engine response, PDK shift-speed, steering effort and suspension damping to deliver the most comfortable ride and the most dynamic, track-inspired responsiveness and stability.
The base V6 model has a top speed of 264 km/h, while the V8 diesel S can reach 285 km/h. The Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid, on the other hand, can hit 306 km/h.
Ten airbags are standard, as well as ABS-EBD brakes with emergency brake assist, traction/stability control, and for the first time, progressive cornering lighting called PDLS. The Panamera also has night vision assist wherein infra-red images are displayed on the LCD display to the right of the main rev counter during night time driving for improved visibility and safety.
The all-new Panamera exceeds current NCAP and NHTSA crash-impact safety regulations, with full marks on passenger safety and cabin integrity.
Light sensors allow the high-beam to activate and deactivate automatically during night time driving, relieving the driver of stress and effort while being more conscientious to other motorists at night.
Our drive saw us cover just over 200 kilometers, mostly fast, winding switchback mountain passes and a fair bit of highway driving.
Some of the roads around Sun Moon Lake were barely wide enough to let the Panamera pass through, let alone conquer at a frenetic pace.
The steering, an all-new electro-hydraulic design, is light but delivers impressive feel and accuracy.
The brakes offer that confident modulation that allows you to tackle corners with a devil-may-care attitude, and the suspension soaks up all the huge undulations and fast sweeping corners with absolute ease and confidence.
Despite being inside a large saloon that tips the scales between 1,815 to 1,890 kg (depending on the variant), the Panamera remains as composed, as responsive, agile, and exciting as a proper sports car, despite having seating for four plus luggage in the boot.
On the highway, the Panamera is relaxed, composed and yet very alert, ready to turn into a sports saloon from an executive limousine at the prod of the throttle and the flick of the paddle shifters to drop down a gear or two.
Left in full automatic mode on normal drive and suspension settings, you can easily fall asleep in the comfort of the Panamera’s cabin.
Undoubtedly, the Porsche offers a true Jekyll-and-Hyde persona.
The Panamera is an impressive jack-of-all-trades. Depending on spec and variant, it’s a very fuel efficient yet stylish saloon that’s achingly desirable, or it can be a true weekend getaway vehicle offering exciting pace that can shame smaller, lighter cars on winding roads, delivering comfort and refinement one expects of a true luxury saloon, and yet having that all-important emotional connection to the driver.
Best part? You can do a truly impressive cross-continental drive in a Panamera in sheer comfort and excitement, packing friends and luggage along.
As Porsche proudly says, the Panamera is truly the sports car in the four-door Gran Turismo segment.