New Porsche Panamera Review

2 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on New Porsche Panamera Review
Porsche Panamera

First drive review: Porsche Panamera

Jonathan Hawley

New Porsche Panamera

New Porsche Panamera 4S.

While the#160; plug-in hybrid version of the new Panamera #160;is grabbing headlines for its combination of usefully low fuel consumption and better than average performance, the fact is that#160; Porsche #160;has also waved its magic wand over the rest of the range.

Although the Panamera is far from being a high-selling car by world standards #8211; about 29,000 of the current model find homes annually around the world #8211; the new model is available with an almost bewildering array of engines, transmissions, and now even body sizes.

That includes no less than six different engines, both new and revised, starting with a naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 in the base car, though a V6 diesel, a smaller 3.0-litre petrol V6 turbo, a different 3.0-litre supercharged V6 in the S E-Hybrid and a 4.8 litre-V8 both turbocharged and not.

The 3.0-litre turbo V6 that goes into the $287,000 S and the $22,000 more expensive all-wheel-drive 4S is possibly the most interesting. It replaces the 4.8-litre V8 in the current model and while smaller in capacity manages to out-power it by producing 309kW instead of 294kW, giving the new model more acceleration and a higher top speed according to Porsche#8217;s figures.

Despite the extra grunt, the new engine uses less fuel and produces less carbon dioxide.

If the plug-in hybrid is a view of one possible future for Porsche then this is another: this engine is sure to power the upcoming#160; Macan small SUV #160;and the#160; existing Cayenne . but is just as likely to be used in an upcoming coupe based on the Panamera.

Porsche engineers say this V6 #8211; which is simplistically a cut down version of the existing V8 with two less cylinders #8211; can easily be boosted to much higher power levels and so its 309kW output is just the beginning.

In the Panamera S it works a treat, providing ample pulling power low in the rev range. Maximum torque of 520Nm is developed at just 1750rpm, almost 2000rpm lower than the outgoing V8. That means that with the big four-door Panamera in cruise mode it will waft along sedately with little effort required from the driver to cover distances quickly and comfortably.

But it is also something of a powerhouse when pushed hard. At full throttle, with the turbos force-feeding the engine at maximum boost there#8217;s no lack of acceleration, and Porsche claims the 1810kg Panamera S will hit 100km/h from standstill in 5.1 seconds. Despite being 60kg heavier again, the 4S cuts that back to 4.8 seconds thanks to better traction off the line.

The only downside is that if you like the noise a V8 makes, the new Panamera S is sure to disappoint. From within the cabin you can hear the turbo V6 sucking lots of air, but there#8217;s precious little exhaust noise and nothing in the way of blood and thunder.

That#8217;s all provided by the Panamera GTS which is patently the sportiest model in the range, despite having a less powerful engine than the more expensive Turbo model. At $318,300 the GTS is not cheap but it does prove there#8217;s life in the V8 yet: not only does the exhaust snuffle and snarl when the engine is prodded but it steers more directly, has abundant grip on its fatter tyres and the air-sprung suspension is tuned for flat handling and abundant entertainment.

Perhaps surprisingly, the $382,000 Turbo is tuned more for comfort despite being more powerful than the naturally aspirated GTS, with 382kW on tap versus 324. Its secret is more abundant torque for sledgehammer getaways at low speed, and it even uses less fuel than the GTS because its engine needs less revs for more performance.

But it doesn#8217;t have the same finely honed steering, the exhaust note is more subdued and the race-style suede steering wheel in the GTS is also missing from the Turbo. In simple terms, one is a very big hot hatch, the other more a grand tourer.

There will also be a Turbo S model arriving next year with a boosted power curve if the standard Turbo#8217;s 305km/h top speed and 0-100km/h time of 4.1 seconds isn#8217;t enough.

Although at first glance the facelifted Panamera doesn#8217;t look terribly different to the original model, Porsche has done a surprising amount of work to massage the design of its large and somewhat ungainly liftback.

The front end gets a new bumper skin which has allowed for reshaped headlights (that are standard bi-xenon units with LED headlamps optional) and more horizontal elements to the cooling ducts to give the car a flatter, wider look. On top of that, there#8217;s a new bonnet with a more pronounced power bulge.

At the rear there#8217;s also a new bumper and reshaped tail lamps, and the licence plate holder has been lowed closer to ground level. The tailgate is all new with increased glass area and a powered lift function, but despite the extra daylight opening it#8217;s still a difficult car from which to see rearward from the driver#8217;s seat.

Suspension has been revised across the range for greater ride comfort, a move that is most noticeable in the conventionally sprung versions such as the S, which feels almost sumptuous in the way in handles bumps compared with the somewhat harsh ride of the previous version.

Air sprung models such as the Turbo, GTS and E-Hybrid have also benefitted from new shock absorber settings and more solid front suspension mounts and it is something of an achievement by Porsche to now provide a better than average degree of comfort with epic amounts of grip.

That said, in any version the Panamera never feels anything other that a wide, heavy car on twisting roads. It is fast, but quite unlike Porsche#8217;s smaller sports cars. Where the Panamera comes into its own is on relatively high-speed flowing roads, where the combination of ample power and sheer size make it an interesting alternative to other large sedans.

For those who have the money, at least.

23 comments so far

Butt ugly and outrageously expensive. At least a Subaru, Nissan or Toyota is affordable. I love the idea of 1800kg+ cars trying to be green, especially when it’s a car the market never asked for.

Commenter daffy Location Date and time June 28, 2013, 11:43AM

Cold hard truth the Panamera is Porsches number 1 seller. Thankfully you are not their cast designer, you would send them bankrupt

Commenter hj Location Date and time June 28, 2013, 7:41PM

Yes, but those three manufacturers you mentioned make cars that don’t come close to any Porsche, nor should they be mentioned in any discussion with Porsche.

Commenter Wes Mantooth Location Date and time June 28, 2013, 8:46PM

Oh well, if second best (Porsche there is no substitute) floats your boat, spend your doe on one of those lesser marques. Fact is you don’t always drive a race track and those brands are really quite cheap and nasty compared to the Porsche.

Commenter Nick Location Melbourne Date and time June 29, 2013, 3:36AM

Hj, the Panamera or the Cayenne.

I’d suggest the Cayenne is.

Commenter Timothy Location Melbourne Date and time June 29, 2013, 11:14AM

I love the Panamera’s unconventional looks, It’s unique, is sumptuous, faaast and looks like nothing else. S-Class, 7 Series, LS, A8. all yawnsville by comparison.

Commenter Seats and a steering wheel Location Date and time June 29, 2013, 12:20PM

@hj, the Cayenne is Porsche’s best seller. Another fact fail from an internet warrior.

Commenter Jman Location Melb Date and time June 30, 2013, 5:24PM

As the owner of a Beemer and a Merc I should be the last to complain about car pricing, but really, is Porsche taking the piss with this specific model? I just can’t reconcile the value equation with the Panamera.

Commenter JA Location Date and time June 28, 2013, 11:53AM

Still a bus. still wondering what they are thinking.

Commenter P. Man Location RS Forever Date and time June 28, 2013, 12:09PM

Gee that’s one ugly back end. it looks like it back into a cable when the plastic was still hot. I’m guess the styling is directed towards China.

Commenter Jman Location Melb Date and time June 28, 2013, 12:20PM

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