Porsche Panamera (2017) – Test Drive and Review

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The Porsche Panamera. It’s fair to say that when the first generation launched in 2009, it won as many fans as it did enemies. Some loved its fine balance between a sports car and a limousine, while others could never get over the rather challenging looks.

But for those people who always hated the way the old Panamera looks, they’re probably going to change their mind because this new one is considerably better looking. It looks far more like a four door Porsche 911. And for those people who always love the way the old car drove, were they going to love this one even more?

That’s because for the second generation Panamera, Porsche has started with a clean sheet of paper. Not only is the styling all new, but so too are the engines, the chassis and the interior. As transformations go, this is a big.

One and one of the biggest is easily to be found up here inside the interior because it is a bold vision of Porsche’s future. And from where I’m sitting, it’s a very good future indeed. Now the old car’s button heavy centre console has been replaced by this really slick looking unit. Now the controls down here, they look touch sensitive, but they’re not. Actually, if you do press down on something, there’s a nice little click to let you know that you’ve actually pressed it. It’s really, really modern in here. Up front here, we’ve got a 12.3 inch infotainment screen. It’s got the high definition quality of a TV. It looks absolutely fantastic and it’s really simple to use as a wide variety of things it can do. We’ve got media, phone navigation, and the map looks absolutely fantastic. And of course, on this particular car, we can choose all the different cars settings, which is fantastic. In front of me, it’s very much a case of old meets new because we’ve got a traditional analogue clock here for the rev counter. But to the side there are two seven inch screens. Now you can customise and configure them to a variety of settings. I mean, on this car we’ve got navigation obviously, and I’ve got my screen there, but here we’ve got night vision and if you choose it, it’s quite an expensive option. It looks really very good and is a very good safety feature. But despite it being very space age in here, Porsche has thought about the practical things. So there is a good amount of storage.

Now the glovebox is large enough for a 1.5 litre bottle of water and so are the door bins, which is very nice for those long trips across the continent. Now what’s not quite so good is the storage under here. Now these two cupholders really eat into the space. But one thing that you cannot criticize this car for is the build quality, because it is absolutely flawless.

It’s not just the execution that’s flawless, but also the design standard equipment includes LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, 19 inch alloys, sat nav with online connectivity, which includes a tracking system Apple, CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and automatic tailgate, and partially trimmed leather seats that are heated and electrically adjustable up front top models like the Turbo get air suspension and a clever three piece rear wing.

Now with the Panamera, the back seats have always been just as important as the two front seats. And on this new car it gets even better because there’s more space on offer back here. Now, there’s more knee room. That seat is set up in my driving position. I’m just over five foot ten and look at the amount of knee room I’ve got. It’s like a limousine, isn’t it? Headroom is pretty good, too, despite the sloping roofline. Look, that’s absolutely fine, isn’t it? Now, if you go for the four zone climate control option, it’s about 1100 pounds. You get this very cool screen in the centre console. Now, obviously, it gives you access to all the climate control settings, but I can also see the navigation where we’re going. We’ve also got access to media and I can see we’re listening to BBC Radio four. It’s very nice on this car. We’ve also got heated and cooling rear seats and we’ve got a rear electric blind. So it does feel just like a limousine back here practicality wise. We’ve got isofix points in both seats and I’ve got a couple of charging ports here. We’ve got an armrest with a nice little cubby. But if you’re the type of person who thinks this is too cramped for you, then Porsche will sell you an executive version on most models. Now what that gives you is an extra 150 millimetres in the wheelbase, so there’s more knee room for you.

Also, if you do go for the executive model, you can have picnic tables that fold out and screens in the back of the front seats, making your Panamera feel just like a Bentley. Now round the boot. You haven’t got the same amount of space that you’d find in a Bentley, but it’s still pretty good nevertheless. Now it’s a little bit smaller than cars like the Audi Rs7, but larger than the Mercedes SEALs. And the opening is nice and square. There’s not much of a drop down into the boot floor. Demonstrate it with this bag here and you’ll see that the space on offer is very good. Now, if you want to make it larger, Porsche does fit the Panamera as standard with three way folding seats and it just tug down on that handle, pull this one down and just clamber over. Pull this one down as well. And then look at the amount of space you’ve got on offer. It’s really good for this type of car. Porsche has also started.

With a clean sheet of paper with the engines because they’re all new for the Panamera. The entry level car gets a 325 brake horsepower, 2.9 litre V6 petrol and it’s available in two or four wheel drive. The s version takes power to 434 BHP while at the top of the range for now is the turbo with a 542 BHP four litre V8. Elsewhere for now there’s a hybrid and a four litre twin turbo V8 diesel and four wheel drive. All cars come with Porsche’s excellent.

Dual clutch gearbox. It’s the diesel we’ve got here and wow, what an engine. Now there’s 416 brake horsepower available. But what’s more impressive is the fact that this car’s total amount of torque is available from just 1000 RPM. So it means that when you prop the throttle, the power is always there. But what’s more impressive is that when you actually do prod your foot on the throttle, you’re not hurled back into your seat. It’s far more gracious than that. You just effortlessly glide towards the horizon and in so doing, picking up some extraordinary speed. The way this car picks up speed is nothing short of remarkable, and because it’s a diesel, is the most economical in the real world, too. Porsche claims it’ll do around 42 G drive sensibly and we saw 37 MP g.

When you are cruising the Panamera is in a class of its own. Now the ride comfort of this car is nothing short of remarkable. On standard 19 inch wheels, it just glides effortlessly over bumps and potholes and even on the larger 21 inch wheels like we’ve got here. The ride is never choppy, although if you do go for larger wheels, I would recommend checking the air suspension because it just smooths out the ride just a little bit. As long distance cross-continental cruises go, the Panamera is up there with the very best; But despite this amazing ride quality, the Panamera can still thrill and delight in the corners. The body control is taut and the chassis agile. The way the Panamera corners is seriously impressive for a two tonne car.

Now you’re probably wondering what are the faults? Well, there aren’t many really. If I were to be very critical, it’s. It is the steering now. Whilst I like heavy steering, it won’t really suit many people. And not only is it heavy, but is also not particularly direct. It’s fine in the most part, but for a super sports four door saloon, I would expect the steering to be just a little bit more fulsome and to give me a little bit more feedback. The only other problem with this car is, well, it affects all Porsches, not just this one. And it’s the fact that Porsche charges you some serious money. Now, all the desirable kit is left to the options list. This car starts at £97,000. But with all the options on this one, it costs £113,000.

The Panamera takes comfort and speed to a whole new level. It has mind bending performance, yet offers the running costs of a mid-sized saloon car along with the new technology inside. It’s a seriously desirable piece of kit.

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