The wraps have come off the all-new 2017 Porsche Panamera and it’s almost pretty.
Even though the new car is instantly recognisable as a Panamera, the detailing is more sophisticated and it appears less bulky than before. That’s quite an achievement, as the car has grown considerably of its predecessor.
35mm has been added to the length (up to 5050mm) and 5mm to the width and height. But Porsche’s stylists have played some clever visual tricks, lengthening the wheelbase by 30mm and dropping the roof over the rear by 20mm. The overall effect is to make the Panamera appear longer and sleeker.
I still don’t think you could call the Panamera beautiful, but it’s certainly a vast improvement over the seven-year old original, which I always thought looked like a salamander.
You can definitely call the Panamera fast, though. Like, seriously fast. Power comes from brand-new V6 and V8 engines, headlined by the 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 in the Panamera Turbo. It churns out the same 542bhp as the old 4.8-litre Turbo S, along with a mountainous 586lb/ft of torque.
Driving all four wheels through a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the new Turbo fires from 0-62mph in a scant 3.6secs – with the optional Sport Chrono pack, which always shaves 0.2secs off the sprint regardless of what model it’s fitted to. The turbos are mounted in the ‘v’, improving response and efficiency. Top speed is 190mph and, thanks to cylinder deactivation, it’ll do 30mpg. (It also has the coolest spoiler in history, as you can see in the video above.)
The economy king of the range, though, is the Panamera 4S Diesel. It employs a twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 making 416bhp and – ahem – 626lb/ft of torque from 1000-3250rpm. That’s enough to make it the fastest production diesel in the world, with a 0-62mph time of 4.3secs with the Sport Chrono pack and a top speed of 177mph. And yet Porsche claims it returns combined economy of 42.2mpg and Co2 emissions of 176g/km. Company car buyers will lap it up.
The V8s are split by the bi-turbo 3.0-litre V6 Panamera 4S. It’s 434bhp and 405lb/ft get it from 0-62mph in 4.2secs which Sport Chrono added, and on to 180mph. Other models with lower power and two-wheel-drive will be added to the range in due course.
The Panamera’s engine will turn up in other VW Group models, as will its modular MSB platform – starting with the next Bentley Continental GT, due in 2018. It’s capable of supporting advanced chassis tech like active roll cancellation and air suspension, plus autonomous driving systems.
Inside, there is much new gadgetry as well. The dashboard is dominated by a huge 12.3in touchscreen controlling the infotainment and connectivity, while touch controls on the high centre console below take care of climate and chassis functions. The driver is confronted by a central analogue rev counter, flanked by twin 7in LCD screens.
On top-end models, rear seat passengers get their own screen and touch controls. There’s plenty of space back there too, despite the lower roofline. The boot’s a generous 495 litres and there’ll be even more in the upcoming estate version.
It looks like the Panamera’s place as the luxury car of choice for people who care about driving – and as a massive cash cow – is safe and sound. Order books are open now, with deliveries due to start in November.
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By Only Motors