Porsche Panamera review
Second-generation Porsche Panamera improves on its predecessor with sharper styling, an exquisite interior and new engines
The Porsche Panamera Mk2 marks a massive step on compared to its predecessor. It uses a new platform and features new engines, while the interior takes Porsche’s luxury cars to the next level. It even looks a lot more attractive than before, with sleeker lines and some interesting, eye-catching design details.
It now rides like a proper luxury car, but the chassis still delivers the capability you expect from a Porsche when it comes to driving enjoyment.
Combined with a big hatchback, a sizeable luggage bay and with so much tech crammed into the cabin, it all makes the Panamera an incredibly easy car to live with. As well as one that’s comfortable and rewarding enough to drive to suit any mood.
The Porsche Panamera occupies a neat position within the range, offering the low-slung dynamics of a 911, but the practicality and spaciousness of a Cayenne. It shares its platform with the SUV, but majors on luxury, which goes a little way to justifying the £73,000 to £150,000 price bracket.
The luxury saloon made its debut atop a Shanghai skyscraper in 2009, heralding a new dawn for the Porsche brand. It was built from the ground up to be a four-door saloon, launching with three variants in the UK: the Panamera S, 4S and Turbo.
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Aside from a facelift in 2013, Porsche made little changes to the design and layout over the following years, but the range of powertrains grew to include petrol, diesel and hybrid versions.
In 2016, the second-generation Porsche Panamera arrived, with the new version adopting design elements found on the 911, 718 Boxster and Cayman. Porsche said the Panamera 4S diesel was the fastest oil-burner in the world, with the V8 developing 416bhp and 850Nm of torque, enough to hit 62mph in 4.3 seconds, before reaching a top speed of 177mph.
For the 2018 model year, the Panamera range has grown to include 21 model variants, available with a choice of six powertrains and three body styles - namely the standard-wheelbase hatchback, an extended-wheelbase and the Sport Turismo 'shooting brake'.
Porsche also added a new Panamera GTS variant in 2018, which uses a slightly detuned variant of the flagship model’s twin-turbocharged V8. It features a handful of visual tweaks to boost the car’s kerb appeal, including a less conservative bodykit, a host of gloss black trim and a larger active rear wing. The GTS is arguably the sweet spot in the Panamera range, delivering the sort of performance and driving dynamics you expect from a Porsche, but without sacrificing the standard car’s luxury and refinement.
The hybrid flagship is the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which takes the electric motor from the 4 E-Hybrid to create a total output of 670bhp and delivering a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds, a full two-tenths faster than the 'standard' Turbo.
But while the E-Hybrid and Turbo models grab the headlines, and win the odd game of Top Trumps, the Panamera is an expensive purchase. The Porsche badge gives the saloon a cachet that the BMW 6 Series Gran Coupe or Mercedes-Benz CLS can’t match. Other rivals include the Audi A7 Sportback and Maserati Quattroporte, while the Tesla Model S is an all-electric alternative choice.
Where the latest Panamera improves on the original, aside from its more appealing looks, is the hi-tech interior. It really moves the game on, with a great range of connectivity systems. As you'd expect, the different trim levels attempt to entice you into parting with extra cash, but there is a solid level of equipment present in every car.
This means the range is luxurious across the board. You can add lots of optional tech, such as rear-wheel steering to improve agility, and you can easily rack up the price if you go crazy with the configurator. But even without any extra kit, the Panamera is a great upmarket four-seat car and a big step on from its predecessor.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingSecond-generation Porsche Panamera improves on its predecessor with sharper styling, an exquisite interior and new engines
- 2Engines, performance and driveFrom the entry-level V6 petrol to the range topping Turbo, performance, refined ride quality and impressive handling are assured
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Panamera is no eco car, but efficiency improvements mean it returns respectable fuel economy, given the performance on offer
- 4Interior, design and technologyInside the cabin is where the new Panamera really excels, with a beautifully crafted design and top-class materials
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceDespite rakish coupe looks and sloping tailgate, the four-seat Panamera offers plenty of practicality
- 6Reliability and SafetyPorsche’s reputation for reliability and advanced safety tech means the Panamera should be safe and easy to live with