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In-depth reviews

Porsche Panamera review - Engines, performance and drive

From the entry-level V6 petrol to the range topping Turbo, performance, refined ride quality and impressive handling are assured

Porsche is known for its sports cars, and even with its more refined models like the Panamera, it’ll outperform many rival brands. 

The latest car has an all-new chassis, so the Panamera is more practical, but also more agile. There’s more aluminium used in the car's construction, so for its size it’s relatively light at 1,865kg, although it's worth noting the hybrid models, with the extra battery weight, range from 2,170kg to 2,410kg. It sits on the VW Group’s MSB platform for front-engined cars, which Porsche has been responsible for developing.

The German manufacturer says this gives it “great versatility” as it means two different wheelbases (standard and long) can be produced, while “further body derivatives are also relatively easy to realise”. One result is that there is a Panamera Sports Turismo estate on offer.

There’s so much that’s new about this second-generation Porsche Panamera, that very little is carried over from its predecessor. Porsche’s 4D chassis control system integrates all the tech on offer, so the way this substantial four-door drives is scarcely believable. One option we'd recommend is the £1,604 adaptive air-suspension. The Panamera rides nicely, but with 21-inch alloys, even with the dampers in their softest setting, you can still feel niggly wheel movement over small bumps. However, at higher speeds the chassis soaks up the worst the road can throw at it with convincing composure.

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The slightly firmer edge to the ride is worth putting up with given how agile the car is, though. Add rear-wheel steering (£1,536), and this effectively shortens the Panamera’s wheelbase in slower turns for increased response, and lengthens it in faster corners for more stability.

The steering has just the right level of weight and feedback, while the grip and traction would embarrass some sports cars. Plus, the Panamera has real poise and balance considering its two-tonne weight. Taut body control aside, the Porsche switches to a luxury limo when you move from Sport Plus to Comfort mode.

Engines

There’s crushing straight-line acceleration on offer in the Turbo, which uses an all-new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 producing 542bhp and 770Nm of torque spread all the way from 1,960rpm to 4,500rpm. GTS models receive a slightly de-tuned version of this engine with 453bhp and 620Nm of torque.

Four-wheel drive and launch control from the new eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic mean the Turbo can sprint from 0-62mph in 3.8 seconds, or 3.6 seconds if you go for the optional Sport Chrono Package. Top speed stands at 190mph. The GTS is slightly slower, sprinting from 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds and topping out at 181mph.

The electric motor in the Turbo S E-Hybrid model adds an extra 134bhp for a total power output of 671bhp. Even with the weight of the batteries on board, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is two-tenths faster than the standard Turbo from 0-62mph, taking just 3.4 seconds.

The entry-level 4S is more than sufficient, though. The new 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 features turbos inside the engine’s V, just like the V8 Turbo, while 434bhp and 550Nm of torque mean the 0-62mph sprint can be dispatched in 4.4 seconds, or 4.2 with Sport Chrono. 

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