|The second-generation Panamera looks more fully integrated within the Porsche family. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Come to think of it, if we’d seen the shapely new Panamera in one of those epic Sci-Fi films we probably wouldn’t have thought twice unless it didn’t fly. It remains one of the most futuristic sport sedans on the planet, this side of the same brand’s Mission E electric (which really should be in the just released Star Wars: The Last Jedi).
|The new longer, wider and lower Panamera is ideally proportioned. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
|Porsche’s signature LEDs look sharp in the new Panamera’s headlight assemblies. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Oddly enough, most of that mass disappears when sliding into the ideally formed driver’s seat. Rather than what one might expect from a 1,850-kilo (4,078-lb) super
|Optional 21-inch alloys fully fill out the wheel cutouts. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
What a difference a model year makes. Remember the myriad buttons, rockers, toggles and knobs that made up the previous Panamera? A plethora of pushers were applied to each side of the flowing centre stack, enough to make Nakamichi Dragon fans feel like they’d slipped rearward into ’80s audio nirvana, but those days are gone now that Porsche has adopted a Bauhaus-like approach to interior design,
|Sleek LED taillights take their cues from the 911. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
This in mind, the overhead console is still filled with analogue buttons, but they’re nicely laid out and finished in black gloss to mimic the glass below. Additionally, knurled rocker switches are used for the dual-pane sunroof, these also matching those on the lower console.
|A larger and more accommodating cabin is also more upscale. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Quality of workmanship and materials is superb, as one would expect of today’s Porsche. Truly, I had trouble finding any hard plastic inside at all, only able to locate
|It’s plenty big, but the Panamera is nevertheless intimate like a sports car. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The infotainment touchscreen is as good as anything in the luxury class as well. It’s ultra-wide at 12.3 inches, plus comes complete with a new generation navigation system boasting crystal clear mapping and highly accurate routing that no longer forces perplexed front occupants to pull over and check their smartphone’s Google map app for directions (the previous system was laughably bad at finding its way), while a large bright backup camera with dynamic guidelines includes a secondary display showing an animated overhead view with front and rear parking sensor warnings. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is included too (Porsche got smart and added the much more popular Google system after saying Android didn’t fit with their target market-China no doubt disagreed), plus audio and
|This looks like Porsche’s trademark five-dial gauge cluster, but only the tachometer at centre is analogue. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Likewise for the gauge cluster, which combines Porsche’s classic five-dial layout with a centre-mounted analogue tachometer flanked by colour TFT screens to each side, the rightmost one a multi-info display capable of showing a variety of functions including full navigation mapping.
The steering wheel switchgear is well crafted and ultra-minimalist, just the way I like it, while the spokes are elegantly thin and the optimally shaped leather-wrapped rim ideally fat. Porsche has been producing sport steering wheels longer than most carmakers and its expertise shines through each and every time, whereas the Panamera column’s rake and reach adjustability is equally ideal, which along
|The rightmost multi-info display provides brilliant high-def graphics. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Remember those last two key words when contemplating the new Panamera: comfort and control. The Cayenne is the only Porsche in the same league when it comes to comfort, its mid-size dimensions, roomy accommodations, long suspension travel, and general heft a good mixture for cosseting driver and passengers. It’s probably a bit more agreeable all around than the Panamera, but Porsche’s four-door coupe nevertheless hits high on the luxury quotient yet is by far
|The 12.3-inch infotainment display is as good as it gets. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
I’d even go so far as to claim the new Panamera the world’s sportiest sport sedan, at least amongst the regular premium sector. Start climbing into the $250k arena and the Aston Martin Rapide S factors in, and to be fair, Audi’s RS7, BMW’s M6 Gran Coupe, and Mercedes’ top-tier CLS AMG do a good job of wooing well-heeled performance zealots too. Like the Aston, however, the Panamera joins the Rapide in exotic territory when optioned out in 550 horsepower Turbo trim, and unlike any of the above it can now be had in an extended Executive length as well as in a fabulous wagon-like Sport Turismo body. Think of it as an elongated Ferrari GTC4Lusso with better rear seat access and more cargo room, plus of course a much more approachable price point.
|Love the minimalist analogue clock. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
While the base powertrain can’t dream of keeping up with the 426 horsepower E-Hybrid or aforementioned Turbo, 5.7 seconds to 100km/h from a 330 horsepower
|A backup camera with dynamic guidelines is joined by an overhead graphic with animated parking sensor info. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
It’s a new direct-injection and turbocharged 3.0-litre V6, by the way, sourced from Audi albeit massaged considerably after Porsche gets its hands on it. The entire Panamera substructure is pulled from Volkswagen group’s deep parts bin, but
|The Panamera’s sloping console is now mostly made up of touch-sensitive switchgear. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Its rigid monocoque construction is a mix of ultra-high and high-strength steels, aluminum (for the roof and trunk lid), and composites, whereas the undercarriage is either a traditional steel coil setup or an available air suspension, the latter improved with a new three-chamber design for greater comfort and responsiveness. Additionally, available four-wheel steering aids low- and high-speed handling, while an adaptive suspension, active anti-roll bars, plus a torque-vectoring
|The shifter is beautiful, but only needed to select P, N, D and M, with steering wheel paddles providing hands-on engagement. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The base model, my Panamera 4 tester, and a 4S model I drove more recently include a simpler spoiler that merely raises at 90 km/h (56 mph). Honestly, I wouldn’t have noticed whether a wider spoiler, a regular one or none at all was added to my tester’s rear end at the slightly higher than posted speeds I averaged when on the highway, but instead appreciated its general lack of wind buffeting and overall suppressed road noise, the car’s slippery shape, resulting in a Cd of 0.28, which allowed just enough combined engine and exhaust note to seep through front firewall and rear bulkhead during spirited romps on the throttle, yet remained appropriately hushed most of the time, ideal for enjoying its impressive audio system.
|The seats are amazingly adjustable, plus provide a pretty decent massage. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
For such duties I set the driving mode selector to Sport Plus, although Sport mode would’ve done a good enough job of firming up the suspension. These two modes make a dramatic difference from default Normal mode, which offers a plusher more
|The dual pane panoramic sunroof really opens up the cabin. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Making a good thing better, the new powertrain results in improved fuel-efficiency too. The previous base Panamera with its 3.6-litre V6 was good for a claimed 13.1 L/100km city, 8.7 highway and 11.1 combined five-cycle fuel economy rating, whereas
|The rear seats are more comfortable and roomier. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Fuel economy probably matters a great deal more to Porsche and its need to appease governmental regulators than to its Panamera customer base, these fortunate few no doubt more interested in the car’s bevy of standard and available features. My tester was very well equipped, even including massaging front seats with a very therapeutic stretch mode, plus the usual shiatsu, etcetera, while those seats were inherently comfortable, fully supportive and beautifully designed.
The rear seating area is much roomier too, allowing up to eight inches ahead of my
|An available rear centre console delivers nearly as much functionality as the one up front. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Just below, the centre front console continues rearward into a rear console (there’s no middle seat) that’s just as featured filled as the one ahead, not to mention beautifully finished with its own high-resolution graphic touchscreen display and array of touch-sensitive and knurled metal controls. Rear seat features
|Cargo capacity grows considerably in the second-gen Panamera. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
The impressive stereo noted earlier, a 710-watt 14-speaker Bose surround system that comes standard, sounds fabulous and looks great, and I’m not just talking about the graphic interface used to control it. More so, front and rear speakers light up with a subtle blue LED ambient glow around their circumferences. Likewise,
|Look at all that practical space, with even more available if you ante up for the Panamera Sport Turismo. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
Along with the much more accommodating cabin comes an enlarged cargo area, with a gain of 50 litres (1.8 cubic feet) behind the rear seatbacks. This said I was surprised they weren’t divided in the most convenient 40/20/40 configuration used by the majority of European brands, but rather had a conventional 60/40 split. Still, when lowered they increase cargo capacity from 493 litres (17.4 cubic feet) to a maximum of 1,303 litres (46.0 cubic feet), while the stretched Executive model grows gear-toting space to 1,481 litres (52.3 cubic feet).
And what about that new Sport Turismo model? It offers 20 litres (0.7 cubic feet) more
|The new base 3.0L turbo V6 turns entry-level models into true sport sedans. (Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press)|
That last line could be used to sum up the entire car, the second-generation Panamera a lot easier to live with yet no less substantive. In fact, it delivers a great deal more substance in every respect, and looks a helluvalot more attractive doing so.
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