Porsche gave its Macan compact luxury utility such an extensive update last year that most in the industry consider it a completely new generation. The Stuttgart brand even went so far as to rejig its…
Porsche gave its Macan compact luxury utility such an extensive update last year that most in the industry consider it a completely new generation. The Stuttgart brand even went so far as to rejig its suspension, along with doing the normal upgrades like refreshing its front and rear clips with new styling, including standard LED headlights and tail lamps, those in back circling all the way around the SUV’s rear quarters, not unlike other vehicles in the lineup such as the 718 Cayman and Boxster, Panamera, Cayenne, 911, and all-new Taycan. Its cabin has also been improved significantly, with a new high-definition 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) centre touchscreen display as standard equipment.
This revised Macan Turbo follows the new base 2020 Macan and upgraded Macan S that showed up earlier this year, with a price of $94,200, compared to $56,100 for the entry-level Macan and $63,600 for the Macan S.
The former features a 2.0-litre turbo-four good for 248 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, which hightails it from standstill to 100km/h in just 6.7 seconds, or 6.5 seconds with its available Sport Chrono Package, while its terminal velocity is much more than any Canadian road allows at 227 km/h.
All Macan trims come with an advanced seven-speed PDK dual-clutch automated transmission featuring paddle shifters on the steering wheel, plus standard Porsche Traction Management (PTM) active all-wheel drive that includes an electronically- and map-controlled multi-plate clutch, as well as an automatic brake differential (ABD) and anti-slip regulation (ASR).
The mid-range Macan S gets a major bump in engine output thanks to a completely different mill under the hood, its 3.0-litre V6 turbo capable of 348 horsepower and 352 lb-ft of torque, resulting in a zero to 100km/h time of only 5.3 seconds, or 5.1 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, plus a new top speed of 254 km/h.
The just-noted Macan S performance figures are improved for 2020, so it made sense for Porsche to upgrade its newest Turbo trim too, but adding a whopping 34 horsepower was probably unexpected by those outside of Porsche’s inner circle. The modified 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 now puts out a highly potent 434 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque, which lops 0.3 seconds off of its acceleration time, resulting in 4.5 seconds from zero to 100km/h, or 4.3 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package, while its top speed gains 5 km/h at 270 km/h.
Some standard Macan Turbo performance items include a one-inch larger set of 20-inch Macan Turbo alloy wheels, Porsche Surface Coated Brakes (PSCB) that stop quicker than the model’s outgoing standard brakes, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) dampers, a sport exhaust, plus more, while some available performance options include a height-adjustable air suspension with rolling pistons and new shock absorber hydraulics, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV +), and Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB).
As with last year’s Macan Turbo, the new 2020 version also adds to its standard equipment list inside, with luxurious suede-like Alcantara roof pillars and headliner, 18-way Adaptive Sport Seats with memory, 665 watts of Bose Surround Sound audio featuring 14 speakers, and more.
Convenience and luxury options are numerous, and include a multifunction GT Sport steering wheel, a wireless charging pad that comes together with a Smartphone Compartment, semi-autonomous parking and traffic assistance systems, etcetera.
The 2020 Macan Turbo can now be ordered through your local Porsche retailer, and will arrive in Canada toward the end of 2019. As for the new 2020 Macan and Macan S, they’re already available for test drives.
“Winter temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall will be above normal,” says The Old Farmer’s Almanac in this year’s Annual Weather Summary for Southern Ontario, while those in Southern BC can…
“Winter temperatures, precipitation, and snowfall will be above normal,” says The Old Farmer’s Almanac in this year’s Annual Weather Summary for Southern Ontario, while those in Southern BC can expect the next six months to be “colder than normal.”
Are you ready for another bone-chilling winter? Yes, Jack Frost has been a bit naughtier than usual over the past couple of years, and this stormy trend probably won’t end soon, but don’t worry because Porsche has your back.
As any sports car fan knows, the quintessential German performance brand has been rolling out its all-new 2020 911 Carrera in stages throughout this year, and the latest edition is ideally timed to fight off the white fluffy stuff (or more often than not, brown mucky stuff) that makes our roads slippery and challenging to navigate unless you’ve got the right equipment. The gear in question is Porsche’s new 911 Carrera 4 Coupé or 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet, with the number “4” designating all-wheel drive in Porsche-speak.
The new Carrera 4 uses the same 3.0-litre twin-turbo flat six as found in the Carrera 2, capable of 370 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. The Carrera 4 Coupe can launch from zero to 100 km/h, which at only 4.5 seconds is a hair (0.1 seconds) faster than the two-wheel drive version when set up with its base seven-speed manual gearbox; or 4.3 seconds with its paddle-shifter enhanced dual-clutch eight-speed PDK, or 4.1 seconds when the latter automated transmission is combined with the model’s Sport Chrono Package.
Additionally, standstill to 160 km/h takes a mere 9.7 seconds with the manual and 9.3 seconds for the PDK, while the two cars top out at 292 and 290 km/h respectively. Alternatively, the Carrera 4 Cabriolet takes an additional 0.2 seconds to complete all sprint times, and achieves a terminal velocity of 289 km/h.
Just like the 2020 Carrera 4S introduced earlier this year, the new Carrera 4 uses an innovative water-cooled front differential, which incorporates reinforced clutches that increase load capacities and overall durability. When combined with Porsche Traction Management (PTM), the updated front axle drive system improves the Carrera 4’s traction in slippery conditions, while also enhancing performance in the dry.
What’s more, all 2020 911 Carrera owners will get a new standard Wet mode added to the revised steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector, the unique technology automatically maintaining better control over watery or snowy road surfaces when engaged. Each new 911 also receives standard autonomous emergency braking with moving object detection to improve safety further, while a high-definition backup camera and rear parking sensors are also standard equipment.
Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) comes standard too, including electronically variable dampers with both Normal and Sport settings, while Porsche Torque Vectoring, standard on S and 4S models, is now optional with the Carrera 4 Coupe and Carrera 4 Cabriolet.
Yet more available options include the Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake (PCCB) system, as well as staggered front to rear 20- and 21-inch alloy wheels, while staggered 19- and 20-inch alloys are standard equipment.
The italicized “4” on the rear deck lid aside, the only way to differentiate the two Carrera 4 models from the two Carrera 2 trims is a twin set of rectangular tailpipes in place of the base model’s dual oval exhaust tips; Carrera 2S and 4S trims featuring four rounded chrome pipes. This said, you can upgrade both Carrera 4 models with a pair of big oval exhaust ports, at which point you’d probably be best to rely on the written designation for classification purposes.
There are no obvious 911 C2 and C4 differences inside, mind you, with both trims coming standard with Porsche’s mostly digital primary gauge package, the traditional analogue tachometer remaining at centre, plus the same 10.9-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) touchscreen infotainment system featuring enhanced connectivity, as well as identically redesigned seats.
The entirely new 2020 Porsche Carrera 4 Coupé starts at $111,900, while the Carrera 4 Cabriolet is available from $126,000. Both can now be ordered at your local Porsche retailer.
Few cars have been anticipated as enthusiastically as the all-electric Porsche Taycan, and now the 2020 production model has finally been revealed at the 2019 International Motor Show Germany, a.k.a.…
Few cars have been anticipated as enthusiastically as the all-electric Porsche Taycan, and now the 2020 production model has finally been revealed at the 2019 International Motor Show Germany, a.k.a. Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung.
To call it powerful would be as ridiculously understated as claiming it quick. Consider for a moment the most potent version makes a staggering 750 horsepower and even more mind-numbing 774 lb-ft of torque, allowing it to catapult from standstill to 100 km/h in a scant 2.8 seconds.
Of course, such performance is nothing new to Tesla fans, its Model S P100D capable of shooting from zero to 100 km/h in just 2.6 seconds, although how it does so with just 613 horsepower and 686 lb-ft of torque under hood is anyone’s guess (then again, its heaviest curb weight of 2,250 kilos/4,960 lbs is quite a bit lower than the Taycan’s 2,295-kg/5,059-lb unladen weight, so that might have something to do with it). Considering Porsche’s tendency to understate performance specs, this is an upcoming showdown of epic proportions (stay tuned to every credible cable and YouTube car show for their own version).
This is a Porsche we’re talking about, however, so straight-line performance is only part of the equation. In fact, we’re ready to bet the new Taycan will be able to out-manoeuvre the Model S any day of the week. That Porsche has already partially proven its handling prowess probably gives us an unfair advantage going up to the betting window, thanks to a pre-series example’s EV-record-setting 7:42-minute lap of the famed Nürburgring-Nordschleife, which beat the last Tesla Model S P85D’s time of 8:50 by more than a minute. And yes, a minute on a racetrack is an eternity, so we’ll put another wager on Tesla showing up at the “Green Hell” track with its latest P100D, a full crew and a very well proven pilot (and definitely not Auto Pilot).
In all fairness to the California company, the new Taycan is much pricier than even a fully equipped Model S P100D. The “entry-level” (for now) 2020 Taycan Turbo, with its 671 maximum horsepower, 627 lb-ft of torque, and 3.2-second sprint to 100 km/h, goes on sale this fall for $173,900 plus destination, whereas the new top-line Taycan Turbo S can be had for $213,900. These two trims aren’t loaded up 100-percent either. In fact, Porsche’s plentiful and pricey options list can drive the top model’s delivery window sticker above $250k, which is territory more commonly occupied by the Aston Martin Rapides, Bentley Flying Spurs and Rolls-Royce Ghosts of the ultra-luxury world.
This said, none of the above super sedans are capable of doing the 100-metre dash as fast or scale a mountain pass as adeptly as the Taycan, plus none will do so without gulping down tankers full of premium unleaded. The Tesla Model S is available from a comparatively modest $108,990, while its Performance trim is still rather paltry at $134,990, although it manages to creep up to $155k with all available options added on.
Before anyone starts concerning themselves that Porsche has totally forgotten the average Joe or Jane, take some comfort in knowing that these ultra-quick Turbo models (in name only, by the way) are being introduced first for their wow factor, while slightly slower trims will arrive later this year, and the crossover coupe-styled Cross Turismo will go up against the Jaguar I-Pace sometime toward the end of 2020.
Like with performance, there’s more separating these two supercharged heroes than merely going fast with zero local emissions. Obviously styling is a key differentiator, with the Taycan’s perfectly fresh, near spaceship-like lines and brilliantly penned details making the still attractive yet rather stale Model S seem geriatric side-by-side. Fit, finish and refinement isn’t a Model S strength, but we can expect industry-best within this Porsche, while the German automaker’s on-board electronics are now some of the best in the industry.
The Taycan features a completely digital pod-like primary gauge cluster that seems to float behind the steering wheel. It comes filled with a colourful array of high-resolution graphics in a classic Porsche curved oval shape, while its dash-wide set of dual touchscreens, the second one just ahead of the front passenger, and third being a capacitive display on the centre console, provide a feast for the eyes as well as an unprecedented level of hand gesture control.
Without doubt one of those screens includes animated power-flow graphics showing a permanent-magnet synchronous motor at each axle combining for the aforementioned output figures depending on trim, incidentally putting out 616 horsepower no matter the model when not in launch mode.
When switched back to that overboost setting, the slower of the two Taycan trims can shoot from standstill to 200 km/h in just 10.6 seconds, while its standing quarter mile takes a mere 11.1 seconds. Do likewise in the more potent car and the 200-km/h mark takes only 9.8 seconds to pass, while the quarter mile arrives in 10.8. Both models’ terminal velocity is 280 km/h (161 mph), which is obviously electronically limited.
The Taycan uses a single-speed front transmission and a larger two-speed rear gearbox to push power down to all four wheels, the latter unit housing one gear for acceleration and a second taller gear for higher speed cruising. The Taycan chooses its rear gear automatically by monitoring driving style, plus it can partially be done manually via one of five driving modes. Range mode is all about efficiency and therefore uses the taller second gear as much as possible while temporarily turning off the front motor, whereas Normal mode prioritizes the second gear yet utilizes the first gear more. On the other hand, or foot, Sport mode prioritizes first gear up to about 90 to 100 km/h, but the transmission shifts to second whenever the driver eases off the throttle, and then back to first again when required. The Taycan also features Sport Plus and Individual drive modes.
Where Tesla’s are notorious for overheating, Porsche is promising cooler running by incorporating a special hairpin winding technique to the stators’ copper solenoid coils. This provides a copper fill factor of 70 percent compared to 45 percent when wound the traditional way, and results in increased performance while keeping things cooler than they’d otherwise be.
To test the Taycan’s endurance in extremely hot climates (of 42°C with a track temperature of almost 54°C), Porsche ran a pre-production model around Italy’s high-banked Nardò Ring oval racetrack (it’s actually more of a circle) at speeds ranging between 195 and 215 km/h for 24 hours straight, a marathon sprint that included six test drivers covering 3,425 kilometres (2,128 miles). Following up this grueling test program, Porsche also punished its Taycan by undergoing 26 back-to-back sprints from zero to 200 km/h in less than 10 seconds apiece, with a 0.8-second difference between fastest and slowest acceleration times (Tesla owners should be impressed by this). Then there’s the aforementioned Nürburgring stint, which completely sets the Taycan apart from mere stoplight dragsters.
Embedded within the floor of Taycan Turbo is an LG-produced 93.4-kilowatt-hour high-voltage lithium-ion battery with enough stored energy for 381 to 450 km (237 to 280 miles) of range on the Europeans’ WLTP rating system. The more sport-oriented Turbo S gets an uprated version of the same battery that’s capable of a 388 to 412 km (241 to 256 mile) range.
An industry-first 800-volt electrical architecture makes recharging easier and quicker. In fact, the Taycan can charge at a maximum rate of 270 kilowatts, which makes it possible to refill from five to 80 percent in only 22.5 minutes. The Tesla (and other electric vehicles) use 400-volt architectures, and therefore need more time to top up the tank, so to speak.
Maximizing ease of charging is the Taycan’s Charging Planner, which has the ability to plot a given course by factoring in the best places to recharge along the way. For instance, it can choose a faster 270-kW charge station that can save you time over a regular 50-kW DC charger, even if the quicker charger requires driving a bit off course. Additionally, the Charging Planner preconditions the battery to 20°C, optimal for quicker charging. It does much more, but we’ll leave the rest for you to discover.
The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo and Turbo S are now available to build and order from Porsche Canada’s retail website or through your local dealer, so make sure to act quickly if you want to be first on your block to own the most intriguing electric car to ever be sold through a regular dealer network. The Taycan certainly appears like it will give Tesla’s fastest Model S a run for its money, especially considering Porsche’s claimed performance numbers are almost always more conservative than what private testers experience.
And while you’re waiting for your Taycan to arrive, or merely wishing for your lottery ticket numbers to sync up with the next set to be announced, enjoy the full album of gallery photos above and bevy of Porsche-supplied videos below:
World Premiere Porsche Taycan (40:33):
The new Porsche Taycan – Designed to enliven (1:28):
The fully electric Porsche Taycan accelerates 0-90-0 mph on the USS Hornet (0:59):
Onboard Lap – Porsche Taycan Sets a Record at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (8:09):
New Porsche Taycan sets a record at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife (0:58):
Taycan Prototype Convinces at Endurance Run in Nardò (0:57):
The new electric Porsche Taycan proves its repeatability of power before upcoming World Premiere (1:05):
A thank you to electricity: The Porsche Taycan (0:45):
Porsche’s entirely redesigned third-generation Cayenne only just arrived on the scene as a 2018 model, but as is always the case with the iconic German sports car and sporty SUV brand, new trim levels…
Porsche’s entirely redesigned third-generation Cayenne only just arrived on the scene as a 2018 model, but as is always the case with the iconic German sports car and sporty SUV brand, new trim levels have been expanding the line since then.
From a modest 335 horsepower base V6-powered model up to a stimulating 541 horsepower Turbo version, with a 434 horsepower Cayenne S and a 455 net-horsepower Cayenne E-Hybrid filling the void, Porsche’s Cayenne arsenal seems all-encompassing, although as we’ve just found out it will soon take a marked turn upward in performance and price.
Taking a cue from the 2018 Panamera line, Porsche will be adding a great deal more performance through its plug-in E-Hybrid powertrain, with the all-new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid pushing out a stunning 670 net horsepower, 541 of which comes from the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), and 134 of which is derived from the electric motor.
The luxury marque’s sport-tuned eight-speed Tiptronic S automatic transmission comes as standard kit, as does Porsche Traction Management (PTM), its active all-wheel drive system. It transmits twist through an electronically variable, map-controlled multi-plate clutch, while an automatic brake differential (ABD) and anti-slip regulation (ASR) are also on the standard equipment list.
Along with all the electrified and twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 horsepower, the new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid produces a shocking 663 lb-ft of combined torque, including 567 lb-ft from the ICE and 295 lb-ft from the electric motor, allowing it to catapult from standstill to 100 km/h in a supercar-like 3.8 seconds with its standard Sport Chrono Package, or an even more amazing 3.6 seconds with its available Lightweight Sport Package, all before achieving a 295-km/h (183.3-mph) claimed top track speed.
Being that the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is a plug-in electric vehicle, or PHEV, it can fully rely on motive power from its 14.1-kWh battery over short distances of approximately 40 kilometres. This means owners can achieve zero local emissions quick commutes to and from work, or for running errands near home.
The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid’s lithium-ion battery, which is stowed under the cargo floor, takes just 6 hours to completely recharge when connected to a 230-volt Level 2 household-type charger, but Porsche promises a mere 2.4 hours from a 400-volt supercharger.
Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid owners can also download a smartphone app capable of remotely monitoring the charging process. Additionally, this app can prepare the SUV’s automatic climate control system to chosen settings, similarly to how a remote start system can do likewise, but this Cayenne PHEV application only employs the battery for such purposes, rather than the ICE.
The new 2020 Cayenne Coupe, a more sporting version of the regular Cayenne, will also receive a top-tier Turbo S E-Hybrid trim line. For those not familiar with Porsche’s sleek new addition to the Cayenne lineup, it features a 20-millimetre lower roofline along with a new front windshield that comes framed within shallower A pillars, as well as much more radically tapered rear side windows, totally reshaped rear doors, remoulded rear quarter panels, and a completely new back bumper featuring an integrated license plate holder. These changes result in a minor 19-mm (0.7-inch) increase to the sportier SUV’s width, which when combined with the aforementioned lower height allows for a more aggressive stance than the traditional Cayenne.
A few additional Cayenne Coupe upgrades include a standard adaptive rear spoiler, individual second-row bucket-style sport seats separated by an open centre console bin, plus a standard 2.16-cubic-metre fixed glass panoramic sunroof with an integrated roller sunshade, or an optional lightweight carbon-fibre panel.
The Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, which is now available to order with expected deliveries in early 2020, can be purchased for a lofty $182,200 plus freight and fees, which is $40,400 more than the current 2019 Cayenne Turbo, and more than double the price of the base Cayenne that can be had for just $76,700. The new even sportier looking Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe, which is said to perform identically to the conventional upright version, is available from $187,100, making it $39,100 pricier than the Cayenne Turbo Coupe, and once again more than twice the price of the $86,400 base Cayenne Coupe.
By the way, you can see all 2020 Porsche Cayenne pricing at CarCostCanada, including trims, packages and individual options, plus you can also learn about money-saving rebates as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands.
As usual we’ve added all the available Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid and Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe photos to our gallery above (including some cool pictographs), and provided the only video Porsche has produced for the new models below. Enjoy!
The new Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupé: A master of balance (1:00):
To anyone interested in purchasing a sport sedan from a premium brand or something from the even sportier four-door coupe category, Porsche’s Panamera needs no introduction. It’s one of, if not the…
To anyone interested in purchasing a sport sedan from a premium brand or something from the even sportier four-door coupe category, Porsche’s Panamera needs no introduction. It’s one of, if not the sportiest ways to get around with four doors, while its elegantly raked rear liftback makes it one of the more practical entries in its category too.
This relatively new market sector has expanded considerably since Mercedes-Benz launched the CLS-Class 15 years ago, with the original Panamera first to compete in 2009, the Audi A7 and Aston Martin Rapide following in 2010, and BMW finally showing up with its 6 Series Gran Coupe in 2012. Ideally timed with the latter Bavarian model’s imminent demise and the upcoming 2020 8 Series Gran Coupe’s arrival, Mercedes is now tripling down in this low-slung viertürig segment with a new higher-priced GT 4-Door Coupe model that will soon join up with the recently redesigned second-generation CLA and third-gen CLS, so it’s not as if this category’s expansion is slowing, at least when it comes to entries. As for sales, it remains stronger than the more traditional luxury sedan segment.
While some low-volume offerings have spiced things up along the way, such as the limited production (120 units) Rapide-based 2015 to 2016 Lagonda Taraf that was priced at a cool $1 million-plus, possibly even more interesting is the success of smaller entries from Mercedes, BMW and Audi that have pulled the sleek body style down market almost as far as VW’s CC (now the much more appealing Arteon) and Kia’s stronger selling Stinger.
Bridging the massive gap between the $40k range and one million-plus, Lamborghini has long toyed with the idea of launching something in this sector, the stunning Estoque concept ruthlessly teasing the supercar world with production rumours for years, while talk of a more rakishly penned Bentley four-door has been circulating the interweb for almost as long. Both make loads of sense being they could utilize the Panamera’s underpinnings and hard points, Bentley already sharing Volkswagen Group’s MSB architecture for the new Continental and Flying Spur, but for the time being those in the $300,000-plus crowd will need to remain satisfied with a fully loaded Panamera.
And yes, if you completely load up a top-line Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive you’ll be paying in excess of $320k, and its glossy black SportDesign Package enhanced exterior will wear an exclusive colour with matching wheels, its upgraded interior will boast softer, plusher leather nearly everywhere that’s not already covered with hardwood or carbon fibre, and every technology will be included.
I drove a regular wheelbase version of that new for 2018 model last year (check out the four-model review here), the Turbo S E-Hybrid outrageously quick thanks to a once unfathomable (for a hybrid) 680 (net) horsepower, while I put last year’s new wagon-like Sport Turismo body style through its paces as well (again, see it here), albeit that car was motivated by the very same 440-horsepower twin-turbo V6 powerplant found in the Panamera 4S seen on this page.
Moving into 2019, other than small pricing bumps across the line nothing has changed with any of the cars mentioned thus far, the version shown here exactly as it was for the 2017 model year when the second-generation Panamera arrived on the scene. This said, 2019 hasn’t been without additions to the Panamera lineup, thanks to a special 453-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8-powered GTS model now slotting between this 4S and the Panamera Turbo in both price and performance (see my overview of the 2019 Panamera GTS here), the car I’m reviewing now starting at $119,600, the new GTS at $147,400, and the Turbo at $174,200.
Unfortunately no GTS was available at the time of testing, leaving me with the first-world problem of this less potent 4S. Still, it produces 110 more ponies than the 330-horsepower base Panamera (read my review of this model here), and sends them to all four wheels, hence the “4” in its designation. The gurgling exhaust note is sensational in Sport mode, crackling and popping at liftoff, although rest assured its Jekyll and Hyde personality provides luxurious quietude when the drive mode selector is set to default.
Its seemingly perfect balance between serene opulence and raucous tomfoolery is the Panamera’s best asset, no other four-door providing its ground-hugging sports car like performance along with such a rarified level of highbrow pampering. It bucks against today’s ride ‘em high SUV trend, Porsche offering its Cayenne (see a 2019 Cayenne Buyer’s Guide overview here), new Cayenne Coupe, and Macan for those wanting performance with a view, the Panamera instead coming across like the ultimate gentrified SoCal low-rider without the hopping and bopping suspension.
That’s the thing. It slices through fast-paced corners like nothing so large has ever been able to before, yet its ride quality is surprisingly smooth. Whether suffering through inner-city laneways, inundated with poorly paved railroad crossings and ill-engineered bridge expansion joints, or tackling a circuitous back road filled with broken tarmac, the Panamera provides plenty of suspension travel for soaking up the worst bumps and ruts without getting unsettled. Of course its compliance or firmness depends on the trim and wheel options chosen, but I’ve driven every grade besides the new GTS, and all combine racetrack-worthy performance with a level of comfort I’d be happy to live with daily.
My test model’s optional Satin Platinum finished 21-inch alloys on 275/35 front and 315/30 rear Pirelli Cinturato P7 performance rubber are the largest on offer, so it wasn’t as if I was temporarily whisked away on the velvet carpet ride of the base 4S model’s standard 19s, the exact same 265/45 front and 295/40 rear ZRs used for the most entry-level of Panameras, incidentally, which can be had for just $99,300.
That more luxury-oriented model might not be the quickest in the line, but it still provides a spirited 5.7-second sprint from standstill to 100 km/h or 5.5 seconds with the available Sport Chrono Package, while my tester reduces such stoplight shenanigans, er… such professionally sanctioned launch tests on privately owned drag strips to just 4.4 or 4.2 seconds respectively. Likewise the 4S continues charging onward and upward to 160 km/h in just 10.3 seconds, shaving 3.3 seconds from the base model’s zero to 160 km/h time, all before topping out at 289 km/h, an amazing 25 km/h faster terminal track velocity than the entry Panamera.
As exciting as all this sounds there are still much quicker Panameras on offer, the new GTS doing the initial deed in 4.1 seconds, the Turbo blasting past in just 3.8 seconds, and the Turbo S E-Hybrid needing a mere 3.4, while top speeds rise commensurately, the latter model capable of 310 km/h if you can find a track with a long enough straight to test it on, but suffice to say this Panamera 4S performs better than most sport sedans, its new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK gearbox delivering quick, smooth, paddle-actuated shifts, and torque-vectoring all-wheel drive maintaining awe-inspiring grip in all weather conditions, while it looks just as sensational when blurring past at high speeds as when cruising through town.
As I glossed over earlier, the inky black exterior accents don’t come standard, but my tester’s darkened trim contrasted the white paint beautifully. Satin silver and/or bright metal embellishment is the norm, or alternatively you can paint out the mirror caps, door handles, badges, etcetera, in glossy black. Inside, the possibilities are nearly limitless, but the Panamera’s incredibly fine attention to high-quality details, including the best of composites and leathers, optional woods, aluminum or carbon fibre, and digital interfaces that are so high in resolution it’s as if you can stick your hand right into the depths of their beautifully deep, rich contrasted screens and graphically illustrated artistry.
Yes, this is as good as digitization gets in the automotive realm, whether staring at the classic five-dial Porsche instrument cluster, its centre circle being the only analogue component in an otherwise colourful array of displays, the left-side screen for more driving related information and the one on the right being a comprehensive multi-information unit, or alternatively letting your fingers do the walking over the wide centre infotainment touchscreen, which comes close to 3D when viewing the navigation map. All the expected gesture controls make this as easy to use as a smartphone or tablet, and speaking of your personal device of choice it now syncs up to either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, while providing all of the functions expected in this class including an as-tested overhead camera that, together with audible and visual fore and aft sensors, makes parking much easier.
Most controls on the sloping centre console are touch sensitive, requiring a subtle push and click to engage. All the switchgear feels extremely high in quality, a real solid piece of work. The surrounding surface is relatively easy to keep clean thanks to a black glass-like smartphone treatment, although the piano black lacquered trim found throughout my tester, especially the section on the ashtray at the very base of that lower console, was always covered in muck, dust and what have you. Fortunately you can opt for any number of surface treatment substitutes that look cleaner even when dirty, although there’s something to be said for being able to easily see what needs cleaning for the sake of keeping things sanitary.
Ahead of the driver is one of the best leather-wrapped sport steering wheels in the industry. I love the narrow spokes, hollowed out for an even lighter, more sporting look, while the integrated buttons and scrolling knurled metal dials are superbly crafted with wonderful tight fitment and ideal damping. As usual the heated steering wheel button hides within the base of the third spoke, a smart design for sure, albeit some might find it easy to switch on or off when spinning the wheel. This said it comes on automatically when starting up, or likewise stays off, depending on its settings.
My tester included three-way heated and cooled front seats, plus a fabulous optional 710-watt 15-speaker (including sub) Bose Centerpoint 14-channel surround audio system that only gets upstaged by the 1,455-watt 22-speaker (including a 400-watt active sub) Burmester 3D High-End Surround system (I’ve tested this before and it’s out of this world). This said my test model did not include the aforementioned Sport Chrono Package, so therefore was shy 0.2 seconds of sprint time (not that I noticed), plus its centre dash top-mounted clock merely provided a lovely looking black face with white numerals and indices, rather than the chronometer version with digital displays used for lap timing, et al.
Then again, thanks to a full rear console with a massive high-definition touchscreen of its own, plus three-way heated rear seat switchgear, dual rear automatic climate controls for a four-way system front to back, powered-side and rear window sunshades, plus a massive dual-pane panoramic sunroof overhead, not to mention the model’s usual snug fitting bucket seats that are as comfortable and supportive behind as they are up front, I’m not sure whether I would’ve rather driven or been chauffeured in my particular test model, but not requiring the funds or available friend for the latter I enjoyed a quiet sojourn in back while taking notes, and otherwise took care of all driving duties without complaint.
Let’s be reasonable here. The Panamera is now so good in every way it’s impossible to find much fault. Certainly the rear seating area is not as accommodating as an S-Class, but no matter which Panamera model I’ve tested, I’ve never had a problem fitting comfortably within, and remember that Porsche offers the longer-wheelbase Executive version for those who occasionally transport larger family members or friends, which means you don’t have to give up gorgeous design and ultimate performance in order to maintain a practical lifestyle.
That last point pretty well sums up the Porsche Panamera, and with such a wide variety of trims, packages and options, all available to review in detail at CarCostCanada, where you can also find out about available manufacturer rebates as well as dealer invoice pricing that could save you thousands, the 2019 Panamera offers something for nearly every sport-luxury car buyer.