With a focus on having 25 electrified models in its lineup as early as next year, half of which will be fully electric, BMW is wasting no time putting its plans into action. Before we get too excited,…
With a focus on having 25 electrified models in its lineup as early as next year, half of which will be fully electric, BMW is wasting no time putting its plans into action. Before we get too excited, however, not all of these BEVs will be sold into the Canadian market, evidenced by the German brand’s Chinese-made iX3 crossover SUV only being offered in China and Europe for the immediate future.
The i4, which utilizes the 4 Series Gran Coupe’s four-door liftback body style and starts at $54,990 (not including incentives or destination fees), will be available in two different trims, including the eDrive40 and M50 xDrive. The former uses a single rear-wheel drive (RWD) electric motor good for 335 horsepower, while the latter, which starts at $72,990, combines both front and rear motors for all-wheel drive (AWD) and makes a total of 516 horsepower. Both models come fitted with the same 83.9-kWh battery.
As for performance and range, BMW claims the i4 eDrive40 is capable of 340 km on a single full charge, but not if you’re constantly testing its 5.7-second zero to 100 km/h sprint time, while the M50 xDrive will zip from standstill to 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds and can drive for approximately 510 km after completely recharging. That latter number gets the i4 close to the Tesla Model 3’s 576 km maximum range, a car the i4 has clearly in its sights.
Likewise, BMW Canada also offers the X3 xDrive30e PHEV, but unfortunately, as noted above, the iX3 won’t be giving Tesla’s Model Y a run for its money in Canada anytime soon. Moving up a size category, BMW also makes its 389-horsepower X5 xDrive45e PHEV available for 2022, once again offering an electrified alternative not available from Tesla.
The new iX targets Tesla’s Model X directly, however, and while it doesn’t offer gullwing doors for rear passengers, it does provide a similarly mid-sized two-row layout for up to five passengers and their gear. A total of three iX trims are dubbed xDrive40, xDrive50 and M60, each of which incorporate standard front and rear motors for AWD.
To be clear, the iX xDrive50 is the only trim available for 2022, which means the xDrive40 and M60 will arrive later this year as 2023 models. The iX xDrive40, which will start at $79,990, makes 322 horsepower, can sprint to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds, and has a range of 340 km, whereas the current $89,990 xDrive50 makes 516 horsepower, can hit 100 km/h in just 4.6 seconds, and can be driven for up to 521 km before requiring a recharge. Lastly, the 610-horsepower M60 starts at $121,750, can scoot to 100 km/h from standstill in a scant 3.8 seconds, and can cover up to 450 km of ground before recharging.
What’s more, unlike smartphones, tablets, laptops and plenty of EVs that have been on the market over the past few years, BMW’s new BEVs don’t suffer from much if any battery degradation, which means the various claimed range estimates mentioned above will still hold up after years and even a decade’s use. In other words, the batteries in these new BMW EVs are designed to last the life of the vehicle, or more specifically up to 1,500 full charge cycles, which is enough for more than 500,000 km of driving.
CarCostCanada has full pricing and trim information for the 2022 i4 as well as 2022 and 2023 iX models, including all options that you can build out in their car configurator. On top of this, you’ll receive any available information regarding manufacturer rebates, factory financing and lease rate deals (both i4 and iX models currently have in-house financing/lease rates from 4.49 percent), plus you’ll receive dealer invoice pricing that can help you negotiate a better deal on any new vehicle. Find out how the CarCostCanada membership can benefit you, and be sure to download their free app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store.
Speaking of money, BMW Canada is also claiming that both i4 trims are eligible for provincial zero-emission incentives in BC, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, plus the base i4 eDrive40 qualifies for the federal iZEV rebate. Unfortunately, the iX’ higher base price disqualifies it from any provincial or national government rebates.
The new i4 and iX will start arriving at Canadian BMW dealerships next month.
BMW Ultimate – Reserve the BMW iX and i4 now! (0:15):
The Power of Action: Meet The First-Ever BMW iX & BMW i4 | BMW USA (0:06):
The Power of Action: Meet The First-Ever BMW iX & BMW i4 | BMW USA (0:15):
The Power of Action: Meet The First-Ever BMW iX & BMW i4 | BMW USA (0:30):
[ SPACE ] by BMW: BMW iX & i4 | BMW USA (1:12):
Introducing the BMW i4 M50: The All-Electric BMW M | BMW USA (2:54):
The First-Ever BMW i4 | The All-Electric Car | BMW USA (0:44):
The BMW Concept i4: New Electric Car | BMW USA (2:01):
The 2022 BMW i4 Models: BMW Review & Walk-Around | BMW USA (2:07):
Introducing the BMW iX | The All-Electric SAV | BMW USA (1:15):
The Electric Mood of the 2022 BMW iX | BMW USA (3:35):
Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 1 | BMW USA (2:11):
Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 2 | BMW USA (2:11):
Creating the BMW iX: Behind the Scenes, Episode 3 | BMW USA (2:25):
The All-Electric SAV: 2022 BMW iX Walk Around & Review | BMW USA (2:22):
Pioneer of a New Age: The Panoramic Eclipse Roof: The 2022 BMW iX | BMW USA (0:54):
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: BMW
It’s been a strong year for Porsche’s new Taycan so far, and the German performance brand isn’t about to let the all-electric model’s momentum ebb anytime soon thanks to new updates for the 2022…
It’s been a strong year for Porsche’s new Taycan so far, and the German performance brand isn’t about to let the all-electric model’s momentum ebb anytime soon thanks to new updates for the 2022 version of both its regular four-door coupe body style and the new sport-wagon-like Taycan Cross Turismo.
Number one of the update list is a revision of the sixth-generation Porsche Communications Management (PCM 6.0) infotainment system within the centre stack, which now adds Android Auto to a smartphone integration package that already included Apple CarPlay.
Android Auto permits users of Google Android-based smartphones to completely connect to the centre display for greater ease of use. A 2022 Taycan owner can now simply plug their Android handheld device into the assigned USB-C port and follow the necessary prompts, at which time a modified version of their phone’s features, apps and personal info is displayed within the in-car touchscreen.
Porsche has updated the new PCM 6.0 operating system’s graphic design as well, with five menu options on the left side of the display rather than merely three, while each icon can now be organized separately.
What’s more, the 2022 Taycan’s Voice Pilot auditory assistant is now capable of better understanding instructions in everyday language, plus the PCM 6.0 satellite navigation system is quicker to respond to inputs, and also displays info with more clarity thanks to the just-noted graphics refresh.
Better yet, owners of 2022 Taycans will also be capable parking and retrieving their car remotely via their smartphones, by downloading Remote Park Assist. Remote Park Assist, which can remotely park perpendicularly and parallelly, will automatically detect a given parking space by first measuring it with ultrasonic sensors and cameras, and if ample space is available will park the Taycan by using the Porsche Connect app’s smartphone prompts.
Also important for this higher end premium class, new 2022 Taycan owners can now utilize more personalization options, such as Paint to Sample and Paint to Sample Plus. Along with the 17 standard paint colours already offered, Porsche will provide the choice of 65 Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur colours (so far) when opting for Paint to Sample, the palette including a number of past favourites like Acid Green, Moonlight Blue Metallic, Riviera Blue, Rubystar, and Viola Metallic.
The Paint to Sample Plus option, on the other hand, lets customers provide a unique sample of any colour, after which their Taycan will be doused in a coat of colour-matched paint from the factory.
Ahead of the 2021 Arteon four-door coupe virtual world première set for June 24th, Volkswagen has released one image containing two artist’s renderings of the forthcoming model, one of which clearly shows an elongated wagon-like body style similar in concept to Porsche’s Panamera Sport Turismo (see a full road test review of all Panamera models here).
While exciting news for five-door sport wagon fans in Europe, take note the new Arteon Shooting Brake, as it’s called, won’t be available in North American markets. Instead, Canada and the U.S. will only get the refreshed first-generation Arteon in its four-door fastback body style, which means the German automaker will have less opportunity to pull this model up from its sales doldrums.
Yes, as attractive as today’s Arteon is, the sleek sport sedan has been relegated to niche status in Canada. Sales during calendar year 2019 totalled just 456 units (although deliveries started partway through the year in March), which left it dead last in the volume-branded mainstream mid-size sedan segment. The Passat, its more conventional and much less expensive four-door sedan stable mate, finished one step ahead with 672 examples sold, and take note this happened well before 2020’s tumultuous health, economic and social woes shook up the market.
This last point in mind, over the first three months of 2020 (all that’s been reported so far, and mostly before we were hit by hard times) the Arteon’s numbers were even worse with just 81 Canadian buyers (which if extrapolated over four quarters would equal 324 sales), although the new 2020 Passat found 523 new owners during the first three months of the year (theoretically equaling 2,092 unit sales over four quarters), a clear sign that Canadians like the new 2020 model’s ground up redesign.
At first glance, the Passat’s positive initial 2020 sales results could bode well for the upcoming Arteon mid-cycle makeover, health, social and especially economic issues aside, but the current 2020 Arteon is already a stunner, and while the artist’s rendering appears longer, lower and wider with much larger wheels, typical of such cartoonish drawings, if one were to squeeze it back into reality the update should actually look much like the current car other than a slightly modified grille and lower front fascia, plus similarly mild modifications most likely applied to the rear.
The Arteon’s interior is currently the best Volkswagen has on offer, and while we shouldn’t expect wholesale changes, VW is promising to integrate its latest modular infotainment matrix 3 (MIB3) system for faster application processing, improved connectivity, greater overall functionality, and better entertainment.
Volkswagen will also introduce more intelligent assist systems, such as “Travel Assist” semi-autonomous or “highly assisted driving.” Like other hands-on-the-wheel self-correcting driver assist systems currently offered by other manufacturers, Travel Assist has been designed specifically for long-distance highway use, with the Arteon capable of “steering, acceleration and braking up to speeds of 130 mph [210 km/h],” said Volkswagen in a press release, albeit “under the control of the driver.”
All of this could push the cost of the already pricey Arteon higher, however, the current version of this low-slung sport sedan hitting the road just a hair’s breadth under $50k ($49,960 plus fees to be exact), which is without doubt a key reason its sales are slow.
Kia’s Stinger, the only other four-door coupe in the mainstream volume-branded mid-size sedan segment, found 1,569 Canadian buyers last year, however, while walking away with 2019 Canadian Car of the Year honours, but this similarly sleek alternative is a considerable $5,000 less expensive and comes equipped with stronger base and optional performance as well as more features.
Right now it’s possible to lower a new 2019 Arteon’s base price to match the Stinger’s window sticker, mind you, with up to $5,000 in additional incentives available from Volkswagen, while the German automaker is offering factory leasing and financing rates from zero percent for the 2020 Arteon. Not to be outdone, Kia is offering the same $5,000 in additional incentives on any 2019 Stingers still in stock or up to $4,000 in additional incentives for the 2020 Stinger, so take you pick. Learn more about these deals as well as available manufacturer rebates and otherwise difficult to source dealer invoice pricing at CarCostCanada. Also, make sure to download the new free CarCostCanada app from Google Play Store or the Apple iTunes store.
More detailed information about the 2021 Arteon, and the Euro-market Arteon Shooting Brake, will follow the upcoming world première later this month.
Story credit: Trevor Hofmann
Photo credits: Volkswagen
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):
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.
Mercedes’ CLA has been a strong seller in its subcompact luxury segment since being introduced to Canadians in 2013, dueling it out with Audi’s A3 for top spot while up against its own B-Class, Acura’s…
Mercedes’ CLA has been a strong seller in its subcompact luxury segment since being introduced to Canadians in 2013, dueling it out with Audi’s A3 for top spot while up against its own B-Class, Acura’s ILX, BMW’s 2 Series, and others in a traditional car category that’s now under threat by an ever-burgeoning class of subcompact luxury SUVs.
Still, while Mercedes-Benz has always offered a bevy of industry segment stalwarts, it’s also become the brand of micro-niches, having invented the four-door coupe body style, so it would be highly unusual behaviour for its leadership to say so long to its plentiful car lineup just because its utilities are currently experiencing more growth. After all, Mercedes has been around longer than most of its competitors, and therefore has endured all the trends the automotive industry has ever weathered.
Speaking of endurance, or lack therefore, Lexus said goodbye to the entry-level luxury car market by cancelling its CT, Acura hasn’t bothered to update its ILX in too long to remember, everyone’s still wondering if BMW will ever offer North Americans anything in this class with four doors, and all other premium brands haven’t even bothered showing up at all, but take note that Mercedes has been selling its brand new A-Class Hatchback for two months already, and plans to add the completely new A-Class Sedan that more specifically targets the most popular four-door version of the segment-leading A3 (and will become the most affordable Mercedes model) later this year, while the fall of 2019 will also see the arrival of a fully redesigned CLA-Class four-door coupe that promises a serious move up the desirability ladder, not that the current model is particularly lacking.
“With the first CLA we celebrated a huge success by selling some 750,000 vehicles and created a totally new segment with a four-door coupe in the compact class,” says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales.
Of those new CLA buyers in Canada, more than two thirds were new to Mercedes-Benz at the height of the model’s popularity, while also important, these new Mercedes owners averaged seven years younger than the brand’s typical customer at the time. Starting this fall, Mercedes will offer Canadian entry-level luxury consumers the choice of three recently redesigned or all-new subcompact car and SUV models (four if you split the A-Class into its hatchback and sedan body styles, and five if you count any potentially remaining stock of B-Class models still around when Mercedes wraps up its tenure at the close of this model year), the CLA being the sportiest, most expressive of the bunch, and many of these customers will likely move up to pricier more profitable models within the automaker’s lineup as their careers and personal finances progress.
“The new CLA is even more emotional and sportier than its predecessor,” added Seeger. “Coupled with new operating systems, it sets a new benchmark for the entire class.”
First shown at Las Vegas’ Consumer Electronics Show (CES) earlier this year, an apropos venue considering the ultra-advanced MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment interface that together with the integrated digital instrument cluster covers more than half the dash top, the new CLA looks a bit more grown up thanks to a more serious, almost frowning and forward-slanting M-B sport grille which, in its release, Mercedes claims is “reminiscent of a shark’s nose.”
The new grille, found ahead of a longer hood topped with classic Mercedes “powerdomes”, is flanked by sharper, narrower and more complex LED Multibeam headlamps featuring 18 individually-controllable LEDs, all of which is underscored by additional complexity in the lower front fascia, while the updated model sees more muscular lower haunches and its greenhouse moved rearward for a more traditional GT profile. It continues this grand touring tradition with squarer more conventional trunk cutout as part of a revised rear end design featuring narrower, more horizontal LED taillights that sit higher up above the back bumper and therefore add more visual width to the design, its slipperier sheet metal registering a wind-cheating 0.23 coefficient of drag.
“As a four-door coupe, the new CLA intrigues with its puristic, seductive design and sets new standards in the design DNA of ‘sensual purity’. It impresses with its perfect proportions reflecting the first design sketch: a long, stretched hood, a compact greenhouse, a wide track with exposed wheel arches and our typical GT rear with a strong distinctive ‘Coke-bottle shoulder’,” said Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer of Daimler AG. “In short, the CLA Coupe has the potential to become a modern design icon.”
Inside, it’s easy to see that Mercedes is targeting the younger market mentioned earlier, thanks to an edgy, sporty look including bright colours, plus those all-in-one digital displays that are large enough to cause screen envy amongst owners of the latest Apple, Microsoft and Samsung tablets. That fixed freestanding gauge cluster and central widescreen display unit eliminates the need for a cowl to shield instruments, with the rest of the completely dash panel including a sporty paddle-shifter-infused leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel ahead of the driver, a very narrow, near retro HVAC interface at centre, and an uncluttered floating-style lower console featuring Mercedes’ exclusive palm rest and new infotainment touchpad controller within easy reach. Only the circular dash-mounted air vents appear carryover, but of course their “avant-garde” turbine-like jet-engine design is entirely new and particularly striking.
That MBUX infotainment system, which debuted in the new A-Class a year ago, after a similar system was first integrated into the E-Class, is more than just a very large pretty interface with impressive high-resolution graphics capable of Augmented Reality navigation and fully customizable displays, it also provides serious computing power with integrated software that can even “learn and respond to natural speech,” says Mercedes.
This will be good news to anyone who has ever been frustrated by the majority of voice recognition systems past and current, which need very precise and often not intuitively thought out commands. Instead, Mercedes’ voice assistant reportedly communicates similarly to Amazon’s Alexa system, only needing an occupant to say “Hey Mercedes” in order to prompt any number of functions via less direct questions, plus it’s smart enough to recognize the person asking the question, rather than others in the car that might be having a separate conversation.
“The latest version of voice control for MBUX – the Mercedes-Benz User Experience – can be experienced in the new CLA. For example, the voice assistant ‘Hey Mercedes’ is able to recognize and answer considerably more complex queries,” said Sajjad Khan, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars for CASE and Head of Digital Vehicle & Mobility. “What’s more, the voice assistance no longer gets confused by other passenger’s conversations. Instead it only responds to the commands of the person who last said ‘Hey Mercedes’ to activate the system.”
According to Mercedes, the updated voice assistant is now capable of recognizing and responding to more complicated questions than previous voice recognition systems offered, citing the example, “Find Italian restaurants with at least four stars that are open for lunch but exclude pizza shops.”
MBUX can also cover a broader range of topics than previous hands-free voice systems, with an example of a sports query being, “Hey Mercedes, How did the Toronto Raptors play?” The question, “How has the Apple share price performed compared to Microsoft?” may be more concerning to Mercedes drivers these days however, stock market information being one of the subjects MBUX is well versed in. Alternatively, maybe you need a simple calculation performed while driving. Mercedes’ example might be a bit rudimentary for anyone old enough to be behind the wheel of the CLA, but possibly a child in the back seat might ask, “What is the square roof of 9?” or for that matter “How big is Texas?” when it comes to a general knowledge question, but it’s fair to expect that plenty of health-conscious Mercedes owners may want to ask, “What is the fat content of avocados?”
Also designed make life with a new CLA easier and more accommodating, the upcoming model grows by 48 millimetres (1.9 inches) to 4,688 mm (184.5 in) from nose to tail, and rides on a 30-mm (1.2-in) longer wheelbase that now measures 2,729 mm (107.4 in), while it’s also 53 mm (2.1 in) wider at 1,830 mm (72.0 in), not including the side mirrors, and fractionally (2 mm/0.1 in) lower overall at 1,439 mm (56.6 in).
According to yet more measurements provided, the result of its mostly increased exterior dimensions is a roomier and therefore more comfortable cabin, with front occupants getting 17 mm (0.6 in) more headroom, rear occupants benefiting from a hair’s-width (+3 mm/0.1 in) of additional head space, and width measurements experiencing the greatest improvement thanks to shoulder room up 9 and 22 mm (0.3 and 0.8 in) respectively front to back, and front to rear elbow room increasing by 35 and 44 mm (1.4 and 1.7 in) apiece.
Despite the new CLA’s longer wheelbase and greater overall length, front legroom is actually down by a millimetre while rear legroom grows by the same nominal measurement, plus the trunk is also surprisingly smaller, albeit by just 10 litres (0.3 cubic feet) to a nevertheless still commodious 460 litres (16.2 cu ft), but this said the load compartment opening’s width expands by a considerable 262 mm (10.3 in), while the load floor is now 113 mm (4.4 in) wider and 24 mm (0.9 in) deeper.
Under the opposing deck lid, the updated CLA will once again come standard with Mercedes’ 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine, currently featuring 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque yet making the same twist and 13 horsepower of additional thrust in the new A-Class, which will more than likely be the go-to powerplant for this future CLA. It will come mated to the premium brand’s in-house developed and produced 7G-DCT twin-clutch automated transmission, while both front- and 4MATIC all-wheel drivetrains will be available. An AMG-powered version is expected after the base CLA 250 debuts, with performance that will likely match or exceed the current model’s 375 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque.
The new CLA’s increased width makes a difference to the chassis’ track too, widening it by a substantive 63-mm (2.5-in) up front and 55-mm (2.1-in) in back, while it also receives a reduced centre of gravity for what should be especially sporty driving dynamics. Suspension specifications include Mercedes’ Direct-Steer system and front hydromounts, plus a decoupled multi-link rear axle that minimizes noise, vibration and harshness levels, while larger stabilizer bars help reduce body lean when pushed hard. The standard tires should measure 225/45R18, with 225/40R19s being optional.
As with all new Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles, plus most luxury competitors, advanced driver assistance systems play a big part in enhancing ease-of-use and safety, so the CLA will include standard Active Brake Assist automatic braking, and included in the optional Intelligent Drive Package is Active Lane Keep Assist that helps drivers remain centered in their chosen lane while also keeping them from wandering off the road, plus additionally it will include Pre-Safe Plus with rear traffic warning and automatic reverse braking.
The Intelligent Drive Package, pulled from the ultra-advanced Mercedes S-Class, does more than that, mind you, thanks to its ability to drive the CLA autonomously for short distances. This is a semi-autonomous system requiring “cooperative driver support,” says Mercedes, but in certain situations it can drive itself.
The redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz CLA, which will be built at the Kecskemét assembly plant in Hungary, will arrive this coming fall, at which time it just might reclaim top spot in the subcompact luxury car hierarchy, although Mercedes’ more traditionally sedan-style A-Class will more than likely assume that position. After all, the more upright four-door will start at just $34,990 (see all new A-Class Hatchback and Sedan prices and features on CarCostCanada), about $4k less than the current CLA, so it has a significant advantage in the sales department. Still, with all the big upgrades made to the new CLA it should easily reclaim its loyal following while attracting a fresh set of adventurous newcomers to the Mercedes-Benz brand.
Until the new model arrives, be sure to check out our comprehensive photo gallery above and these six Mercedes-Benz-supplied videos below:
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019): World Premiere | Trailer (1:21):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019) World Premiere at CES in Las Vegas | Re-Live (18:40):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019) World Premiere at CES | Highlights (1:50):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019): The Design (1:06):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019) and Jan Frodeno: In the Wind Tunnel (1:41):
Mercedes-Benz CLA Coupé (2019): Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) (1:03):
Now moving into the third year of its second-generation redesign, the thoroughly improved Panamera four-door coupe is once again available in the purest of Porsche performance trims, GTS. The new GTS…
Now moving into the third year of its second-generation redesign, the thoroughly improved Panamera four-door coupe is once again available in the purest of Porsche performance trims, GTS.
The new GTS model slots in between the $118,500 Panamera 4S and $116,800 4 E-Hybrid models and the $172,500 Panamera Turbo line in both price and performance, with a starting MSRP of $146,200 plus freight and fees in the regular five-door liftback body style or $153,300 in Sport Turismo guise.
Unlike the previous Panamera GTS that stuffed a big naturally-aspirated 4.8-litre V8 with 440 horsepower and 384 lb-ft of torque under the hood, the new one uses the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 engine found in the latest Panamera Turbo, albeit detuned to make 453 horsepower and 457 lb-ft of torque, which is 13 horsepower and a sizeable 73 lb-ft of torque more than the outgoing model, resulting in a zero to 100km/h sprint time of just 4.1 seconds, compared to 4.4 seconds with the previous GTS as well as the current 440 horsepower Panamera 4S (or 4.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono Package), 4.6 seconds with the 462 net-horsepower 4 E-Hybrid, and 3.8 seconds (3.6 seconds with Sport Chrono) with the 550 horsepower Panamera Turbo.
The Panamera’s standstill to 100km/h straight-line performance ranges from 5.7 seconds with the base 330 horsepower rear-wheel drive Panamera to 3.4 seconds in the almighty 680 net-horsepower all-wheel drive Turbo S E-Hybrid, so the new GTS fits right into the quicker side of the equation, while it also powers from zero to 160km/h in just 9.6 seconds before attaining a top speed of 292km/h (289 km/h for the GTS Sport Turismo). By comparison, the 4S takes 10.3 seconds to arrive at 160km/h and peaks at 289km/h, whereas the Turbo S E-Hybrid hits the 160km/h mark by 7.6 seconds and maxes out at 310km/h.
Like all other Panamera models, the new GTS utilizes Porsche’s new in-house designed and built eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, while Porsche Traction Management (PTM) all-wheel drive makes sure that all available power is put to efficient use.
Being that most owners will never see the top speed of any Panamera, with even the base model capable of 264km/h, the GTS sets itself apart from its siblings with styling and handling. With respect to the latter, the new model utilizes a standard three-chamber adaptive air suspension preset 10 millimetres lower than the regular Panamera, with the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system modified for an even sportier setup than usual. Larger 390-mm front and 365-mm rear disc brakes harness all the GTS’ forward momentum, making sure the big four-door is as capable at stopping as it is at going.
If you don’t happen to see the italicized “GTS” script on the lower front door panel or rear liftgate as it speeds past, the new model is as easy to spot from a distance as other GTS models in the Porsche lineup thanks to blackened exterior trim in place of body-colour and metal brightwork. Additionally, a standard Sport Design package means that a black lower lip spoiler, side skirts and rear diffuser get added, while grey accented headlamps and taillights maintain the darkened theme. Lastly, glossy black 20-inch multi-spoke Panamera Design alloys round out the exterior look.
Inside, trademark GTS design elements get applied generously, particularly soft black suede-like Alcantara and beautiful anodized aluminum accents. Both are applied to the standard sport steering wheel, with just the former dressing up each insert of the otherwise leather sport seat upholstery front to back. Alcantara gets used for all armrests as well.
Additionally, as part of the standard GTS Interior Package, Porsche covers the steering wheel hub, the upper and lower sections of the dash including the glove box lid, the edges of the centre console, and each door panel in its entirety with soft leather for a downright hedonistic experience.
The aforementioned sport steering wheel includes its own heatable element to match those in the front seats, plus each spoke is filled with multifunction switchgear that includes Connect Plus for accessing a variety of digital services, while at the backside of each spoke you’ll find a set of metal paddle shifters.
The aforementioned GTS Interior Package can also be combined with a Carmine Red or Chalk grey two-tone effect for an extra $3,980, or if you want to personalize the look further you can choose from myriad leather colourways. Porsche also offers the ability to upgrade the interior with a unique tachometer face, Carmine Red or Chalk contrast stitching throughout the interior, embroidered GTS headrest logos in Carmine Red or Chalk, matching seatbelts, etcetera.
All of the special GTS features get added to a new Panamera that was much improved for its second-generation makeover, with all 2019 models including the Porsche Advanced Cockpit digital gauge cluster as standard, not to mention advanced driver assistance systems like the highly sophisticated Porsche InnoDrive adaptive cruise control system with stop and go capability plus more.
Also, new to the Panamera range yet standard with the GTS is a full colour head-up display unit that projects vital information onto the windscreen ahead of the driver.
The new 2019 Panamera GTS is available now at Porsche retailers across Canada.
Few luxury brands get as much diversity from a given model as Porsche. The sports car of sports cars, for instance, the Porsche 911, is available in eight different models that range from $104,000 to…
Few luxury brands get as much diversity from a given model as Porsche. The sports car of sports cars, for instance, the Porsche 911, is available in eight different models that range from $104,000 to $334,000, and within this range of models are multiple body styles, performance grades and trims. The variations seem limitless.
The Porsche Panamera four-door coupe doesn’t cover quite as much of a price spread and is only available in three models for 2018, but once again within those models are multiple body styles, performance grades and trims, so while the variations don’t appear quite as limitless as 911 permutations, the chances of seeing the exact same Panamera driving down the street toward you is near impossible.
To help shed some light on the breadth of Panamera models available, Porsche Canada divides its road-hugging four-door coupe into three categories including Panamera, Panamera E-Hybrid and Panamera Turbo, while a fourth Panamera GTS model will slot in between the latter two for 2019.
Within these classifications are three body styles and various states of tune. The former includes the regular-length Panamera, the long-wheelbase Panamera Executive that adds 150 mm (5.9 inches) between the axles and significantly lengthens the entire car for improved rear legroom, and the shooting-brake, wagon-style Panamera Sport Turismo that uses the regular wheelbase yet increases cargo volume by 27 litres (1.0 cubic foot) behind the rear seatbacks and 51 litres (1.8 cubic feet) when those seats are folded flat, while the latter variances are much more diverse.
Base Panamera trim incorporates a 330 horsepower turbocharged V6 with rear-wheel drive (RWD); the numeric 4 designation signifies the same engine with all-wheel drive (AWD); the 4S denotes a twin-turbo V6 making 440 horsepower mated to AWD; the 4 E-Hybrid combines a twin-turbo V6 with Porsche’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain and AWD for 462 net horsepower; the Turbo boasts a twin-turbocharged V8 and AWD for 550 horsepower; and finally the Turbo S E-Hybrid with its twin-turbo V8, plug-in hybrid and AWD combination results in a staggering 680 net horsepower.
Connecting powerplant to driveline is Porsche’s new eight-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission that works with both hybrid and non-hybrid models, as well as both rear- and all-wheel drivetrains. Introduced just last year with this new Panamera, the new gearbox might just be the most important “cog in the wheel” both literally and figuratively, in that it replaces three transmissions from the previous generation, including a six-speed manual used with base model V6 and naturally aspirated V8 trims, a seven-speed PDK found most everywhere else, and a Tiptronic S eight-speed automatic exclusive to hybrids and diesel models.
The former transmissions did an admirable job, but the performance gained by the new eight-speed PKD has made a significant difference across the line, especially amongst hybridized Panameras that have been transformed from fast fuel-sippers to the dominant forces within the Panamera lineup.
The new eight-speed PDK transmission builds on the seven-speed original that was already impressive, with better efficiency, quicker shifts, smoother shift intervals, and most importantly greater strength, the new transmission given a torque ceiling that reaches upwards to 737 lb-ft.
This last point is critical when fitted to the aforementioned hybrid powertrains that produce immense amounts of torque at a much faster rate than their conventionally powered siblings. To be clear, Porsche didn’t create a one-size-fits-all dual-clutch gearbox solution, but rather a modular design that allows different versions of the same basic transmission to be used for hybrid, non-hybrid, rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive applications.
For instance, the electrified variant fits its hybrid module within the PDK’s bellhousing, while a hang-on clutch transfers torque to the front axle in conventionally powered all-wheel drive configurations. With a focus on efficiency, the eight-speed PDK provides three overdrive ratios, which means the Panamera achieves its terminal velocity in sixth gear. This in-house design certainly serves all Panamera purposes well.
This being a Porsche, performance numbers factor heavily into the purchasing decision for most buyers. The good news is that even the base rear-drive Panamera can sprint from standstill to 100km/h in just 5.7 seconds, whereas the same engine with all-wheel drive can do so in 5.5 seconds. If you’re still yearning for more speed, the Panamera 4S manages the same feat in just 4.4 seconds.
You’ll need to add 0.1 seconds for extended wheelbase Executive models, but on the contrary you can enhance acceleration by opting for the Sport Chrono Package that chops 0.2 seconds off of all zero to 100km/h sprint times via sportier engine, transmission and chassis tuning. The Sport Chrono Package also includes a special Sport Plus button next to the regular Sport button, which makes the engine even more responsive than when in Sport mode by adjusting the rev-limiter to a harder setting, plus it sharpens turn-in and overall steering sensitivity, and increases the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) damper rigidity. What’s more, the Panamera’s adaptive air suspension lowers and its spring rate firms up, while the Rear Axle Steering with Power Steering Plus improves agility yet further.
The former benefits low-speed manoeuvrability by pointing front and rear wheels in the opposite direction, shortening the turning circle, and also enhancing high-speed stability by steering the front and rear wheels in the same direction, while Power Steering Plus boosts the electric power steering to lighten its load at low speeds and firms it up while responding with more precision at high speeds.
All driving modes, including Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual are available from a new steering wheel mounted rotating switch featuring an integrated Sport Response button, the latter similar to Launch Control albeit even more useful on a daily basis, as it not only primes the engine and transmission for quickest possible acceleration, but works just as well off the line as it does during overtaking moves on the highway or track. Consider it a “push to pass” mode that provides maximum responsiveness for about 20 seconds at a time.
And yes, Launch Control, which optimizes acceleration from a standing start, is included as well, as is a performance display within the standard 12.3-inch Porsche Communication Management (PCM) infotainment touchscreen, plus an analogue/digital chronograph stopwatch mounted atop the dash top for calculating performance/track lap times. Porsche also adds a graphic within the primary instrument cluster’s multi-information display that shows longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
Back to straight-line performance figures, the first electrified Panamera is the 4 E-Hybrid that moves off the line similarly to the aforementioned 4S despite being more powerful, taking a mere 0.2 seconds longer to hit the 100km/h mark due to 300 kilos (661 lbs) of extra weight. Of course it’s the hybrid’s 5.1 Le/100km (compared to 10.1 L/100km) city/highway combined fuel economy and its ability to run totally on electric power for up to 50 kilometres (31 miles) at speeds of 140 km/h (87 mph) that separates it from the conventionally powered pack.
Next are the Panamera Turbos. The twin-turbo V8’s 550 horses and 567 lb-ft of twist manage to launch it to 100km/h in a scant 3.8 seconds, or once again 3.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package.
Lastly, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is why the new eight-speed PDK needed to be so robust. With its twin-turbo V8 and plug-in hybrid combination making a shocking 680 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque it needed to be as strong as possible, its amazing all-wheel thrust capable of flinging it to 100km/h in a seemingly unreal 3.4 seconds despite gaining 315 kilograms (694 lbs) over its Turbo counterpart, let alone 140 kg (308 lbs) more than the lesser 4 E-Hybrid, while its top track speed is a staggering 310 km/h (192 mph).
Batteries are heavy, not to mention all the compact yet still mass amassing hybrid components, but once again it’s all worth it when passing by the pump, the top-tier Panamera also excelling at efficiency performance with a claimed 4.8 Le/100km rating. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is truly a best of both worlds, have your cake and eat it too kind of car.
On that note, the base Panamera is good for a claimed rating of 11.0 L/100km in the city, 8.3 on the highway and 9.8 combined, with some thanks to its standard auto start-stop function that not only shuts the engine off when it would otherwise be idling while stopped, but includes an innovative coasting mode. As you might imagine the more powerful engines use more fuel, but even the most formidable non-hybrid Turbo ekes out a commendable 13.4 city, 10.1 highway and 11.9 combined.
Once you’ve decided which model, body style and trim you’d like, deciding on options can be an overwhelming prospect. This side of bespoke coachbuilders that make most everything by hand, no other manufacturer offers as many possible build combinations as Porsche. Just go ahead and try to put one together on the company’s online configurator and you’ll quickly figure this out.
For such reasons there’s no way to provide a full menu of standard and optional features here in this overview, but take note that over and above items already mentioned base model highlights include LED headlamps, Porsche’s quad of signature LED spotlights within each headlight, three-dimensional LED taillights with the same four-point LED signatures, 19-inch alloy wheels, an adaptive rear spoiler, brushed aluminum door sill guards, an electromechanical parking brake, partial leather upholstery, eight-way powered front seats with heated cushions and driver’s memory, and much more.
The leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel is heatable in standard trim too, and features paddles shifters on its backside in all trims, while you’ll be looking through it at an instrument cluster comprised of two large 7.0-inch high-resolution digital displays surrounding a large black-faced analogue tachometer, while other standard items include pushbutton ignition, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, a HomeLink garage door opener, rain sensing wipers, filtered dual-zone automatic climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, a powered rear liftgate, tire pressure monitoring, and the large PCM infotainment interface noted earlier, all standard.
The infotainment display on the centre stack is filled with functions such as Apple CarPlay iPhone connectivity and a backup camera with ParkAssist, plus plenty of services like Real Time Traffic, News, Weather, Contacts, Calendar, Napster, a vehicle locator, remote door lock, etcetera, an Online Navigation Module, 4G LTE Capability with in-vehicle WiFi Hotspot, 10-speaker 150-watt audio, and more, again all standard.
As noted, the package and options list is epically long and varied, with dynamic cornering and self-cleaning headlamps, soft-close self-cinching doors, higher grade leathers, myriad seat adjustments with powered massage, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, four-zone auto climate control, Bose surround audio, and an even more potent Burmester 3D surround sound audio upgrade that comes with 21 individually controlled speakers and 1,455 watts of power, while advanced driver assistance systems include Adaptive Cruise Control with Traffic Jam Assist, Lane Keep Assist, Lane Change Assist, Night Vision Assist, a Speed Limit Indicator, and more.
To give you an idea of how wide the Panamera pricing spectrum spans, the base model starts at just $97,300 before freight and fees, while a fully loaded Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo can reach upwards of $300,000 — check CarCostCanada for all retail and dealer invoice prices, plus rebate information.
Panamera pricing is fair too, because along with exceptional performance and high-end premium features galore its interior is as good as anything available today. The quality of materials is exemplary, craftsmanship exquisite, and detailing superb. Ergonomically it’s far superior to most four-door luxury coupes, with rear seat roominess improved over its predecessor and downright limousine-like compared to some it competes against, while cargo carrying capacity is right up there with the class average.
You’ll find 493 litres (17.4 cubic feet) of luggage space under the powered liftback, or 405 litres (14.3 cubic feet) in Hybrid guise. Flip down the top halves of its rear seatbacks and the Panamera will accommodate 1,339 litres (47.3 cubic feet) of longer cargo in the former and 1,246 litres (44.0 cubic feet) in the latter, while cargo improvements made by the Sport Turismo were covered earlier.
To summarize, this has already been an exhaustive overview, but there’s still so much that could be said about the 2018 Porsche Panamera. In top trims it’s easily the sportiest sport sedan currently available, yet its style, quality, workmanship and livable practicality set it apart as one of the best cars in its category as well.