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Friday 2nd November 2012

PH Fleet: Porsche Panamera Diesel

Harris's Panamera certainly sparked some 'spirited' chatter - ready for another onslaught?



There is much conjecture as to what constitutes the most challenging corner in the world; Eau Rouge, Pouhon, 130R or maybe the evil Schwedenkreuz.

But for me it is the penultimate 90-right exiting the short stay car park at Heathrow Terminal One.

'My other car is a Ferra-' Oh, hang on, it is
'My other car is a Ferra-' Oh, hang on, it is
It would be hard enough to navigate your way between the concrete obstacles in this hell-hole driving a Toyota iQ, but in the Panamera it's a nightmare. You swing wide left to give yourself the best possible chance of clearing the evil, jagged thirty inch stump of rock on the right, but as the apex approaches, you can't see if the rear wheel will clear without dropping the wing mirror, and doing this might distract from aligning the front left - which is already perilously close to another hunk of concrete. 18 hours into the working day, this little lot makes Blanchimont feel like Stowe at 35mph.

Under-endowed
And I got it wrong. The front left clipped the kerb and the Panamera's shoulders gave that telltale wobble we all hate so much: the one that signals a scratched wheel rim and makes you want to punch things and people. I didn't want to survey the damage, so I drove home, slept and went outside the next morning to have a gander before phoning the wheel refurb people.

And there was no damage.

'Small' wheel option saved a chunk of alloy
'Small' wheel option saved a chunk of alloy
If I was already convinced that the 'small' 19-inch wheels on this car were the perfect choice for ride comfort and supporting my personal belief that a poverty-spec Panamera is less offensive to the general public than its full-bling brethren, then I'm now absolutely certain. That chubby sidewall and the protruding lip from the Michelin saved an expensive refurb.

In other tyre news, the rears are only about 7,000 miles old and wearing well, despite some hooning for the video we shot. The fronts have been on the car since it was assembled, and now approaching 20,000 miles they are completely spent and will need replacing within the week.

Marmite anyone?
Few cars split opinion like this one, and the Marmite analogy is especially apt because like concentrated yeast extract spread on toasted bread, people tend not to take the soft-line about the Pan Am: they either love or hate the thing. What is absolutely not in doubt is that anyone who completes a long journey in either the front or the rear of this car cannot believe how capable it is.

Well, it looks nicer than the outside
Well, it looks nicer than the outside
Neil Carey, who I work with on the DRIVE videos, sprinted over to Spa in it to shoot the Six Hours and was blown away by the mixture of speed and economy. "But it still looks dreadful", were his parting thoughts. And given his design background, his opinions probably count for something. I like the way the Pamamera looks. And one of my children has just pointed out that I am wearing a jumper inside out.

This car had already covered nearly 10,000 hard miles as a press loaner before I started using it - and promptly doubled the mileage in four months. Brief encounters always hinted that the Panamera was build to withstand some abuse, but the freshness of this car at this mileage is quite something. Everything in the cabin seems untouched and only the outside squab bolster on the driver's seat has polished slightly.

The only problem I have with the splendid cabin is with the hi-fi control buttons, which require quite a shove to operate, which in turn encourages you to use the excellent touch-screen instead. Otherwise it's a fantastic place to spend endless hours heading to jobs.

Show some respect
I continue to enjoy the beefed-up Audi V6 and ZF eight-speed automatic. Actually, should 'enjoy' really be 'respect'? I think it should - especially for the engine. However the gearbox is a masterpiece, and having seen the way BMW has made it perform in the M135i, I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't actually make a more pleasant transmission than the PDKs fitted to faster Panameras.

Rear tyres OK, front ones shot
Rear tyres OK, front ones shot
This car's role is to cover large distances at speed, in comfort - often on motorways in different countries, and always with some enjoyable roads along the way - and to do so efficiently. According to that definition, the way the Panamera Diesel goes about its job makes it one of the better cars I've run. Even with the little 80-litre tank it'll cover well over 600 miles between fills and yet there are some rather more sporting machines that have followed it cross country and, shall we say, underestimated the competence of its chassis.

Seeing the Sport Turismo concept in Paris was an eye-opener. Most people thought it better looking than the existing car, and I agree. The extra boot volume will make for an even more practical cabin, and much of the rear three-quarter awkwardness people like about the current car has been removed.

But for now I have to accept that the haters will always hate. For those who don't, check out the new contract hire deals on one of these and then try driving one. I defy you not to be impressed.


FACT SHEET
Car:
Porsche Panamera Diesel
Run by: Chris Harris
On fleet since: August 2012
Mileage: 19,778
List price new: £66,558 (base price £62,134 plus £777 for metallic paint, £1,457 for 19" Panamera Design alloy wheels, £243 for automatic dimming mirror package, £919 for Bose surround sound system, £227 for Universal Audio Interface USB/iPod connector, £526 for aluminium interior package and £275(!) for 'seatbelts in silver')
Last month at a glance: Hate the Panamera? Bad luck, Chris thinks it's brilliant.

Previous reports:
Bye bye diesel Jag, hello diesel ... Porsche?

 

Chris Harris
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Author Discussion

Hellbound

Original Poster:

2,238 posts

61 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Indeed Chris, haters will always hate. I suspect I'll be checking the classifieds for one of these in a few years time.

mik_jg

71 posts

74 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Fantastic thing. Generally people who criticise vehicles like this so strongly are those who can't afford them.

rtz62

619 posts

40 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
A strange car indeed....
When I see one, I laugh and point at it.
The next time I see one, I nod approvingly in the way of a sad old sage.
The next time I see one, I laugh and point at it.
Ad nauseum.

collateral

7,238 posts

103 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
I'd hope the interior isn't falling to bits after 20 thousand miles - it cost over 60 grand!

kambites

40,596 posts

106 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Obscenely ugly, but clearly very impressive in other ways.
Advertisement

Dave Hedgehog

7,187 posts

89 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
ugly, and an oil burner in a porker, no thanks

turbo ST, that i would like to own smile

MagicalTrevor

5,361 posts

114 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Hated it at first but it's really grown on me. Just like the 612 Scag, ugly initially but now I think it's a reasonable looking car, not beautiful, but acceptable!

I'd imagine they'll depreciate quickly and be ready for me to pick up cheap when I'm in need of such a car... i.e. when I have even less hair!

elvisburger

18 posts

37 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Porsche for the "I see you coming crowd"!

R66STU

196 posts

61 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Interesting car but not for me.

0llie

1,791 posts

81 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
If somene buys this car for it's long distance qualities, it is unlikely that they will be covering these distances whilst staring at the exterior of the car. My last boss purchased a BMW 5 Series GT on this theory, and has had 130k very relaxing miles in a very capable & comfortable car.

Yes, I'm not a fan of the exterior, but the interior looks a very pleasent place to be. If it is as good as it's claimed to be, and I was in the market for such a car (and had the funds), I would give this a look.

desmos

39 posts

87 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
They appeal more to me when covered in a thousand miles of autumnal grime, but not sure if that's an attribute to the design.

kambites

40,596 posts

106 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Hopefully they'll produce the estate version - that's actually a decent looking car. smile

Numeric

358 posts

36 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Couldn't agree more about wheels and tyres - when I lived in London I always went for small wheels to protect the alloy with a fat bit of rubber - I could of course have tried learning to park but that might not be in my DNA.

Still remember kerbing a nice 19" alloy when a large truck was more my side than it's own, I could have wept!!!

Teddye4687

367 posts

33 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
I like Panamera's, they look great on the road.

However, the only reason I can think of buying a diesel version is for emissions and tax regulations (company car).

The interior is a tad boring though.

Prawnboy

1,235 posts

32 months

[news] 
Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Marmite is right.
its a cool looking jar but i hate whats inside.

.....couldn't spend that kind of money and be driving a diesel.

J4CKO

11,218 posts

85 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
collateral said:
I'd hope the interior isn't falling to bits after 20 thousand miles - it cost over 60 grand!
Yep, 20k and it is not knackered, that is some acheivement for such a cheap car......

My 944's interior is still in reasonable shape and that is 21 years old and has 116,000 miles, ok it smells like th London Dungeon but its all there, apart from the clock, 944's are like Casinos, they never have a working clock.

Think its a journo thing, like in Autocar where they say that a car still feels tight despite 40,000 miles.

MC Bodge

5,897 posts

60 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Prawnboy said:
.....couldn't spend that kind of money and be driving a diesel.
I couldn't spend spend that kind of money
...I can cope with driving diesel though.

By the way, humungous V8 petrols with 500bhp might be nice, but there is such thing as "enough" power for a mile-munching road car.
Even a non-sporting 2.0TD can cruise at 130mph on an autobahn.

The Panamera will not be slow from point-to-point, other than when getting wedged between dry stone walls.

AndyWoodall

2,240 posts

144 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
I still like them, despite the objectionable arse. Front and interior have always made up for it, and physically on the road I like the presence. Would rather have this than a large SUV.

What kind of numbers are these on a contract hire I wonder?

Bargenosenti

154 posts

24 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
I like them, one parks around the corner from my house in blue and black wheels and looks good IMO!

I'm not sure what purpose they serve that other, cheaper marques offer if practicality is important in life.

chiefski26

614 posts

86 months

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Friday 2nd November 2012 quote quote all
Its diesel and ugly those gripes aside it is ok(ish) i guess

Haters will hate till the day they drop dead - ignore the feckers.
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