RE: Porsche Panamera Diesel S: Review

RE: Porsche Panamera Diesel S: Review

Monday 30th January 2017

Porsche Panamera Diesel S: Review

PH's first taste of the new Panamera comes with a whiff of the black stuff



Not sure why it's taken us so long to get in the new Porsche Panamera but, here we are at last, swoopy new styling, fizzing haptic switchgear, extra wheelbase and all-new V8 all present and correct. Hang on, V8? Yes, despite the lower orders of the range long-since downsizing to V6 power (an 'inside out' twin-turbo 2.9-litre on the new car) there is still an eight-cylinder option outside of the flagship Turbos.

There's an important caveat though. And that's the fact this V8 drinks from the devil's pump for, yes, it is a diesel. Some diesel though.

It's a 422hp, 4.0-litre monster, sucking air into its cylinders via two sequentially arranged variable vane turbos mounted in the vee of the engine. Its fundamental architecture is shared with the 'e-turbo' motor in the SQ7 and Bentayga Diesel but Porsche insists the twin-turbo hardware between the cylinder banks is its own work, tuned to suit this application. With just one of them spinning it'll deliver its full 627lb ft from just 1,000rpm and, if that's not already satisfied your acceleration needs, the second will kick in and keep it coming ... and coming ... and coming. The stats are suitably impressive - 0-62 in 4.3 seconds with Sport Chrono, 0-100mph in 10.4, 0-125mph in 16.8 and a top speed of 178mph. With official 42.2mpg and 176g/km respectability.

Now this is a bit more like it Porsche!
Now this is a bit more like it Porsche!
A 4S petrol with its 440hp 2.9-litre V6 is a tenth quicker here and there but if you want to feast on the torque and put 500-odd miles between fill-ups the V8 diesel is a proper long-distance weapon. If ever a car were built for the limit-free stretches of Autobahn this is it. A pity most of its tenure with us was spent on the conspicuously camera controlled M1 but there we go - we can dream.

Audi partner!
Although all the engines in the new Panamera range are new - albeit also with shared Audi parentage - the choice of power unit is perhaps one of the car's less startling qualities. Same can be said of the styling, which is sleeker and more confident than the original's, courtesy of a 30mm wheelbase stretch on the latest MSB platform and 20mm taken out of the roofline at the back.

Inside is where the revolution comes though. The drive in the Panamera came directly after the Mercedes-AMG E43, itself fitted with one of the most spangly, high-tech and glitzy interiors in the class. The Porsche feels literally a generation on though. Begging the question: where the hell did that come from?

Interior genuinely staggering for the class
Interior genuinely staggering for the class
After all, Porsche interiors of recent times have tended to be high on quality and suitably luxurious. But in design terms somewhat conservative, with lots and lots of teeny tiny buttons. Or, if you've not chosen the 'essential' options ticks, lots and lots of blanked off switches to remind you of your penny pinching.

Back and forth
But surrounding the sleek new shifter - pleasingly it's now backwards for up, forwards for down too - is just a blank, glassy surface punctuated by a couple of chrome bezels. Only when the ignition comes on do their functions become clear, the haptic switchgear beneath the panel lighting up and the widescreen display in the centre of the dash bursting into life. From its pinch to zoom nav to its touch-to-select album covers and radio stations in the media menu it's a genuine revelation and more than a match for Audi's Virtual Cockpit. Even the familiar looking dash with its familiar centre rev counter and paired secondary dials either side has surprises - these are not analogue but in fact contrived from separate multi-configurable displays for nav, night vision, G-force meter, lap timer and whatever else you want to select.

If you're spending over 90 grand (OK, £112,291 as tested...) for a diesel saloon car you'll want some surprise and delight features and the Panamera certainly delivers - this is truly one of the biggest leaps in luxury car interiors in some time. And the diesel saloon bit? OK, it doesn't really feel like a diesel saloon, the familiar Panamera sense of low-slung seating and genuinely sporting intent carried over successfully from before.

About the only clue to the fuel type
About the only clue to the fuel type
All very impressive, but how does it go? All new Panameras are now eight-speed PDK, rather than a mix of dual-clutch and autos from the previous range. As such there's more sense of the ratios going through than you'd get from the previous eight-speed auto but refinement is very good and from the first touch of the accelerator to the point your denial runs out (a very short space of time, thanks to that 627lb ft of torque...) the 4S Diesel never feels anything other than immensely powerful. In addition to the sheer speed there's a nice bassy thrum from the engine to remind you this is not your usual diesel engine, the sequential turbocharging meaning it'll keep pulling through the revs in a way that can fool you into headbutting the limiter if you're in manual mode. This is quite the motor, it has to be said.

Air that I breathe
By some quirk of speccing you have to have your 4S Diesel on the optional PASM damped adaptive air suspension for the time being, this offering the usual two additional clicks of damping control plus variable ride height. Even in the firmest setting the Panamera rides with authority and composure, just the harshest transverse ridges thumping through the structure. You'll be happy if you never leave the default but it's good to know the firmer settings are also usable if you're in the mood. As is the Porsche fashion, the steering is weightier than you'd get in an equivalent CLS, 6 Series Gran Coupe or A7 and the Panamera's demeanor is best described as authoritative.

You never lose track of how goddamn huge this car is though, somewhat tempering any inclination to fling it around. If you are bold enough you'll notice a commendably sharp front end (if not much feel through the wheel) and a subtle rear bias to the torque split to help keep the nose into the corner even when you are early on the power. Poor visibility - the A-pillars and mirrors are awful when pulling out and the B-pillars are a long way forward too - is a hindrance, likewise the weight. The engine shrugs off the 2,124kg under acceleration but you feel it under braking, often having to squeeze the pedal with more force than you thought you'd need.

Porsche at its very best is pretty compelling
Porsche at its very best is pretty compelling
Big unit
The size and visibility also make it a bit of a stress around town, not least when parking. Given you can't see much out of it you need to live on the (inevitably optional) Parking Assist but after a few motorway miles the rear view camera was covered in gunge and the sensors kept crying wolf, squealing in alarm in the middle of empty space. Further real-world moans include a very shallow boot but, with luck, this time around we'll get the Shooting Brake we've been teased with previously.

Overall though this new Panamera swaggers with the vindication the successful first-gen car has brought to Porsche. It lays down a pretty formidable marker in the luxury sector, drives with enough sparkle and authority to be interesting and is packed with technical intrigue and sharply executed luxury. Whether you're driving or being driven there can be few better ways to cover ground at speed, the long-range ability making sense if this is your usage pattern. If this is diesel's swansong in passenger cars it's going out in some style.


PORSCHE PANAMERA 4S DIESEL
Engine:
3,956cc V8 diesel, two sequential turbos
Transmission: 8-speed PDK dual-clutch, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 422@5,000rpm
Torque (lb ft): 627@1,000-3,250rpm
0-62mph: 4.3sec (with launch control)
Top speed: 179mph (limited)
Weight: 2,125kg (EU with driver)
MPG: 42.2 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 176g/km
Price: £91,788 (£112,291 as tested comprising Sapphire Blue Metallic £893; LED main headlights with matrix beam including Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus £1,451; ParkAssist including Surround View £1,005; Adaptive air suspension including Porsche Active Suspension Management 'Standard suspension unavailable. Only orders with adaptive air suspension accepted at price indicated. Update due 08/17.' £1,541; Sport Chrono Package £1,344; 21-inch Sport Design wheels £2,370; ioniser £206; four-zone automatic climate control 14-way power seats [front] with memory package £1,340; eight-way power seats [rear] with memory package £1,665; Seat heating £353; Seat massage function [front seats, incl. seat ventilation front and rear] £2,285; Night Vision Assist £1,683; Lane Keep Assist incl. speed limit indicator £764; ISOFIX child seat mounting points on front passenger seat £129; Electric roll-up sunblind for behind rear compartment and electric roll-up sunblind for rear side windows £918; Steering wheel heating £194; BOSE Surround Sound System £1,022 and USB interface in rear £233)

[Sources: Autocar]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Author
Discussion

E65Ross

Original Poster:

20,073 posts

140 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you're comparing the interior of this to a class down.....isn't this a rival for the BMW 7 series, Merc S class etc? Certainly is on the price....

Evilex

424 posts

32 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Not cheap, but one of the most useable all-rounders from a performance marque to appear on these pages for a while. The facelift seems to have banished some of the original's awkward looks. In a more subdued colour, it may look better still.

Krikkit

12,069 posts

109 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you're comparing the interior of this to a class down.....isn't this a rival for the BMW 7 series, Merc S class etc? Certainly is on the price....
It's in the no-man's land inbetween. The CLS/6 GC/S7 are all similar propositions, but significantly cheaper, but the big saloons are a lot bigger (and slower!).

mfp4073

980 posts

102 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
That's a nice car, but if you have that kind of money, why bother with a diesel these days?
I think it's only a matter of time before the diesel engine is banned from every city centre in the UK? and as for the rest of Europe that might be worse!

ogrodz

67 posts

48 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Having attended a launch event, I think this car looks fantastic in the flesh and certainly the review paints a very attractive picture in terms of performance and handling. The price tag is the problem. If it were priced more keenly at around £80K all in (after specing up reasonably), then I think it would be a great contender if you were considering something like an RS6.

I would like to know how the lower priced Hybrid compares to the diesel - as the Hybrid may be the sensible choice (tax breaks considered etc...)


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MrwReckless

68 posts

47 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
E65Ross said:
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but you're comparing the interior of this to a class down.....isn't this a rival for the BMW 7 series, Merc S class etc? Certainly is on the price....
I see your point, though I read it more as a comparison of "new german car vs new german car" irrespective of class. The E-class Merc is new and as a brand, famous for high tech and the Porsche was compared towards Merc the brand rather than the "class down E" IMO.

Regards

Cheib

14,370 posts

103 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
I have a Diesel 4S for a day last month...brilliant car. Yes it's big but I didn't find any problems parallel parking it....can't say I thought the visibility was that bad...and not sure you can level criticism of the parking camera being dirty as a quirk of Panamera/Porsche ownership! When the shooting brake comes out I can't think of a better GT car for a family. I do wonder if it might make an interesting rival to a FFRR....doesn't have the wafting capability and raised driving position but is so much more capable as a road car and it'll work and is screwed together properly. Can't think of a better car to drive a family across Europe in.

You have to consider the Hybrid as well...£10k cheaper and better spec (Air Suspension is standard and a few other bits)....so works out a decent amount cheaper.

911Thrasher

2,434 posts

127 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
agreed with some of the comments above: why bother with Diesel when you can afford Petrol and the silence of the engine, diesel=tractors

but then Porsche did produce tractors in the past wink just not 4 seaters

Twoshoe

392 posts

112 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
I hated the looks of the first one when it came out but, somewhat to my surprise, actually quite like it now. This one looks even better.

blaza

32 posts

54 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Had one for a day and totally loved it. Fast, modern, comfortable. And could only be a Porsche. Made our 520D (which I've loved since we bought it) feel lumpy and dated. If I didn't have 911 tatooed on my heart...
Will try the hybrid when it arrives. And the Sport Wagon. Who knows..?

Mosdef

1,314 posts

155 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
I drove one of these back in December at the Panamera driving event at the Porsche track next to Silverstone, back to back with the new 'S' and the Turbo.

The diesel I drove felt nose heavy (predictably), overly cumbersome and had the worst calibrated throttle I have experienced. The first inch or so of throttle travel was far too sensitive, as it was in the Cayenne Diesel S and the response once up and running was simply dreadful, even by turbo diesel standards.

Cabin and finish were first rate but the drivetrain was not in the least bit desirable, in my opinion at least.

The new turbo on the other hand was enjoyable to drive and the 'S' was probably the pick of the lot in terms of being revvy, better balanced and generally feeling lighter/more agile.

The only redeeming quality I can see with the diesel is the range.

rockin

5,342 posts

173 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
1. No longer the ugliest car on sale today.

2. £66,000 entry model is still the one to buy.

T16OLE

2,696 posts

119 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Obviously, the diesel is highy capable, but at that money, I can't help think what's the point -just get the petrol

That's coming from a 640d owner.

As a diesel it imagine it would be excellent, but the petrol option surely has the be the choice.


HeMightBeBanned

469 posts

106 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
I'd echo the other comments on the thread. Dropping 100 Large on a diesel car is a hell of a gamble, given the general mood-music relating to diesel pollution.

JMF894

2,402 posts

83 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
You've got to respect the grunt, but as reiterated above; if you can afford the price tag why not stick with petrol?

Raudus42

132 posts

61 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
From the owner of an S500...I'd defo consider the diesel - when it can outperform and use 50% less fuel doing it, why not if you're doing any kind of mileage? If you cover less than say 12k miles a year then petrol is prob the way to go, but once you get past 15k the diesel makes sense.
Diesels aren't going to be banned anywhere...there'll just be taxed more. Such is the way with the man-made global warming hoax / cash grab.

Max_Torque

12,144 posts

145 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Did you not mention that this car has the coolest rear spoiler ever deployed?? ;-)

Number9

55 posts

131 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
I was fortunate enough to have just recently been in Val D'Isere where they are holding a Porsche event. This new Panamera is, dare I say it, actually pretty good looking. Mind you, it still falls short in the cool department to a 911 Turbo with skis on the roof...

Vee12V

717 posts

88 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
Max_Torque said:
Did you not mention that this car has the coolest rear spoiler ever deployed?? ;-)
Only the Turbo model IIRC.

Yipper

5,964 posts

18 months

Monday 30th January 2017
quotequote all
It is arguably the best diesel car ever made, but it will plunge in value once the EU starts kicking diesel into the history books in the next few years.