For a niche segment, the four-door super coupe market has been awfully busy of late. There's a new Audi RS7, for starters, the first ever BMW M8 Gran Coupe and what looks like a further expanding AMG GT four-door range. With the current Porsche Panamera having been on sale since 2016, it was due an update in light of the fresh competition - right on time, here it is.
Porsche says its new four-door is "cleverly balancing a unique symbiosis of contrasts... yet remains true to the original design brief to combine the performance of an authentic Porsche sports car with the comfort of an exclusive saloon." More of the same then, given the model was already a fairly formidable package, the Panamera's blend of performance, athleticism and style winning it plenty of fans in the past few years.
Predictably enough, the Panamera gets more power. Gone is the old 560hp Turbo, replaced by a 630hp, 605lb ft Turbo S - the very car that set the Nurburgring 'executive car' lap record a couple of weeks ago. Porsche says the 4.0-litre V8 has been "comprehensively re-engineered", with incredible results: 0-62mph is said to take just 3.1 seconds, and the top speed is claimed to be 196mph. Bear in mind that Santa Pod timed the last Turbo we tested at 11.4 seconds through the quarter mile and the potential for the Turbo S to scramble your brain with its acceleration is plain to see.
Only the 330hp entry-level car goes without any extra power, with the 480hp GTS getting an extra 20hp and the 4S replaced with a new 4S E-Hybrid. That combines the twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 with an electric power for a 560hp total; along with 553lb ft it's sufficient for 3.7 seconds to 62mph and 185mph. Battery capacity has increased to 17.9kWh from 14.1, and the electric range is 34 miles. Just as notable from a PH standpoint are the asymmetrically positioned silencers for the standard sports exhaust found on the GTS; they promise to deliver "traditional V8 sound characteristics that are even more prominent than before" Given the work done with the Cayenne equivalent, unleashing quite the muscle car rumble from the back of an SUV, there's reason to be optimistic here.
Porsche hasn't shied away from chassis changes for this latest Panamera either, which is interesting given how well sorted it already seemed. The claim is of "a sporting and comfortable character for every Panamera", so PASM has been reworked for improved comfort, the PDCC electric anti-roll is said to be even more effective and "a new generation of technical quality" is promised for both steering and tyres.
To look at, this is very clearly still a Panamera (or Panamera Sport Turismo), with the main alteration being the standard fitment of the previously optional Sport Design front end to all models. For the Turbo S, however, if the enormous speed it's charging towards you isn't a giveaway, you might want to note the larger side air intakes and body-coloured accents to emphasise the width. Or the new rear light strip as it streaks away. But, again, it's unmistakeably a Panamera; those unconvinced before aren't likely to be now, even in orange. Or brown...
The rest of the updates are to be found inside, with new tech available including Voice Pilot, Risk Radar, Porsche InnoDrive and wireless CarPlay. The look is familiar, with the large centre panel and haptic feedback buttons, only now with additional features.
The new Panamera goes on sale today, with prices starting at £69,860 for the rear-wheel drive base model. The Panamera 4 starts at £72,890 (Sport Turismo £75,040), the 4S E-Hybrid at £101,690, the GTS at £107,180 and the Turbo S at £135,610. For the other Sport Turismos, Porsche will ask £103,840 for the Hybrid, £109,330 for GTS and £137,760 for the Turbo S. Not cheap, then, but then a Porsche worth having seldom was. Don't forget, either, that four years on sale means plenty of secondhand options, too...
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