If niche lap records are discounted, it’s been a little while since the Panamera has hogged any headlines. Partly that’ll be because it’s not really the big four-door’s style, but also there’s been a lot else happening on planet Porsche: 911 and Taycan ranges that grow by the week, a new Cayenne, and end-of-the-road 718 specials to name a few. But now it’s the turn of the Panamera to take centre stage, as the reveal of its third generation draws closer (as does 15 years of the Panamera, the original model shown at Shanghai in 2009).
The most significant news for this latest model is an uprating of the battery technology for the plug-in hybrid models alongside what is almost certain to be a choice of revised V6 and V8 petrol engines. Porsche says there will be four PHEVs this time around (compared to three for the current model), employing the 25.9kWh battery just announced for the Cayenne. Customer demand - not to mention the latest emission legislation - dictates it: Porsche reckons that E-Hybrids make up ‘almost 100 per cent’ of Panamera sales in some markets, so of course it’s going to make more of them. A 11kW onboard charger will help reduce the amount of time plugged in, and testing has shown these Panameras to be travelling up to 70 per cent further on electric than the last generation. There’s surely some cause for excitement in all this, too, because the new battery has helped create the 739hp Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid - so expect to see a similar amount headlining a V8-powered Panamera of the same designation. Perfect car to rival a newly electrified, 750hp BMW M5.
As standard, the Panamera gets a semi-active chassis, with dampers that can regulate compression and rebound independently of each other - very clever. But this is a new Porsche, and that means there’s something even cleverer on the options list. For the first time, the Panamera will be offered with an active chassis ‘and a wider range of additional functions.’ Dr Thomas Friemuth, head of the Panamera product line, said of the new tech: “With the active chassis we are setting new standards. We could feel this on every meter of our test drives – very comfortable on the cobblestones in Barcelona harbour, and highly dynamic and agile on the winding country roads outside the city. An incomparably wide range.” With rear-wheel steering, variable all-wheel drive and likely a stiffer platform also on the prospective menu, it’s hardly like the outgoing Panamera is a duffer to drive, either, so expectations are high. Whether or not Porsche has gone the whole hog with the chassis revisions and introduced the 'GT Package' now available with the new Cayenne remains to be seen.
We won't have long to wait. With a testing programme that’s stretched from Scandinavia to South Africa, the 2024 Porsche Panamera is almost ready to be shown to the world. Its reveal will take place at the Icons of Porsche Festival in Dubai on November 24th, Porsche making the most of this 75th anniversary year until the very end. And if that has you thinking it might be a good time to look at old Panameras, join the club: this Turbo S has £40k off its new price, with a 630hp V8 and 196mph potential. Nice.
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