The second generation Panamera comes fitted with a turbocharged V8 that produces 542 horsepower – making it the most responsive luxury sedan on the market. In fact, you could say that it’s now more 911-like than ever before.
What surprises me about the 2016 Porsche Panamera is its strong link with Porsche’s legendary sports car – to the extent that somebody even called it a four-door 911. And if you look at the rear three-quarter angle, you could well make that claim – but the extent of innovations on the new Panamera are far more than meet the eye.
Starting with the motor, which has a completely redesigned set of turbos that now reside in the V between the two banks of cylinders. The 4-litre V8, in particular, registers a substantial hike in power – touching 542bhp (30 more than the previous version) and 770Nm of torque. And, along with a new suspension layout and an all-wheel steering system, agility increases considerably – almost annulling the two tonne kerb weight of the Panamera.
The steering wheel has a drive-mode selector dial with a ‘Sport’ response button in the middle that guarantees 20 seconds of over-boost. Once the right settings are selected, you can drive it two ways – exploiting its sports car-like dynamics for a truly spirited drive, or turning it back a notch to revel in the comfort, space and luxury that’s comparable only to the flagship models from Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
On board, you’re welcomed by a driver’s seat that immediately puts you in a sporty mood. But, at the same time, the luxury quotient is very high indeed. The ignition key stays on the left, while the tach continues to take pride of place in the centre of the instrument cluster. Everything else has been customized, with the introduction of reconfigurable circular LCD screens. Meanwhile, the buttons on the centre console appear to be touch-sensitive but actually require you to press them for activation to prevent unwanted responses.
Thanks to the Sport Chrono pack, the Panamera Turbo covers the 0-100km sprint in just 3.6 seconds and runs all the way to 306km/h without any hesitation at all – making it the fastest and most sporty luxury car on the market, with a beautiful and involving soundtrack to match. Its steering response, meanwhile, is extremely precise and fast. In fact, the Panamera accelerates so rapidly, and changes gears so quickly that it feels positively violent in Sport Plus mode.
Seeing is Believing
Among the many innovations brought to market by the Panamera is InnoDrive – an adaptive cruise control system that integrates data collected by the navigation system, cameras and various sensors. The device analyses the road up to three kilometres ahead of you, and takes into account the radius of bends, gradient of slopes, and speed limits. So it’ll actually downshift before a climb and slow before a bend. But in Sport mode, even with cruise control activated, it can achieve lateral acceleration of 0.7g. The new Panamera also has a radar-based speed control system and traffic detection system. Meanwhile, for audio enthusiasts, Burmester has designed an audio system of 1,455 watts, featuring 21 speakers (there were only 16 in the previous model), which are able to reproduce sound in 3D.
- Porsche Panamera
Power: 542bhp @ 5,750-6,000rpm
Transmission: 8-Speed Dual-Clutch / All-Wheel Drive
Acceleration: 0-100km/h – 3.6 seconds (in Sport Plus)
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