Saturday 18 February 2017
Porsche isn’t a brand that’s known for its environmental protectionism – the 911 isn’t going to be taking any green car awards off the Toyota Prius any time soon – but the German company is not immune to the pressures of ecology and saving the planet. It had to keep those pressures in mind when designing this Panamera 4S, although when you hear it’s a 2.9-litre V6-engined four-door hatchback, you could be forgiven for thinking someone in engineering didn’t get the memo.
Nevertheless, the new Panamera is lighter than its predecessor, and the engine is marginally smaller than that of its forebear, so it is a little more fuel efficient. It’s still fast though. The sprint to 60mph takes just four seconds and the top speed is 179mph.
The original Panamera was lambasted for its looks. It had all the Porsche hallmarks, but somehow they didn’t fit together properly on the four-door car’s bulkier frame. It was almost as though someone had described what a Porsche should look like to the designer without ever actually sending a photograph.
Now, though, it’s a much more handsome beast, with a cleaner, less bulbous aesthetic and stronger lines.
The interior was never a problem for the Panamera, and the new generation carries on with staggering build quality and a plethora of classy materials. It also retains its brilliant driving position.
Even with the Panamera’s sizeable dimensions, it’s difficult to seriously expect it to provide huge amounts of interior space, but it really does deliver.
The rear passengers will have plenty of head- and legroom, while the sports seats are supportive and comfortable, although there are only two of them.
The boot, meanwhile, measures in at 495 litres, but this can be increased to a highly commendable 1,304 litres when the rear seats are folded.
Driving dynamics are Porsche’s ‘thing’ – from the humblest of Boxsters to the most hardcore 911s, the cars have always been great to drive, and the Panamera continues the tradition.
With four-wheel steering, it feels as agile as any supercar, and the punchy turbocharged engine gives it plenty of poke when the mood takes you. The only fly in the otherwise perfect ointment is the slight numbness of the steering, although this is an issue that blights so many modern cars.
With the optional sports exhaust fitted, our test car also boasted a hugely satisfying soundtrack, with the six-cylinder engine producing a lovely growl when pushed.
It goes without saying that the Panamera is not what you’d call cheap, but it is sensibly priced. Considering it competes directly with the outrageously expensive Aston Martin Rapide, the Panamera looks incredibly good for its £88,700 starting price.
That said, we defy anyone to actually spend that on a Panamera. With all the options, our test car came in at more than £108,000 - £20,000 more than the basic model.
The Panamera is the perfect car for anyone who wants to go touring in a supercar. Not only does it offer incredible pace, but it’s also spacious and comfortable – the perfect mix for a long-distance cruiser. Yes, it costs a small fortune, but it’s so competent an all-rounder that it still makes a compelling case for itself.
Model: Porsche Panamera 4S
Engine: V6 twin-turbo
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch automatic
Performance: 0-60mph in 4.0 seconds, 179mph top speed
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