When Porsche debuted the Panamera in 2009, the full-sized sedan hardly raised an eyebrow. After all, it followed the Cayenne SUV (which did cause quite a stir among brand loyalists) by seven years, giving fans more than enough time to come to turns with the idea of a four-door Porsche.
However, the first Panamera was met with a mixed reception. Chief among the complaints – which had nothing to do with the number of doors – was its appearance. Some likened it to a crouching hippo, while others said it was the offspring of a Porsche 928 and a Chrysler Crossfire. It seems Porsche was listening, and that criticism formed the basis of its latest model.
For 2017, the Panamera has been completely redesigned on the outside. It's also seen improvements on the inside; it has an all-new chassis, new engine and new interior. There are two models – both of which are turbo-powered and equipped with four-wheel drive – the Panamera 4S and the mighty Turbo.
The new version is slightly longer, wider and taller than its predecessor – and runs lower to the ground, too. More significantly, it looks far more like the brand's oft-celebrated 911, particularly at the back where it has the same LED tail-lamps and swept roof.
Porsche put that extra space to good use, with a slightly bigger cabin. Porsche replaced its button-filled centre console with a flat, touch-sensitive back panel – the 12.3-inch screen lets you pinch-and-zoom and comes with handwriting recognition features. The system also integrates Apple CarPlay, Google Earth and Google Street View (you can even use Porsche's handy app to link your car via Apple Watch).
While all this new technology under the hood puts the Panamera in the same territory as its most advanced competitors, Porsche owners tend to be swayed by performance, not gadgets. That's why Porsche has done its best to keep the Panamera's weight down – despite the bigger body – and the all-new engine.
The Panamera S has a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6, which produces 440-horsepower (that's 20 horsepower more than its predecessor). The Turbo model has a 4-litre twin-turbo V8 under the hood, capable of 550-horsepower.
Both engines are connected to a new 8-speed dual clutch transmission, and the power gains provide impressive acceleration numbers: the 4S does 0-100kph in four seconds, and the Turbo does it in just 3.4. In fact, the Turbo will now outpace a 911 Carrera S – which is considerably more compact.
With a more modern interior, new engine and design improvements, the new Panamera is easily better than the old model. And while it certainly outperforms its predecessor, it's the new, sleep stylings that make it more desirable.
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