By Salma Awwad
The second generation model reaches new heights on a test drive in Oman
Tighter lines, more pronounced contours and newly shaped body elements all combine to enhance the Panamera’s Gran Turismo character. A widened rear windscreen also gives the car a visually lower stance, whilst a wider spoiler and optional LED lights makes the new model stand out.
The arrival of the new Panamera to the Middle East and Africa region has been marked in true Porsche style as we were whisked off to the highest mountain range in the Eastern Arabian Peninsula to test the range’s true abilities.
The model that stood out the most is the new executive Panamera 4S, featuring an extended wheel-base and sold for $153,700. Underneath the bonnet, the luxury car is fuelled by a newly developed engine that demonstrates decades of Porsche’s meticulous know-how.
The new V6 three-litre bi-turbo engine delivers fuel savings of up to 56 percent and – with the exception of the diesel model – more power. The standard version offers a top speed of 259 km/h, 310 horse power and fuel consumption of just 8.4 l/100 km. Proving efficiency need not mean a compromise in sporting performance, the new version comes with an extra 20hp and 20 Newton metres more torque compared to the previous model.
Stepping into the long wheel base version of the Panamera, one immediately feels a heightened sense of glamour and luxury. The signature Carrera red leather permeates the interior of the black car, accented with the carbon-fibre dashboard and black suede ceiling. This black and red combination has been especially developed for the Middle East region in addition to the 15 standard colour range currently offered.
The additional 15cm of the long-wheel base mean that the rear passenger seats are just as comfortable and lavish as the driver seat with additional leg room.
As we swerve through the winding mountain roads the larger chassis mounts offered even more comfort and greater solidity in tight corners, whilst advanced steering box mounts provided a more direct response on the frequent hairpin turns.
Several features such as 8-way power seats with seat ventilation as well as thermally and noise insulated glass added a new dimension to the luxurious ride. Newly developed tyres, lighter 18-inch wheels and a specifically tuned Porsche Stability Management (PSM) add to the car’s sportiness and comfort.
Overall, the new Executive Porsche Panamera is a beautiful car with everyday practically and a racing pedigree. The Porsche team predicts great success of the model in this region. “I would not be surprised if the share of the long-wheel base will sell at more than 50 percent in the Middle East,” said Christer Ekberg, Managing Director of Porsche Middle East and Africa FZE.
He stated that More than 100,000 cars were sold since the introduction of the Panamera model in 2009. The GCC alone sold 7,200 vehicles so far despite not introducing a long-wheel base version. “This segment in the middle East market is dominated with long wheel base versions. The GCC represents the fourth largest market in the world, with Kuwait leading the demand,” Ekberg added.For all the latest car news & reviews from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.