The first generation Porsche Panamera is quite dull to look and to
drive. In the second attempt, Porsche has at least corrected the first
fault. If you look at its side profile, you will find the new Panamera
much sleeker. Both its roof line and shoulder line are curvier. The
tail gets slimmer and the overall look of the back end is more akin to
911. The reshaped side window looks more like 911 as well, although it
necessitates an extra quarter window. Meanwhile, the more pronounced
rear fenders look sportier.
The car has grown a little in all dimensions. Now it measures 5049mm
long (+79mm), 1937mm wide (+6mm), 1423mm tall (+5mm) and 2950mm in
wheelbase (+30mm). I suppose most of the extra length goes to the rear
overhang, which not only improves the rear end design but also boosts
luggage space by 50 liters to 495 liters. Aerodynamic drag is unchanged
from the old car, which means 0.29 for most models and 0.30 for Turbo.
The new car is known to be based on the new MSB platform which will be
shared with Bentley. However, it is not a revolutionary design. Much of
the chassis is made of steel, with aluminum used as supporting role in
areas such as crash structure, subframes and suspension towers. The
body shell is mostly aluminum, including the roof, bonnet, tailgate and
fenders. A Panamera Turbo tips the scale at 1995 kg DIN, the same as
the outgoing Turbo S which had the same power output.
At launch, there are 3 models: Panamera 4S (powered by V6 turbo), 4S
Diesel (V8 turbo diesel) and Turbo (V8 turbo). They can be
distinguished from the front bumper design as well as the rear spoiler.
Speaking of rear spoiler, it normally recesses flush at the tail and
raises at speed. It is much larger than the old car's thus makes the
car look even more like 911. On Turbo, the rear spoiler can be extended
horizontally to increase downforce further.
The Turbo employs a new 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, as we have seen last
month at Vienna Motor Symposium. It is a reduction of 0.8 liter from
the old engine, but it produces no less power, i.e. 550 hp at 5750-6000
rpm and a maximum torque of 568 lbft at 1960-4500 rpm. The V8 has its
two twin-scroll turbochargers mounted inside the hot V-valley for
compact packaging and reduced turbo lag, something pioneered by BMW's
V8. It also features cylinder deactivation technology to save fuel. The
Turbo is good for 190 mph and 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds when equipped
with Sports Chrono pack (i.e. launch control). As before, the Turbo has
4WD fitted as standard.
The cheaper Panamera 4S is also 4WD. Its 2.9-liter (2894 c.c.)
twin-turbo V6 comes from the same modular family of the V8, which means
90-degree V-angle, an additional balancer shaft and hot-V architecture.
It produces 440 hp at 5650-6600 rpm and 406 lbft at 1750-5500 rpm, not
quite in the same league as the Ferrari-built 2.9-liter V6 on Alfa
Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio (510 hp and 442 lbft). The car tops 179 mph
and achieves 0-60 mph in 4.1 sec with launch control engaged. At 1870
kg, it weighs exactly the same as the old Panamera 4S with 3.0
That's not all. Porsche also offers a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 diesel
for Panamera 4S Diesel. It's the first time the car receives a diesel
V8, but it's not an entirely new engine either, because Audi offers a
similar 4.0 V8 diesel for its SQ7. In that car, the V8 is served with
e-booster (electric compressor) to produce 435 hp and 664 lbft of
torque. The Porsche gets conventional exhaust gas turbochargers, even
though it is a sophisticated sequential twin-turbo system with 2 VTG
turbos, so it is a bit less powerful at 422 hp / 3500-5000 rpm and 627
lbft / 1000-3250 rpm. Performance is 177 mph top speed and 0-60 mph in
4.2 seconds. Expectedly, the car is very heavy at 2050 kg.
All 3 engines mate with a new 8-speed PDK twin-clutch. Don't be too
excited with its increased ratios, because it still reaches top speed
at 6th, whereas 7th and 8th are overdrive to save fuel.
The suspension is mostly the same as the outgoing car, but the optional
air suspension has been upgraded to a 3-chamber design (like Mercedes
E-class) for 60 percent increase of air capacity. Again the car is
served with PASM adaptive damping, PDCC active anti-roll bars and
PTV-Plus torque vectoring. The only new feature is rear-wheel steering,
like 911 Turbo, which should make the Panamera more agile than its size
and weight suggested. Porsche now links all these systems together to
something called "4D Chassis Control" system.
The interior design and packaging is not a big departure from the old
car. It remains strictly a 4-seater. The extra wheelbase should boost
rear legroom, but the more sloping roof line might hurt rear headroom
(we shall see if it's true). Expectedly, the infotainment system has
been upgraded, now features a 12.3-inch screen on center console and
another screen at the transmission tunnel for rear passengers.
Overall, the new Panamera is mechanically similar to the first one, but
its looks and efficiency are both significantly improved.