2017 Porsche Panamera

The Panamera saloon is a stretched version of the Porsche 911, with four doors instead of two. Whereas the 911 is a fairly uncompromising sports car, for two people at most and fairly cramped, the motivation behind the Panamera is to offer the roominess, technology and seating for four expected of a luxury car, whilst giving sporty performance as close as possible to that of a 911, and also looking like one.

Porsche Panamera

The Panamera debuted in 2009, and whilst quite popular, there was a bit of nonchalance about its looks. Now an updated model has been released, due for Australia in 2017 that much more closely follows 911 design cues. Externally the car is recognisable as basically similar to the previous model, but has been reworked and sculpted with refined details to look more 911-like, less jelly bean-like from certain angles. The rear wing sinks into the tailgate, only rising up at high speed when needed, on the turbo model also extending wider sideways.

The roof line is lowered at the rear and more streamlined, the wheel arches more flared and muscular, there are LED headlights (optionally advanced LED matrix), the rear LED lights changed to be thinner and more defined, with an LED line extending right across the back of the car. The creases and folds on the sides and bonnet are more interestingly shaped and especially the rear is now more similar to a 911.

Internally, the change to modern touch screen enabled instrumentation is dramatic, with digital speedo, and other readouts in Porsche's new customisable virtual cockpit, drawing on experience of VW group stablemate Audi, two 7'' displays with analog tacho between, and 12'' central touch screen with analog clock above. The plethoras of centre console push buttons in the previous model have all gone, and the new Panamera leads Porsche models in digitalisation, control and connectivity. A night vision hazard detection system is innovative, as is a 3km ahead consideration cruise control strategy and efficiency system.

The body was previously part aluminium, but now has much more, to lighten the car, and higher tensile sheet steel is used, to strengthen and make it more taut. Bonnet, roof, doors, wings, side panels and boot are all constructed from aluminium.

The updated PDK dual clutch auto gearbox is now eight speed, and all models have all wheel drive, with traction control and torque vectoring to all wheels, electro mechanical anti roll stabilisation, and a system that continuously coordinates all functions, meaning the car sticks to the road and gets power to the wheels very effectively and remains very stable in most conditions, in other words handles extremely well.

There is optional rear axle steering, which improves manoeuvrability and turning circle at low speeds, by turning opposite to the front wheels, and turns the same direction as front at higher speeds, effectively lengthening the wheel base and increasing stability. With optional air suspension, car height can be adjusted when beneficial.

The new twin turbo engines, which are highly modernised and optimised for higher performance from smaller engines than used previously, also impressively have better fuel economy and pollution figures. The turbo model uses only half of its cylinders at lower speeds for better economy, and the diesel only uses one turbo at lower to moderate speeds, also for better economy, all of which demonstrates how improvements in technology keep leading to better performance and economy, with Porsche up at the leading edge. The Panamera recently established a 4 door car lap record on Germany's fast Nurburgring race track, but complimentary to that it is a luxury four seat saloon car, which can also have the rear seats folded forward for a very large storage area of 1304 litres, and when driven normally on standard roads and freeways will be a very well behaved and certain and safe to drive medium of transport, that will no doubt also do a very good job of impressing your friends.

  • Engines, all twin turbo
    - 4S petrol 3 litre V6, Power 324 kW, 5650-6600 rpm, Torque 550Nm, 1750-5500
    - 4S diesel 4 litre V8, Power 310 kW, 3500-5000 rpm, Torque 850Nm, 1000-3250
    - Turbo 4 litre V8, Power 404 kW, 5750-6000 rpm, Torque 770Nm, 1960-4500
  • Drive away prices: 4S petrol $329,294, 4S diesel $337,610, Turbo $405,779
  • Top Speed, km/h: 4S petrol-289, 4S diesel-285, Turbo-306
  • Dimensions, mm: L 5049 W 2165 (incl mirrors) H 1423 (1427 with sunroof) WB 2950
  • Turning, metres: 11.9, 11.4 with rear steering
  • Weight, kg: 4S 1870, 4S diesel 2050, Turbo 1995
  • Luggage, litres: 495 to 1304