Like it or loathe it, it's hard to debate the Porsche Panamera's impact on the prestige sedan sector. Though it's sized and priced to compete with the likes of the Benz S-Class, Maserati Quattroporte, and Jaguar XJ, the Panamera puts its emphasis on performance and driver connection. While Panameras aren't as common on Canadian streets as the Cayenne, this non-traditional Porsche has earned its keep in the stable for another generation.
The Panamera arrives for 2017 with an all-new model that sports a new look, new features, and new technologies. Overall, the car is longer, wider, and lower than before - and much better proportioned. It is still a fastback, though its elongated tail makes it look more like a sedan than before. A long-wheelbase Executive version also makes its return and is available on all variants except the base model. One upshot to the longer tail end is a larger trunk, with the new model being able to carry some 50 L more cargo with the rear seats upright.
While the new Panamera continues on with its 911-inspired styling, it’s radically different under the skin. Like the Cayenne, the Panamera is now based on a shared Volkswagen Group platform; its MSB architecture is shared with a forthcoming Bentley model. While the Panamera does not feature an aluminum chassis much of the bodywork is made of the lightweight material, including the roof and trunk. The standard suspension on most Panameras is a steel coil spring setup similar to the outgoing model; the optional air suspension has been upgraded to a new three-chamber design for improved responsiveness and comfort.
Other enhancements arriving with this new generation include four-wheel steering for enhanced agility, plus available active anti-roll bars, adaptive suspension, and a torque vectoring differential. As before, the high-performance Turbo goes the extra mile with a trick rear spoiler that not only raises, but expands horizontally to improve downforce.
The Panamera's cabin is a high-tech haven, dominated by a new central touchscreen system which measures a massive 12.3 inches across, and features the latest infotainment systems including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The transmission tunnel, previously festooned with buttons of all sorts, is now a much cleaner design.
As of this writing, the latest Panamera is available in base (rear-wheel drive), 4, 4S, 4S E-Hybrid, and Turbo – all, except the base model can be purchased in regular or long-wheelbase. Down the road, expect an even higher-performance Turbo S model, plus a more dialed-in GTS trim.
The Panamera and Panamera 4 are powered by a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine that develops 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque.
The 4S trim debuts an all-new engine, a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 that develops an impressive 440 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque. In its quickest form, the 4S can accelerate to 100 km/h in as little as 4.2 seconds.
The range-topping Panamera Turbo also receives a brand new powerplant, a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that shares its lineage with the motor found under the hood of the Audi S8. Here, it produces 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque, which is on par with the outgoing Panamera Turbo S. This is by far and away the quickest Panamera on the market with a 0-100 km/h time of just 3.6 seconds.
As before the Panamera will be available as a plug-in hybrid, but it now comes standard with all-wheel drive, and is also available in the Executive body style. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid pairs a de-tuned version of the 4S' 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine with an electric motor and new, larger battery pack, which grows from 9.4 kWh to 14.1 kWh. This allows the Panamera to travel up to 50 km on a charge, a decent step up from the 36 km range of the previous model.
Regardless of engine, all Panameras now feature the latest version of Porsche’s PDK dual-clutch transmission which features eight speeds instead of seven. This is of particular note as the old Panamera Hybrid used a traditional automatic gearbox.
Pricing for the new Panamera starts at $97,300 with the Turbo Executive selling for $182,700 before options. The S E-Hybrid sells for $113,400.