Mark Jones
Road Test Editor
4 minute read
25 Jan 2017
8:48 am

Dynamic all-new Porsche Panamera

Mark Jones

Test-driving the powerful new car in Dubai – and it just got better.

Porsche’s Panamera has always been a car you either love or hate thanks to its unconventional styling, but that never stopped it from being one of the best offerings in the large premium saloon car category in terms of performance, dynamics and luxury.

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Now with the advent of the all-new from the ground up Panamera, styling won’t be such a polarising topic in my opinion, while the performance, dynamics and luxury on offer have just got better.

And I was off to Dubai last week to sample the new 4S and Turbo models.

Styling is a very subjective topic that leaves it all up to the individual to decide if they like it or not, and you can look at the pictures of the car and see all the lines for yourself.

So I never really get into the styling aspect of a car most of the time, although I like the look of the new Panamera. It is starting to look more and more like the cool Mission E Concept Car Porsche showed last year.

The interior still has plenty room for four adults and all of their luggage and offers the best layout variability of any model in this premium saloon class, making it very practical for everyday use while still retaining that sporty feel.

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Almost all of the older generation instruments and controls have been replaced by neat and functional touch-sensitive panels and individually configurable displays located around the cockpit.

At first, all the digital functionality might seem a bit overwhelming, but once you understand how it works, it is no harder than using your cell phone and you can get the Panamera to do just about anything for you. The new Panamera is also equipped with a range of standard and optional assistance systems which make life while driving more convenient and safer.

Adaptive Cruise Control, slows and accelerates the car for you and is available as on option, as is Night Vision Assistant that uses a thermal imaging camera to detect people and large animals.

If the optional new LED Matrix headlights are selected, people beyond the visual range of the dipped beam headlight are also illuminated briefly, thereby enabling you to avoid critical situations in advance. Of course, being a Porsche means power and dynamics are of the highest order.

The 4S runs a 2.9-litre V6 biturbo engine that produces 324kW and 550Nm to the drive wheels. Dubai is not conducive to high speed everyday driving, so we will take Porsche’s word for it when they say the 4S will reach 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds (4.2 seconds with the Sport Chrono Package), along with a 289km/h, while claiming a NEDC combined fuel consumption of 8.2-8.1 litres/100.

The Turbo model comes with a 404kW/770Nm 4.0-litre biturbo V8 that is said to get the car to 100km/h in a mere 3.8 seconds in standard trim and 3.6 seconds with optional Sport Chrono Package, while hitting a top speed of 306km.

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Not that you would care too much in a car like this, the claimed NEDC overall fuel consumption number is 9.4-9.3 litres/100km.

Engine performance can be further increased using the optional Mode Switch with the Sport Response Button. First introduced in the Porsche 918 Spyder, the Mode Switch rotary ring on the steering wheel can be used to activate one of four driving modes (Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual).

The chassis perfectly unites the cruising comfort of a premium saloon with the performance of a true sports car. There were no twisty bits on our launch drive route, but we did get to play around a gymkhana track to briefly test the abilities of the car.

You can get an optional adaptive air suspension with new three-chamber technology, including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM electronic damper control), the enhanced Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) system, including Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) and active roll stabilisation, as well as a new electromechanical steering system and rear axle steering if the standard system is not up to your liking.

Porsche say that in its second generation, its Gran Turismo has been redefined and realigned, advancing to become a performance icon of the luxury class. I just might agree with that statement.

Model Pricing

Porsche Panamera 4S – R1 564 000

Porsche Panamera Turbo – R2 441 000