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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Thoroughly reworked all-new Porsche Panamera officially debuts

Reserved for the E-Hybrid that tops the range is not only a more powerful battery, but also a trick new. albeit optional, adaptive air suspension.

With the wraps having come off of the current model in 2016, Porsche has officially debuted the all-new third generation Panamera at a special unveiling held in Shanghai.

Inspired by Mission X and Cayenne

Last updated three years ago, the departure of the internally designed 971 or G2 Panamera in place of the newly revealed 972 (G3) comes on the back of the original’s debut in the People’s Republic 14 years ago, and after total global sales of 375 000 units.

Styled along the lines of the Mission X Concept as opposed to the facelift Cayenne that premiered at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, the Panamera, for now, remains a sedan only model, with the prospect of a second generation Sport Turismo shooting brake unknown at present.

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Brand-new despite appearing to be a further revision of the 971, the 972 Panamera rides on a platform dimensionally unchanged, meaning an overall length of 5 052 mm, height of 1 423 mm, width of 1 937 mm and wheelbase of 2 950 mm.

Available, for the first time, with the 21-inch centre lock alloy wheels that debuted on the 911 GT3 RS, as well as Porsche’s latest Matrix LED headlights capable of providing illumination up to 600 metres thanks to 32 000 pixel diodes in each light cluster, the biggest change resides underneath in the form of Porsche’s latest adaptive air suspension.

Trick suspension

Reserved as an option for the range topping Turbo E-Hybrid only, the system, known as Porsche Active Rode, comprises a new two-valve damper and shock absorber layout Stuttgart says not only keeps the body flat, but also “absorbs bumps almost completely”.

As its name indicates, the suspension adapts to the prevailing road conditions and according to Porsche, “builds-up forces between the body and wheels in a lightning fast, highly precise and targeted manner” thanks to what it refers to as a “volume flow in the damper according to demand”.

Lesser models are, however, equipped with the Porsche Active Suspension Management, which has been revised to feature the two-valve layout as well, but without the same intricate active damping.


Resplendent with the same silhouette as the previous two generations, but with a Cayenne-inspired rear facia to go with its new frontal design, the Panamera’s interior draws heavily from its SUV stablemate in look and design.

Porsche removes wraps from all-new Panamera
The three display arrangement of the Cayenne has been carried over to the Panamera’s interior. Image: Porsche

Besides the same centre console, which involves the gear lever moving to the dash in a toggle switch capacity, the 12.3-inch Porsche Communication Management touchscreen infotainment system also features, along with a 12.6-inch digital instrument cluster and as an option, a 10.9-inch display on the passenger’s side.

A further addition is the GT steering wheel with the affixed mode selector dial, expanded ambient lighting and an assortment of materials and colours depending on buyer preference.

Three models for now

In terms of power, the initial range spans three derivatives; the simply titled rear-wheel-drive Panamera and its all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 equivalent, plus the mentioned all-wheel-drive Turbo E-Hybrid.

For the former pair, Porsche has retained the 2.9-litre bi-turbo V6, but with increased power and torque outputs from 243kW/450Nm to 260kW/500Nm.

Still paired to an eight-speed PDK gearbox, the Panamera will get from 0-100 km/h in 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 272 km/h, while the Panamera 4’s all-paw gripping system reduces the benchmark sprint by 0.3 seconds, but also the claimed V-max by two kilometres per hour.

Porsche removes wraps from all-new Panamera
Rear resembles that of the facelift Cayenne. Image: Porsche

At the range’s summit, the Turbo E-Hybrid replaces the previous Turbo S E-Hybrid by combining the carryover 4.0-litre bi-turbo V8 with a 25.9-kWh lithium-ion battery in place of the smaller 17.9-kWh module.

Powering a 140 kW electric motor, 10 kW more than the comparative Cayenne Turbo E-Hybrid, the combined system output is 500kW/930Nm, which translates to a top speed of 315 km/h and 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds.

Being a plug-in hybrid, the Turbo E-Hybrid doesn’t support DC, but comes as standard with a new 11 kW on-board charger Porsche says will require a waiting time of two hours 39 minutes. The claimed all-electric range is 91 km.

Still to be confirmed

Porsche South Africa has meanwhile confirmed availability from the second quarter of this year, with all three models approved for the local market.

Each’s sticker price includes a five-year/100 000 km maintenance plan

  • Panamera – R2 216 000
  • Panamera 4 – R2 292 000
  • Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid – R4 127 000

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