PORSCHE’S Panamera has had more than just a cosmetic facelift. Look beyond the styling tweaks and it’s been comprehensively updated.
The Panamera has evolved. It started out as an ungainly-looking car that was almost universally disliked, but its talents gradually won people over.
This latest version is prettier, more efficient and more capable.
Porsche may not have got it right first time, but this latest car looks to be one formidable contender.
When Porsche’s Panamera first appeared in 2009, it’s fair to say that it wasn’t an instant hit.
With the global economic crisis biting hard, it looked a car utterly out of place.
Get to know the Panamera, however, and the story was very different. Here was a very capable and, yes, charming car that was a lot more subtle in its responses and appeal than many ever gave it credit for.
Drive one for any period of time and it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this is a rather lovely thing that was overtaken by events beyond its control.
Porsche is not known for either feeling sorry for itself or keeping duds on its books though, and in an effort to boost Panamera sales, it’s given the model a proper relaunch.
This being Porsche, we can’t just rely on more efficient engines. We also want more power. So that’s exactly what is delivered. The 4.8-litre V8 petrol engine that was found under the bonnet of the S and 4S has been replaced by a 3.0-litre V6 twin turbo unit that’s lighter and raises peak power from 400 to 420bhp.
Drop inside and you’ll find plenty of space for four. You'll find even more rear legroom if you opt for the long wheelbase car, which tacks another 150mm into the wheelbase, but unfortunately there don’t seem to be any plans to bring that variant to the UK. The centre console is festooned with buttons, arranged around the gear selector in the style of a Vertu cellphone. It looks great but the minor controls take a bit of figuring out. Nevertheless, the build quality appears excellent, with some top-drawer materials used throughout. There's plenty of space in the boot as well, with 445 litres of luggage space in all models bar the Hybrid, which has to settle for 335 litres.
Want the cleverest of all the big supersaloons? You’re looking at it right here in the refreshed shape of the Porsche Panamera.
Great driving manners are a given. This is a Porsche after all. What’s not quite so predictable is the way the Panamera manages to worm its way into your affections.