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First drive: 2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.

First drive: 2024 Porsche Panamera
Small changes mean the Panamera is just as brilliant as before, if not a tiny bit better.

   



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2024 Porsche Panamera

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The Porsche Panamera might not have been well received when it was new, but it has become the benchmark for four-door grand tourers, offering capability and luxury in equal measure. And now there's a new version, designed to build on the existing car's brilliance while adding a few modern upgrades at the same time. The question is, is it a case of mission accomplished, or missing the mark?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2024 Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid
Price: Panamera from 79,500
Engine: 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 petrol with 140kW electric motor
Battery: 25.9kWh lithium-ion
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 680hp
Torque: 930Nm
Emissions: 26-38g/km
Economy: 166.2-235.4mpg
Range: 47-57 miles
0-62mph: 3.3 seconds
Top speed: 196mph
Boot space: c400 litres (expected)

Styling

The Panamera's basic shape hasn't changed much as part of the update, but the details have been tweaked. There's a new front bumper, for example, with a central air vent above the number plate, and the windows have been tweaked slightly. Turbo models, meanwhile, now get some distinctive touches including accents in a new Turbonite colour. A kind of grey, it's applied to the air vents, window surrounds and model designation lettering, as well as the Turbo-specific monochrome Porsche logos on the nose, wheels and steering wheel.

Interior

Just like the exterior designers, those responsible for the new Panamera's cabin have made tweaks, rather than wholesale changes. And most of those updates have come from the Cayenne that was updated earlier this year.

As a result, the new Panamera gets the all-digital instrument display from the Taycan electric sports saloon, as well as the same toggle-style gear lever positioned on the dashboard. That has made room for a centre console redesign, and a new set of climate control switches, while Porsche's latest-generation touchscreen infotainment system sits proudly in the centre of the dash.

In truth, we rather miss the old instrument binnacle with its combination of digital and analogue dials, but the new system works well enough, and it's well integrated with the touchscreen. Speaking of which, that's as user-friendly as ever before, and it looks pretty sharp, even if it isn't particularly exceptional.

Porsche has also added a new option of a second touchscreen in the dashboard, with a passenger display available for those who want it. Designed to offer the sort of in-car entertainment normally reserved for rear screens, the new system includes video streaming services, as well as more conventional multimedia features. The only catch is it comes with a special film in the screen to prevent the driver being distracted by what's being displayed, and that distorts the colours slightly for the passengers.

All that aside, though, the new Panamera's cabin is every bit as robust and as premium as before, with lots of upmarket materials and a sense that everything has been solidly bolted together. It's a shining example of how interior build quality should be done.

Practicality

Because the Panamera's interior is so similar to that of its predecessor, cabin space is much the same. That means there's enough room for four adults to get perfectly comfortable in there, with heaps of rear legroom and sufficient headroom, while those in the front get plenty of space and seat adjustment to play with. Further back, the boot size is roughly the same as before, so standard cars get around 500 litres of cargo capacity, but this E-Hybrid version is expected to lose around 100 litres of that space when the official figures are published. Nevertheless, it should be enough space for most, and the expected Sport Turismo estate model should add the option of even greater practicality.

Performance

As before, the Panamera is offered with a choice of V6 and V8 petrol engines, plus the option of hybrid assistance. And almost every powertrain on offer has been upgraded in one way or another. The 2.9-litre V6 options, for example, have had minor tweaks, but the big news is the changes to the V6 and V8 hybrids. No matter which engine it's paired with, the battery has grown to 25.9kWh, allowing a range of 56 miles on a single charge. In the real world, you're probably talking 35 or so, but that's an improvement on the old car, which would struggle to beat 20-25 miles on a charge.

As well as growing the battery, Porsche has also fitted a new electric motor with 190hp, and the combination of motor and battery allows the car to do more on electric power alone. Even when accelerating, the Panamera won't always need the petrol engine's help. And that means greater efficiency, although we doubt any buyers will achieve the three-figure economy quoted in the marketing material. Still, if you can charge regularly, it should prove reasonably efficient.

But power is the name of the game, and so Porsche will offer the hybrid system in a choice of four guises. The 4 E-Hybrid, 4S E-Hybrid and Turbo S E-Hybrid are here to stay, but Porsche has added a Turbo E-Hybrid to sit between the 4S and the Turbo S. And it's that car we're testing here.

Like the Turbo S E-Hybrid, the newbie gets a 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 under the bonnet (the 4 E-Hybrid and 4S E-Hybrid both get 2.9-litre V6 engines), but it's less powerful than in the range-topping model. Still, 680hp is not to be sniffed at, and nor is 930Nm of torque. It's enough for a 0-62mph time of 3.3 seconds and a top speed of almost 200mph.

That's supercar pace, and the V8 provides a supercar soundtrack when it wants to. It's quiet and refined when you're just being gentle, but if you poke the bear it will certainly roar. And the combination of petrol and electric power gives it a vicious turn of pace. We haven't tried the Turbo S E-Hybrid yet, but we'll hazard a guess that nobody needs to go faster than the Turbo E-Hybrid.

Ride & Handling

As well as fiddling with the hybrid system, Porsche has also tweaked the Panamera's suspension. Whichever model you choose, you get air suspension that's designed to offer greater breadth of capability and more noticeable differences between the softest and firmest settings.

But if you go for the Porsche Active Ride system, you add to that with clever body control technology designed to keep the car flat at all times. It can lean the car into corners, and it can counteract the way the nose might dive under heavy braking. The pitch control is, admittedly, rather odd, but the roll control is remarkably unintrusive to the point that you don't really notice it's there.

Whether you engage those systems or not, however, the Panamera is a wonderful car to drive. The Porsche steering feel is unmistakable, and the car is set up to be comfortable without completely isolating you from what the wheels are doing. That means there's a bit of feedback when you're going quickly, but the car still works well as a motorway cruiser.

Value

Prices for the new Panamera start at just under 80,000, and that's quite a lot of money, but it's still cheaper than the lowliest BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe. Of course, the Turbo E-Hybrid is set to cost a lot more, but then it's also set to come with a lot more power. Either way, you'll get plenty of standard equipment, with touchscreen infotainment, air suspension and satellite navigation all thrown in, along with the new digital instrument display. Being a Porsche, though, we expect most customers will raid the options list.

Verdict

The Panamera was already brilliant, and Porsche hasn't made the kind of changes that upset the apple cart too much. So the new Panamera is brilliant, too. The improved hybrid system is great, it drives fantastically well and it looks even better than before. And the new Turbo E-Hybrid option is epic. What's not to like?



James Fossdyke - 24 Nov 2023



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2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.

2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.2024 Porsche Panamera. Image by Porsche.   







 

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