June 29, 2016 @ 04:04 PM

Porsche Panamera gets pretty and pretty fast

New engines, chassis and tech makes it the fastest four-door around the Green Hell.

The first generation Porsche Panamera was no slow poke by any means. This new one however is quite a bit faster, encroaching into supercar territory with new engines and tech as well as a deployable rear spoiler that looks straight out of something from Tony Stark’s garage in the Marvel universe.

And did we mention, Porsche claims the new Panamera is the world’s fastest four-door car around the Nurburgring.

Nonetheless, the most glaring upgrades have been to the luxo-barge’s design; something the previous model received quite a bit of flack for. It is now less beached whale and more sculpted swimmer. The taillights now mimic the sweeping piece from the new Boxster and the overall side profile now resembles the iconic 911 a little more.

The Panamera is the first model build upon the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Standard Architecture (MSB) that is a front-engined, rear or all wheel drive platform. Only two variants will be available initially, the Panamera 4S and the Panamera Turbo, before a diesel and hybrid join the ranks.

Its footprint is larger than the outgoing model with overall length, width and height increasing. Nonetheless, Porsche state that the tail end of the roofline is lower for a sleeker silhouette and that rear headroom is not compromised. Keeping the poundage down is the generous application of aluminium that help to trim around 90kg.

Power for the entry-level 4S is a not so entry-level 434bhp and 550Nm of torque from a rev-happy 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6. The two turbos are mounted in the ‘V’ of the cylinder head to give the entire package a smaller footprint that enables it to be mounted lower in the bay for a better centre of gravity. Additionally, the charge piping length is also shortened for quicker response.

The transmission will be a new version of the marque’s venerable PDK dual-clutch unit with eight gears, one extra than those found in the Carrera line-up. Porsche states a century sprint time of 4.2-seconds with the Sport Chrono package.

Taking the throne as the flagship variant will be the Panamera Turbo with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 under the hood. The pair of turbos are once again mounted between the cylinder banks and compress air to the tune of 542bhp and 770Nm of torque. Mated to the same eight-speed PDK, it sprints to a hundred from a standstill in 3.6-seconds if you ticked the Sport Chrono box on the order sheet.

Porsche have also fitted the V8 with active cylinder deactivation that can deactivate up to four cylinders in light conditions to improve fuel efficiency by up to 30 per cent. The flagship also packs that trick active rear spoiler that widens as it rises up to increase surface area.

Lastly, an oil-burning twin-turbo V8 is also available to the tune of 416bhp and an earth-bending 850Nm of torque.

Picking up some tech from its 918 Spyder and 911 Turbo cousins, the new Panamera now sports rear-wheel steering as well for added agility. Together with a new adaptive air suspension, all-wheel drive and optional electronic roll control, the Panamera is capable of sticking to the tarmac as good as it looks.

The cockpit has also benefited from some digitisation with the gluttony of buttons in the predecessor now binned in favour of capacitive, touch-sensitive controls and toggles. There will be three screens; a main 12.3-inch one in the centre of the dash and two smaller 7.0-inch ones flanking the analogue tachometer in the instrument cluster. If you find your heart longing for the 918 Spyder but your two kids and the missus demanding a Panamera, the 918-inspired steering wheel is some consolation and it houses the Sport Response button that bangs up the boost levels for a momentary burst in power.

Dinesh Appavu


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