The Panamera’s existence no longer provokes raised eyebrows or deep sighs, but its appearance remains a debatable virtue.

The ‘realignment’ Porsche describes may not leap from the page, but closer attention reveals a conscientious effort to edge the design closer to that of the 911.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
I’d like to play around with the configurator to see how much warmer the cabin ambience can be made with the right material choices

At the back, where the roofline is 20mm lower than before, it gains a more recognisably Porsche ‘flyline’ profile, augmented by four-point brake lights and an LED strip linking them. Other proportional tweaks include a 30mm wheelbase extension and a reduced front overhang.

The Panamera sits on the MSB modular architecture developed by Porsche from within the Volkswagen Group.

The platform’s versatility allows a long-wheelbase version to be built simultaneously at the same factory in Leipzig.

The body uses more aluminium than before, adding the body sides and roof to the aluminium door panels, bonnet, tailgate and front wings of the previous model. Ultra-high-strength, hot-formed steels are deployed elsewhere, most notably for the passenger cell.  

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The front double wishbone and rear multi-link suspension components are mostly aluminium too.

Efforts to improve ride comfort include a hydraulically damped mount for the lower wishbone and new, lighter dampers in the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, while the optional air suspension, fitted here, uses three-chamber springs with around 60 percent more volume for a far wider spread of spring rates.

All feed into Porsche’s 4D-Chassis Control system, which networks data from each individual sensor to make previously independent, reactive chassis functions part of an integrated response.

Alongside these changes, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport, Torque Vectoring Plus and rear-axle steering also feature. The latter is carried over from the 911 and allows a much more direct steering ratio than was previously permitted.

If that weren’t enough, the engine line-up is easily deserving of its own dedicated engineering section. We’ve opted to test the 4S, the first Panamera to combine a V8 diesel and all-wheel drive, but we might have easily chosen to drive the 434bhp 2.9-litre V6 or the 542bhp twin-turbo 4.0 V8, both also being all-new.

The 4.0-litre diesel is the least powerful of the three, with 416bhp, but its claimed 627lb ft produced from 1000rpm without the aid of electric turbochargers makes it far too intriguing to set aside for later. 

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