We took the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, for a blissful week of high speed luxury, and were pretty damned impressed...
This is the second-generation Panamera. The original car was introduced to us in 2010 and had a 6 year run until it’s replacement in 2017. 1st gen Panamera was certainly an acquired taste. Smooth and somewhat bulbous, it wasn’t often described as pretty.
Fast forward to 2017 and the unveiling of the 2nd generation Panamera. This is a story that Hans Christian Andersen could have written himself. Panamera had transformed into a beautiful swan. Instantly recognisable yet suddenly graceful and elegant.
Let's work through the name. It's quite a mouthful. Turbo S denotes this is a high performance variant of Panamera with a performance level which is unequalled. In this case, it has a 4.0L twin turbo V8 engine producing 550hp. E-Hybrid means this is, in fact, a bonafide hybrid supercar with a 20-ish mile EV only range. It has a 100 kW (136 hp) electric motor and 14 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery. The Sport Turismo moniker relates to body shape. The Sport Turismo suggests a shooting brake style body where the traditional Panamera is more of a large coupe.
Now that's all cleared up, let's talk about the interior. It's gorgeous.
The luscious leather seats hold you firmly and protect you from the brutal performance this car has at its disposal, without the vulgarity of a full-on race seat. The leather is flawless and exquisite. Leather covers all seat surfaces and door internal surfaces, centre console and underside of the dashboard. The roof lining is grey Alcantara and extends down the door pillars to meet the leather on its way up.
Front seats are 18-way adjustable, seat height, squab and backrest angle, fore/aft position, seat squab length, four-way lumbar support and electric adjustment of seat squab bolsters with memory function.
Climbing into the Panamera is always an event. It is such a refined and alluring place to be, I would happily spend hours in the best luxury interior Porsche has to offer.
Performance is nothing short of brutal in Sport or Sport+. Let me explain; There are essentially 4 driving modes available through a dial on the steering wheel on the sport chrono pack. These are e-power (electric mode), hybrid (a combination of electric and traditional engine power), Sport (primarily petrol power with electric assist) and Sport+ (same as Sport but more aggressive). Hybrid mode is a very pleasant place to be. In Hybrid, the Panamera is civilised and composed, comfortable and a beautiful, relaxed drive.
Sport and Sport+ offer a dramatic transformation. They significantly change the character of the Panamera from smooth, luxurious, family express, to sports car with supercar levels of performance.
in either of the two Sport modes, the electronics stiffen and lower the air assisted active suspension, prioritise the 550bhp twin turbo V8 engine and add the 130hp electric power to assist performance, and it makes the gearbox much more performance focussed. The car holds on to gears rather than changes up, gear changes are faster and more aggressive and the entire car becomes a very serious and incredibly fast sports car. Sport+ is a more extreme version of Sport. This really is a Jekyll and Hyde Porsche.
In total, over 680bhp is available and acceleration is breathtaking. 0-62mph takes just 3.4 seconds and it will go on to a top speed of 192mph. More impressive is the in-gear acceleration. It takes moments to go from sedate to an extremely serious adrenaline rush. The engineering is amazing.
Porsche Advanced Cockpit with hybrid-specific displays is a masterpiece. It is touch screen and is app-based. Functions are grouped in apps, similar to your smartphone.
Two seven-inch displays sit behind the steering wheel, directly in front of the driver, flanking an analogue tachometer which takes pride of place in the centre, directly in the drivers’ line of sight.
Both high-resolution displays are configurable and can display a range of information, from the full colour map to engine diagnostics and much more.
A 12.3-inch high-resolution touchscreen in the centre console gives access to a vast array of information, easily accessible via a series of apps. Everything from settings for the air assist suspension to adjusting the parameters of the lane change assist, park assist or many other assistance systems.
This Panamera is a technological masterpiece. Safe and fast, there is a vast amount of technology to help keep you safe and get the best out of the performance of the car.
Assistance systems are adjustable to suit your driving style and comfort level.
If adjustability and personalisation is your thing then Porsche has you well and truly covered.
If you have ever used the Porsche configurator on their website, you'll know how many options there are available to the prospective Porsche owner. https://www.porsche.com/uk/modelstart/all/?modelrange=panamera
This is fantastic and gives you the ability to create a Panamera or any other Porsche model, that is individual to you.
What if you wanted to take that further? What if you want something truly bespoke?
‘In the beginning, I looked around and could not find quite the car I dreamed of. So I decided to build it myself.’
Ferdinand Porsche, PhD, Eng.
Porsche have a department that can create something truly special and unique called Exclusive Manufaktur. This is where they build very special cars, responding to the most specific customer requirements.
Your Exclusive Manufaktur journey begins with an initial consultation at the factory in Zuffenhausen, where the process of creating a truly tailor-made Porsche starts.
Every customer receives personal attention, along with individual, professional advice from an expert with extensive knowledge of all options and vehicle models and their customisation options.
The range of options and possibilities is almost limitless. For example, as an Exclusive Manufaktur client, you are granted exclusive access to Porsches materials archive.
If creating something truly unique is for you, follow the link above to get a better understanding of what is possible, and contact Porsche to begin your journey. This service is available at Zuffenhausen, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dubai and Shanghai.
In summary, our time with the Panamera was pretty special. It is a magnificent sports car that we have only scratched the surface here.
If you are interested in ownership, I would urge you to contact your local Porsche dealer for a more in-depth discussion. You won't be disappointed.