When Porsche first unveiled its first four-door sedan, the Panamera, the world seemed shocked. Shocked for a few reasons. The first reason is that it was a massive departure from what Porsche has been known for since its inception. Secondly, its performance and comfort were far more impressive than anticipated. Lastly, it was flipping hideous.
Actually, that’s a bit harsh, as from the C-pillar forward it actually was quite nice looking. But that rump was possibly the worst I’ve ever seen on a car. Woof, what an ugly rear end it had. But that didn’t stop it from selling like crazy, making it one of the best-selling cars in the brand’s history. So when the folks at Porsche set out to create a second generation Panamera, they needed to improve its hideous rear end without compromising the style and practicality of the original.
It seems, as least for now, that Porsche was able to do just that.
For 2017, the Porsche Panamera is actually quite pretty. Shocking, I know, but it’s true. The rear end ditches its hunchback for a much more stylish 911-esque design. While it isn’t exactly as smooth and sexy as a 911’s rear, it’s about as close as its going to get with four doors. From the C-pillar forward, things aren’t much different from before, but then again they don’t need to be. The rear was the Panamera’s issue and not it’s been remedied, quite successfully.
This new Porsche Panamera is bigger in every exterior dimension, but not that much bigger. However, the increase in size has paid off on the inside. There’s more interior cabin space now and it’s much nicer than before. While the inside was the only bastion of hope for style on the previous-generation car, as it was actually quite nice, this new car’s cabin is far nicer.
Replacing traditional Porsche gauge cluster is a center tachometer flanked by two seven inch high-def screens which read out all of the information a driver could possibly want. The steering wheel is also pulled from the ultra expensive Porsche 918 and the smallish infotainment screen of previous car has been replaced with a much larger one set into the middle of the dash. The line of buttons flaking the shifter of the previous Panamera have been replaced by what looks like touch-sensitive buttons around a much smaller electronic shifter. It’s actually a very clean and sleek looking cabin that looks and seems upscale and expensive.
In terms of power, the new Panamera will come with a variety of engine options, including a diesel and hybrid powertrain. However, the volume sellers will be the 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6 in the Panamera 4S and the 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 (built together with Audi) in the Panamera Turbo. The former will get a healthy 440 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque while the latter will make a mighty 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. The V6-powered Panamera 4S will get from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, or 4.0 seconds flat with the Sport Chrono package equipped. The big-daddy Panamera Turbo will do the same sprint in 3.6 seconds or 3.4 with the Sport Chrono.
All engines will be mated to Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox and will power either the rear or all wheels. All of this makes the new Porsche Panamera one of the fastest and most capable cars in its segment and the Panamera Turbo claims a 7:38 ‘Ring time. So it’s a serious player in the super sedan segment, taking the BMW M5 head on.
But it isn’t just all power and a new ass, as it packs a healthy amount of technology. Apple CarPlay, Night Vision Imagery, with LED headlights that target humans or animals that the Night Vision detects so as to avoid them, and a new InnoDrive autonomous driving aid.
The first-gen Porsche Panamera was a great car that had serious body image issues. Now, it’s gone on a diet, started working out (particularly squatting) and has changed its figure entirely. It looks significantly better than before, has a nicer interior, new engines, better performance and better technology. So a car that was still highly competitive in its segment despite getting old has just gotten much better. BMW’s next M5 is going to need to be excellent to compete with this thing.