Porsche Panamera Review - More Like 911 But Stays Same Gran Turismo
The new generation of luxury four-door fastback has never densely approximated the style, design and technical characteristics of the 991 Turbo S, which is recognized as the most extreme model of the concern. But is this enough to be called a real Porsche? Let us consider in more detail.
The problem is an attempt by engineers to combine completely multi-polar virtues into one. As, for example, the comfort and luxury of executive sedan with honed handling and dynamic of a sports coupe. According to the manufacturer, there are only a single badge comes from the previous generation, the name and silhouette. As for the latter, despite the attempts to give the maximum resemblance to the Porsche sports line, the profile turned out to be very peculiar.
Lack of designers?
If the first five-door Porsche was criticized for that, it was for appearance - the rear end seemed heavy to many, and in general the whole silhouette seemed to be devoid of grace, which gave the haters another reason to criticize the Stuttgart brand for the lack of designers in the staff.
As a rule, in order to find new images, the pencil masters and model plasticine are prescribed in the mood room - a special room filled with images and objects capable of pushing the imagination in the right direction. With designers who were instructed to come up with a new Panamera, they acted more prosaically - they simply sent them to the parking lot with 911's.
The 2017 model looks more aggressive, its profile has bulky projections and a hood line that makes a car similar with the Porsche 718 and 918. However, it was not enough to look as impressive as the Audi RS7, AMG CLS, or the M6 Gran Coupe. The design is generally close to the fourth generation of 911 Carrera, especially in the aft part of the car.
Along with the increased dimensions, the five-door Porsche features a new elegant design. In the front, the cutouts of the air ducts increased, and proprietary teardrop headlights acquired stylish LED optics with four point LED elements of the navigation lights. The side sections of the air intakes are also decorated with double strokes of LED lights. Expressive front fenders put a trapezoidal hood cover between them, which is equipped with two longitudinal ribs, stretching from the very top to the bumper.
At the stern of the new Porsche Panamera, a large dimensional lighting equipment with narrow horizontal blocks of light-emitting diodes attracts the eye. Lamps are connected by a red strip, under which the model name is indicated. In a similar style, the back of the partners in the model series Porsche 911 and Porsche 718 Boxster is designed. In general, the new Panamera outwardly is very close to the 911th, and the technique of cars is similar. So, those fans of the model, who have fewer than three doors, can safely consider the novelty as an alternative.
The change of generations led to an easy adjustment of the silhouette of the Panamera. The dome of the roof of the car began to decrease more smoothly, as a result of which in the area of the rear row of seats it passes lower than it was before. In theory, the reserve over the heads of passengers also had to decline, but the developers assure that the distance from the seat cushions to the ceiling is sufficient for the comfortable to accomodate even tall passangers.
The new car is based on the MSB platform, which the current owner of the Volkswagen Group brand plans to actively use when creating other premium models. Despite the attempt to create a single platform for diverse cars, the Panamera is a bit lighter than its predecessor, and the Turbo version demonstrates an outstanding acceleration - from zero to sixty in just 3.4 seconds.
Gasoline versions, in addition, are equipped with a system of switching off part of the cylinders at low loads. This makes the car less sporty, since this decision is conditioned by the desire to reduce fuel consumption.
At the time of the start of sales, buyers will be offered a choice of three versions: Panamera Diesel, 4S and Turbo. All of them are equipped with turbocharged engines, an eight-speed gearbox and a all-time all-wheel drive system. Despite the traditional low-acceleration dynamics and increased noise for diesel engines, Porsche engineers managed to cope with these problems.
The new generation Panamera includes high-performance gasoline and diesel turbo-charged power units. The following modifications will be available from the start of sales:
- Porsche Panamera 4S with 2.9-liter V6 engine, equipped with a direct injection system and two turborcharges. The output of this unit is 440 HP at 5650 rpm, and the peak torque does not exceed 405 ft lb (1750-5500 rpm). The technical characteristics of the turbocharged "six" allow the sports car to accelerate from none to sixty in 4.4 seconds. The speed limit is set at 179 miles per hour.
- Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel with 4.0-liter diesel V8, which has a pair of turbochargers of variable geometry, activated in series (the second comes into operation after reaching 2700 rpm). Specs of the turbo diesel are the following: 422 HP and 626 ft lb. The maximum torque is available already at 1000 rpm, which, however, does not allow the car to accelerate to sixty faster than 4.5 seconds.
- Porsche Panamera Turbo - the most powerful and high-speed version, equipped with a biturbo V8 with displacement of 4.0 liters. The engine is capable of developing 550 HP at 5750 rpm and a torque of 567 ft lb (in the range of 1960-4500 rpm). Acceleration to sixty for this modification takes only 3.8 seconds, and with the Sport Chrono package its even less - 3.6 seconds. The advantage of the power plant is the smart system of deactivation of the cylinders, which cuts half of them at low loads.
All versions of the Porsche Panamera are equipped with an 8-speed robotic PDK II gearbox. Also in the arsenal of the new model there are four-wheel drive, three-chamber air suspension, adaptive shock absorbers, a fully-controlled chassis from the Porsche 911 Turbo, a roll suppression system and a vectoring traction contorol.
Extreme Test Drive
Turn the simulation of the ignition key (to the left of the steering wheel, of course) - and everything comes to life. I am in the center of the electronic universe. The arrows are only for the superior tachometer combination and the optional Sport Chrono stopwatch.
To the left and to the right of the main dial there are seven-inch screens, each of which pretends to be a pair of devices (in total, a classic combination of five rounds for Porsche). On the corresponding spokes of the steering wheel - rotating switches that allow you to "scroll" the readings of devices: you can, for example, turn the right 7-inch into the navigator screen, you can display the G-meter display, look at the distribution of torque, tire pressure... Yes, anything!
In the center of the symmetrical interior (no turns to the driver) - a touch screen with a diagonal of 12.3 inches, at the foot of which a modest rotating controller has settled down - hello to the fans of cell phones with buttons and other retrogrades. I felt this controller only once - just to make sure that it really is a controller. Because absolutely all functions of the on-board system Porsche Communication Management (PCM) can (and need to!) control, touching the high-speed screen.
Only on the run do you understand that the engineers seem to have been sent for inspiration to the same place as the designers. For example, the V6 of the 4S modification is very similar in character to the boxer one with the same number of cylinders hanging over the rear axle of the updated Carrera.
Rotating mode switch - in the Sport Plus, this time. The PDK selector is in the "drive", these are two. Now, with your left foot, press the brakes, and the right one - press the accelerator all the way to the stop, it's three. The arrow of the tachometer jumps and slightly trembles at the "five" - as close to the point of contact of the maximum torque and peak power. On the right side of the instrument panel, a warning appears that the activation of the "launch control" is activated.
Reset the brake - and Panamera 4S jumps forward, and from the head fly off the eyes removed from the cloud due to the clouded clouds.
The first "sixty" flies fast enough to believe in the official 4.2 seconds.
And how about handling?
Each click of the rotating mode switch (it was invented for the 918th, then attached to the wheel of the 911th, and now here) shifts Panamera on the scale: reduces the number of active chambers in pneumatic stands, "clamps" the stabilizers, reduces the switching times ... In Sport mode Plus the machine also "squats", pressing into the asphalt, and if you press the button "Sport Response", it will do five transfers instead of eight ...
No matter how much you squeeze Panamera into the asphalt, no matter how much you lower the rolls, it will remain, even a fast, but still very heavy car. The feeling of locomotive does not leave for a second, except that the rails for this locomotive you build yourself. It's amazing how easy the almost two-ton system turns, where it is necessary, while maintaining a very decent smooth course. To blame it is possible unless on easy delays at switching downwards - here, by the way, it is not a sin to help a box, having pulled a couple of times the left paddle shifter.
Inside, surviving the renewal of a sports car, the most advanced equipment is installed, along with the finishing materials of the highest standard, forming an ergonomic and comfortable interior in all respects. The front panel of the hatchback is actually used only for placing the 12.3-inch touch screen of the main multimedia system. The remaining control elements are moved to the center console, which is transferred to the inter-passenger tunnel. Virtually all the classic buttons, which there were a great many, replaced by convenient touch panels, with which you can easily manipulate the car's systems, whether climate control, electric seat adjustment or heated seats. Rear passengers have almost the same functionality of the touch console as the front riders, except that the gear lever is not enough. Of course, there is no third seat.
In addition to the aesthetic aspect and electronic equipment, the developers seriously took care of the practical side of the issue, having configured a large luggage compartment. Base capacity 17.4 cubic feet increases by folding rear seats to as much as 46 cu ft. The convenient operation of the cargo compartment is provided by the possibility of separately folding the backs of the rear seats, cut in the proportion of 40:20:40
The new generation Panamera is a car for those who are accustomed to comfortable driving on public roads and only sometimes allows themselves aggressive driving. As for the version of Turbo, it only gives the car a piquancy without excessive extreme, coupled with the loss of the opportunity to relax behind the wheel.
The Panamera has turned out to be an extremely successful and practical car, quite suitable for daily operation, that's why as one of the prototypes, Porsche engineers presented a station wagon for people leading an active life.