Launched as a 2010 model, the Panamera brought Porsche into a new vehicle category. Created to complement the German automaker’s illustrious sports-car heritage, the Panamera was a masterfully stylish four-door luxury fastback sedan, whose enchanting lines easily turned heads.
Redesigned for 2017, the second-generation Panamera grew slightly and adopted a fresh look. For the 2018 model year, a new Sport Turismo hatchback body style joins the sedan. The 2018 lineup includes twin hybrid plug-in models, topped by the 680-horsepower Turbo S E-Hybrid.
Porsche offers 17 versions, five of which are Sport Turismos. The lineup includes a base model, all-wheel-drive Panamera 4 and 4S, long-wheelbase Executive, and Turbos.
The rear-wheel-drive base Panamera holds a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 rated at 330 horsepower, able to reach 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. All but the base model feature all-wheel drive.
In the Panamera 4S, a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 produces 440 horsepower (up 20) and 406 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration to 60 mph is achieved in as little as 4.0 seconds. The Panamera Turbo V8 raises the ante to 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet.
A fast-acting 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, called PDK (Porsche Doppelkupplung) goes into all models.
Two E-Hybrid models are offered. The 462-horsepower, 2.9-liter 4 E-Hybrid develops 516 pound-feet of torque. Accelerating to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, it can travel more than 30 miles on electricity alone.
Inspired by the 918 Spyder, the flagship Turbo S E-Hybrid boasts 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet from its 4.0-liter V8/electric powertrain. Both hybrids use lithium-ion battery packs. Porsche says recharging takes 12.5 hours at a 110-volt outlet, dropping to 2.4 hours with a 240-volt charger.
Conventional models seat four, while the Panamera Executive, with its longer wheelbase, adds about 6 inches of rear-seat legroom. Sport Turismos come with either four-place seating or a 4+1 configuration that replaces the rear-seat console with a narrow, high-riding middle seat.
Not everyone swooned over the first generation. Some branded it lumpy; but the current Panamera is more cohesive in nature.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash-tested the Porsche Panamera.
All models have forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera. Active lane control, adaptive cruise control, Night Vision, and automatic parking assistance are optional.
The Porsche Panamera ($85,000) comes standard with the 330-horsepower, 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 and rear-wheel drive, plus 19-inch alloy wheels, partial leather upholstery, and parking sensors. The 12.3-inch infotainment screen features Apple CarPlay compatibility and navigation.
Panamera 4 ($89,600) adds all wheel drive. All except the base model have all-wheel drive.
Panamera 4S ($103,000) uses a 2.9-liter V6 engine.
Panamera Turbo ($150,000) gets the 4.0-liter V8.
An extended-length body adds rear-seat space for the Panamera 4 Executive ($96,300), Panamera 4S Executive ($113,900), and Panamera Turbo Executive ($160,000).
The new hatchback body is use for the Panamera Sport Turismo 4 ($96,200), Sport Turismo 4S ($109,200), and Sport Turismo Turbo ($154,000).
The hybrid plug-in powertrain with 2.9-liter V6 is used for the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid ($99,600), Sport Turismo 4 E-Hybrid ($104,000), and Executive E-Hybrid ($104,100).
The hybrid powertrain with 680-hp, 4.0-liter V8 is used for the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid ($184,400), Sport Turismo Turbo S E-Hybrid ($188,400), and Turbo S Executive E-Hybrid ($194,800).
An adaptive suspension and rear-wheel steering are among the many options. (Prices are MSRP and do not include $1,050 destination charge.)
Brawny back fenders and short front and rear overhangs demonstrate kinship to the legendary 911 sports car. So does the rearward-sweeping, fastback-style roof in standard Panameras. Up front, all Panameras look about the same, with a long hood leading into a sinewy body shape.
New Sport Turismos repeat the Panamera’s heritage-laden design, but pushing the roofline up slightly and stretching it rearward. The back window is more positively slanted. Both body styles are hatchbacks, but the Sport Turismo’s is more obvious.
For a cabin so lovely, the Panamera is impressively utilitarian. Despite some plastic switches materials are in keeping with Panamera prices.
On the lower, vertical dashboard, everything looks high-tech. Twin 7.0-inch screens comprise the instrument cluster, augmented by a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a central tachometer.
Four passengers will be more comfortable than five, though space ranks above average in both front and back. Seats are somewhat low, but highly comfortable and supportive. Rear occupants in the standard Panamera get separate, amply-bolstered seats.
Sport Turismos can substitute 4+1 seating for the usual two-place individual seats. The Turismo’s bench has a tall center hump, likely to bring the additional occupant’s head close to the roof. Legroom is scant, too.
Cargo volume totals 17.4 cubic feet in standard model, but only 15 in the Sport Turismo. Folding rear seatbacks raises space close to 46 and 49 cubic feet, respectively.
Every Panamera is masterfully composed and compliant for daily driving. Ride and handling qualities are equally brilliant in Sport Turismo form.
E-Hybrids ride and handle like their gasoline-engine counterparts, including crisp steering that transmits road feel through the steering wheel. On bumpy pavement, a Panamera feels firmly planted.
Optional rear-wheel steering shrinks the turning circle, improves stability, and elevates confidence on winding roads. Optional ceramic brakes yield powerful halts, but can be troublesome in urban driving.
With any engine, acceleration is simply wondrous. The optional Sport Chrono feature, when activated, yields 20 seconds of additional boost.
Porsche claims the Panamera 4S can hit 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, (4.0 with Sport Chrono). Satisfying sounds tickle the driver’s ear. Turbo acceleration to 60 mph takes as little as 3.4 seconds, yet it doesn’t feel brutal.
E-Hybrids include Hybrid Auto and E-Power settings. Torque from either E-Hybrid powertrain is available almost instantly. The 4 E-Hybrid performs vigorously, while the Turbo S E-Hybrid rivals Tesla sedans.
Brake-pedal feel in an E-Hybrid can be troubling at very low speeds, when transitioning between regenerative braking and the conventional mechanical brakes.
With V6 and rear-drive, the base Panamera is EPA-rated at 21/28 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined. The Panamera 4 hatchback and long-wheelbase Executive score 21/27/23 mpg. The Panamera 4S and 4S Executive manage a 21/28/23 mpg estimate, while Turbo editions are EPA-rated at 18/25 mpg City/Highway, or 21 mpg Combined.
The Panamera 4 E-hybrid hasn’t been EPA-rated, but Porsche estimates an MPGe rating at 51 mpg or higher, with at least a 20-mile all-electric driving range.
Panamera shoppers face plenty of choices. Even the rear-drive base model is abundantly equipped. Luxury features abound, though a few items typically seen at this price level are curiously absent. In addition to superior Porsche-level roadability, the Panamera is readily customizable, with outstanding infotainment and a wealth of intriguing technology available.
Driving impressions by Andrew Ganz, The Car Connection. James M. Flammang contributed to this report.