Porsche’s super-sedan, the super-car slaying Panamera, has recently received a major mid-life upgrade in the form of small but useful tweaks to make it go harder, faster and more efficient. On the surface, changes look minor, but the end result is far greater than the sum of all its parts. All of these changes have contributed to Porsche retaking the fastest executive sedan record on the famed Nurburgring race track in Germany with a time of 7:25.04 seconds using the Panamera Turbo S variant, equalling many purpose-built sports cars and other smaller, nimbler and more focused performance cars. This cements Porsche as the true masters of the infamous Green Hell.
There are two body styles available in different markets worldwide: the classis 4-door coupe sedan layout, and the handsome Sport Turismo shooting brake (estate or station wagon in Porsche-speak). The sedan also gets a long-wheelbase executive variant. The major visual changes are the full-length 3D-effect rear tail lamps similar to the 992-generation sportscar launched last year, a now standard front face seen as a Sport Design factory option with new dynamic LED headlights. The range-topping Turbo S variants get their own unique fascia with larger inlets to cool the engine’s various heat exchangers and feed fresh cold air to the intakes.
But the changes underneath are where the Porsche engineers really spent careful time, refining and improving for maximum impact. The all-turbocharged line-up of six and eight cylinders feature better responsiveness, less lag, more power and efficiency readily accessible over a wider RPM band. Optimizing the engine’s individual components, reducing reciprocating mass and also reducing vibrations give the new range of engines a smoother, more refined and luxurious feel when driving about in town. The range-topping Turbo S variant’s twin-turbocharged 4.0 liter V8 get a massive 630ps and 850 Newton-Meters of torque fed through all four wheels via an 8-speed Porsche PDK dual-clutch transmission whereas the base Panamera gets a not-so-entry-level twin turbocharged 2.9 liter V6 that pumps out a very respectable 330ps and 450 Newton-Meters of torque driving the rear wheels also via the same 8-speed dual-clutch PDK transmission. Porsche promises that the base V6 engine will really deliver noticeable response and efficiency improvements when driving in normal day-to-day conditions in the city. The plug-in hybrid variants are armed with the same 2.9 V6 engines plus Porsche’s full hybrid system that delivers a combined system output of 560ps and 750 Newton-Meters of torque through all four wheels via the same 8-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. Who says hybrids need to be boring? A larger 17.9kw/h battery improves the Panamera Hybrid’s all-electric range to 54 kilometers from a full charge, but overall battery dimensions remain the same as the previous model.
Porsche has tweaked all the active handling and safety aids which include the Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV) to help it corner at unbelievable speeds despite its size and heft, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) to keep the four wheels in contact with the road at all times and Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control that uses a 48-volt-powered system for its active anti-roll bars. The result? The aforementioned executive sedan set a lap record on the famed Nordschleife (Northern Loop) of the Nurburgring.
The inside remains largely unchanged, with the familiar 918-steering wheel getting a mild design tweak atop the familiar 5-dial instrument cluster. The Porsche Communication Management with Navigation is standard for our market and already comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can supplement the overall aural experience with a 21-speaker BURMESTER surround sound system if the standard 12-speaker BOSE surround sound isn’t up to your taste. A panoramic glass roof is available as is an air ioniser system which is in demand nowadays thanks to the COVID19 pandemic increasing our sensitivity and awareness for health and wellness. Of course, any Porsche has an awesome seating and driving position thanks to a choice of 8-way comfort seats, 14-way special comfort seats and 18-way adaptive sport seats which automatically hug and tighten around your body when the system detects large G-forces working to throw you off your seat.
Prices, final specs and variants are yet to be finalized for the Philippines as of this time, but Porsche Philippines Managing Director Roberto T. Coyiuto III says the new Panamera should be available locally towards the end of the year.
A car enthusiast through and through, Botchi Santos believes that different people have different needs. He tries to find the best car for a specific audience, and spruces things up by delving into car culture, helping make the local car community vibrant and enjoyable for all. His passion for motoring is built around a belief that cars are among the top three life purchases.