We drive the new Porsche Panamera 4S.
The people at Porsche must suffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder. This ailment is to our benefit though, as their need for precision has created one of the most functional luxury cars available. Spending time in the new Porsche Panamera was an experience that marvelled us for various reasons we will explain.
It’s almost standard procedure in this segment to design a vehicle that expresses your monetary status in a somewhat brash way. If you look at what the Italians make for instance, it screams “look at me, I’m wealthy and my cousin Enzo is wealthy too.” The other German counterparts say “I’m in politics and my driver is on speed dial should the traffic get heavy.” Nothing is wrong with any of that, but for those who want to quietly go about their business in an understated manner, the Panamera ticks all the boxes. A few years ago, this model was the butt of many a joke. This new design, however, has shut the critics up in the same manner someone would, after losing a considerable amount of weight and obtaining a new wardrobe. It’s a sleeker look, modernised and very “911-ish” which is quite the compliment.
The exterior, in my opinion, is appealing, yet the interior is simply marvellous. Sitting inside it feels like a technological cocoon of functionality and modernity. The simplest of things keep me pleased and one of those simple things offered in the Panamera first and foremost, is Apple CarPlay. The amount of near death experiences I’ve had whilst trying to pair a phone to a car are far too many to recount. With CarPlay, a simple plug into my device and I’m ready to live another day. The infotainment system on the Panamera is not just for picking tunes, but rather it is the hub for all things in the car. Media, Navigation, Vehicle Dynamics and even the air-conditioning is all customisable using the screen. If you want to keep the touch screen unit clean, you do have the option to use the touch-sensitive buttons around the gear shifter.
The rear of the Panamera is not aimed for the world’s tallest man and his three children, but rather two persons who will enjoy the individualised set-up. A secondary screen centralised for the rear occupants allows them to interact with navigation and media, as well as control certain features in the car. Overall a strong element of sportiness is embodied in the inside of the Panamera, something you don’t quite expect until you turn the switch and start the vehicle.
Driving the Porsche Panamera 4S
Previously, anything other than the turbo variant was not mind blowing in terms of performance in the Panamera range. The new Panamera however is a very deceiving vehicle as it uses a 2.9 litre Twin Turbo V6 which howls on start-up, giving you an idea that it can go fast. Only when you accelerate for the first time do you remember that the brochure did in fact tell you that this car produces 324kW and 550N.m, resulting in a 0-100km/h sprint of 4.2 seconds. This power is delivered in a very composed manner, allowing you to adjust your tie and rush for a meeting at the same time. It’s only when you activate launch control that it’s advisable to keep any hot liquids away from your person, as the results will not be pleasant if you do not, I assure you. Dynamically the Panamera is a large vehicle so you don’t expect it to be incredible at handling. You’d be wrong as it can swing it’s hips and do the cha cha in a way that befits a car much smaller in size.
Which takes us back to this obsessive compulsive disorder that Porsche has. Their goal is to make everything work exceedingly well in this car. From the space it offers you, to its road manners and even the way it sounds, it does a sterling job at being very good at everything. As a result, it’s a tough car to find fault with. Who buys it then? The person who requires space, space a 911 cannot provide. In essence, the Panamera is a 911 with four doors. The everyday sports car with everyday practicality. It does not shout to the world that it’s worth R1.6 million, but it does have a presence about it. It still makes a powerful statement when you arrive anywhere in it. It says a lot without saying much. For the driver focused buyer in need of a luxury vehicle, this car answers many questions and then some.
Pricing for the Porsche Panamera in South Africa
Porsche Panamera 4s : R1,638,000
Porsche Panamera 4S Sport Turismo: R1,717,000
Porsche Panamera 4S Executive: R1,873,000