Porsche Panamera Review & Prices
The Porsche Panamera is hugely impressive to drive fast and has a lovely cabin, but it feels very wide on UK roads
What's not so good
Find out more about the Porsche Panamera
The Porsche Panamera saloon is as close as you can get to a family-friendly Porsche 911. It drives like a sports car and goes like one too, but has a spacious, luxurious interior with more than enough room for four people and their luggage. Think of it like a fitness tracker – it does all the sensible stuff like telling you the time and date, but also encourages you to get a bit sporty..
Other manufacturers have attempted this recipe, too. Everything from the Audi A7, BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe and Mercedes CLS are there to steal your signature, providing a similar mix of space and pace.
The Porsche Panamera is more fun to drive than most other cars its size. It feels nimble in bends and the steering makes it easy to judge exactly how much grip you have to play with – which tends to be quite a lot, because most models have four-wheel drive.
Adjustable suspension helps you to make the most of that grip and is fitted across the range. In its sportiest setting, body lean in corners is all but eliminated, but it can also be softened to take the edge off bumpy roads. Having said that, the Panamera always feels on the firm side versus its alternatives – particularly the Mercedes.
The Panamera’s eight-speed gearbox is standard. Its quick changes help the car's engines stay at their most responsive during sporty driving; but when you’re just cruising around it can change gear as smoothly as a Mercedes, and there’s no annoying clutch pedal to operate in stop-start town driving.
Optional rear-wheel steering can help the Porsche turn into corners like a smaller car and optional powerful carbon-ceramic brakes mean it stops harder. However, both are unnecessary, because the Panamera is close enough to perfect as it is. That said, go for the super-fast Turbo S model and you’ll get both features as standard.
No executive car feels as sporty to drive as a Panamera, but there are more comfortable alternatives over bumps if that's more your thing
There are no diesel Panameras, though the eco options are a trio of plug-in hybrid alternatives, so the engine range starts with a 330hp 2.9-litre petrol and gets progressively quicker until you reach the top-of-the-range 700hp Turbo S e-Hybrid. Wow.
But the real wow factor is that you can do it with the kids in tow. The Panamera has a healthy 495-litre boot (the hybrids drop to 403 litres), which puts it bang in the middle of its alternatives, while there's room for four tall adults and a decent amount of smaller storage areas scattered around the cabin.
The interior feels as sporty as you’d expect from Porsche. All four seats (the rear is a pair of seats rather than three-person bench as standard, although you can add a small third rear seat as an option) are body-hugging jobs that hold you and your passengers snugly around bends, and a huge hump runs down the centre of the car that helps you feel cocooned. You can add a middle rear seat as an option, but it’s not much use for adults.
All the cabin materials feel as premium as anything you get in an Audi, BMW or Mercedes, but the low-set dashboard and the Panamera’s unique design make it feel even more special. All models come with a super-sharp 12.3-inch infotainment screen, which is bright, responsive and easy to use.
There’s a price to pay for the Panamera’s exclusivity, though, and that’s a long and expensive options list, plus some safety options that would come fitted as standard in more mainstream models. Adaptive cruise, for instance, which can match the speed of the car in front before returning to preselected cruising speed, is expensive to add, while lane-change assist that warns of cars in your blind spots is extra too.
Still, if it’s luxurious space mixed with a sports car drive you’re after, few do it better than the Porsche Panamera. Just go easy on the options list and bear in mind that you’ll need to go elsewhere if you want a diesel.
Check out our latest Porsche leasing deals if a Panamera is the car for you - and if you'd prefer to own your Panamera outright, have a look at the latest used Porsche cars for sale through carwow. You can sell your current car through carwow now, too.
The Porsche Panamera has a RRP range of £75,175 to £149,175. Monthly payments start at £1,011.
So, you need a healthy bank balance to buy even the entry-level Panamera. The good news is the more affordable V6 models are great to drive and very fast, so there’s no need to spend the extra on one of the V8s or the hybrids for a true Porsche driving experience.
You could consider a BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe instead, which aims for the same luxurious-but-sporty bullseye as the Panamera but costs a little more than a V6 Panamera. Or if your lottery winnings are delivered by forklift truck you could splurge your fortune on the likes of a Bentley Flying Spur for a whole lot more.
Despite it’s limo-like size, the Porsche Panamera is incredibly nimble on a good road. Fast, too. Its sportier suspension does mean it’s a bit firm in town, though
City driving doesn’t show the Panamera at its best. The trouble is this car is huge, and feels it.
Taking up as much road space as a big SUV is fine, so long as you sit up high with good all-round visibility. But with its low-slung driving position and long sloping bonnet, it’s quite hard to judge the position of the Porsche’s extremities.
All models come with adaptive suspension, either with steel springs or air, but even set to the most comfortable settings the ride is quite firm. It thumps into sharp bumps that a less sporty luxury car would glide over.
On the other hand, the eight-speed automatic transmission swaps gears promptly and smoothly, so stop-start traffic is no chore. Go for one of the hybrids and you can drive around on electric power with very little noise to disturb the peace in the cabin.
But driving a Panamera around town is like walking a Doberman on a balcony. It doesn’t really fit and would be much happier prowling wide open spaces.
On the motorway
Motorway journeys give the Panamera a chance to stretch its legs. Performance is either sublime or ridiculous, depending on your point of view. You only need to twitch your big toe to reach 70mph, especially in one of the more potent models.
Ride comfort improves at speed. It’s obvious this car has been developed to be stable travelling on the German autobahn at speeds that would be illegal in the UK. At 70mph on British motorways it’s barely into its stride.
If you do cover a lot of motorway miles, keep in mind that there’s no diesel version for long-distance economy. The hybrids are economical so long as the batteries have plenty of charge, but fuel efficiency will be worse on a long run once the battery runs low.
On a twisty road
How narrow is your favourite twisty road? Because the width of the Panamera can be intimidating if you try to hustle the Porsche down a tiny B-road at pace.
On roads that are more open and sweeping, the Panamera becomes a pleasure to drive. Whether the model you choose has air suspension or steel, the Porsche is grippy and composed. It’s not quite as much fun as a Porsche 911, but for such a big luxury car the Panamera is very rewarding.
All but the entry-level have four-wheel drive, don’t forget, so they can make the most of their power in all weathers.
Passengers will find they’re well catered for as far as headroom and legroom are concerned, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want your Porsche Panamera to come with five seats and the PHEVs lose a hefty wedge of boot space
You sit low in the Panamera. If it wasn’t for the roomy cabin behind you, you could think you’re in a 911.
There’s a wide range of adjustment to the seat and steering wheel. Electric seat movement is standard, even if you stick with the entry-level model. The seats themselves are comfortable – they hold you in place when cornering hard but are supportive on a long drive. The pedals line up well to keep your legs straight so you don’t have to sit at a slight angle.
Midlife updates to the Panamera range introduced a new design of steering wheel. As you’d expect of a high-performance car with an automatic gearbox, there are gearshift paddles behind the wheel so you can take charge of gear selection if the mood takes you.
Once you’ve dialled in your driving position, you’ll find there are big door bins with enough space for a large bottle of water. Two cupholders sit on top of the transmission tunnel to hold your morning cup of coffee, although we doubt you’ll need caffeine to wake you up when driving the Panamera.
It’s a shame the view behind you isn’t better, though. The sloping roof and thick rear pillars get in the way which can be a pain, especially while reversing.
Space in the back seats
There are just two seats in the back as standard, but you could argue that’s a good thing. It means Porsche has been able to shape the seats to wrap around passengers, combining support while cornering with armchair-like comfort. You can even go for electrically adjustable rear seats that allow passengers to stretch out on long journeys.
Alternatively, you can opt for a regular rear-bench with seatbelts for three, but it’s not quite as comfortable as having two seats in the back.
Whichever seating arrangement you go for, there’s plenty of head and legroom for adults. The door bins are a reasonable size and there are other storage spaces dotted around the cabin including aircraft-style pockets on the back of the front seats.
The Panamera’s boot has a 495-litre capacity - in petrol form at least. Plenty of pure luxury limos offer more, but for a car that’s meant to be at least as sporty as it is luxurious the Porsche’s boot is a good size. Indeed, it puts it slap bang in the middle of its two key alternatives, being bigger than the Mercedes CLS (475 litres) but smaller than the Audi A7 (535 litres).
You can fold the rear seats down to increase space to 1,334 litres, leaving a long and flat load space. That's about 55 litres less than the A7.
Luggage room isn’t as generous if you choose one of the plug-in hybrid models. These have a more restrictive 403-litre capacity because of the electrical components under the floor. That’s a common issue with plug-in hybrid models, but still a bit of a frustration.
Well made and sporty inside, but the infotainment could be better
The interior feels sportier than your local gym, without the pervading odour of sweat. All four seats hold you and your passengers snugly around bends, and the huge central tunnel actually enhances the feeling of being cocooned.
The cabin materials feel as premium as anything you get in an Audi, BMW or Mercedes, but the wide dashboard and the unique design make it feel a whole lot more special than these alternatives.
Unusually, the driver’s display isn’t fully digital. The central rev counter is a physical dial, which some will find low-tech while others will see it as pleasingly retro. It’s flanked by two displays which the driver can tweak to show different information.
All models come with a super-sharp 12.3-inch infotainment screen, fabulous metal inlays throughout and the highest-quality materials. There’s also a glass sunroof but it’s a shame this is split in two instead of being one huge panoramic affair.
The infotainment system is operated through a touchscreen that’s large and clear, with sharp graphics. It responds reasonably quickly to your touch, but the systems used in BMW and Mercedes vehicles are quicker, sharper and easier to operate. You can use voice control for some functions, but it’s a bit hit and miss.
On the plus side, the air conditioning controls are kept separate from the main touchscreen. The temperature is adjusted by physical switches, which are a lot easier to use when you’re on the move without becoming distracted.
You can plug in your phone using the USB connections, and these have all been updated to USB-C.
If you worry about fuel economy and emissions, you’re most likely to be interested in one of the plug-in E-Hybrid cars. The regular version combines a V6 petrol with electric power to achieve 113-141.2mpg, according to the official figures, though you’ll need to recharge regularly to get close to those numbers.
The Turbo S E-Hybrid uses a V8 engine and electricity for a staggering combined output of 700hp. Drive with restraint and recharge often, and the official tests say you can achieve 97.4-104.6mpg. Both of these models provide an electric-only range of just over 30 miles.
Of the non-hybrid cars, the entry-level rear-wheel-drive car has the best economy, returning 24.8-27.7mpg. The 480hp GTS returns 21.6-23.3mpg, while the Turbo S will only achieve 21.4-22.1mpg.
Carbon dioxide emissions will be as low as 45g/km if you choose a plug in hybrid, rising as high as 298g/km for Turbo S.
These are upmarket cars, and high-emitting unless you go for a hybrid. That makes for big tax bills. There’s a huge Vehicle Excise Duty cost in the first year, although that’s included in the price of the car so you don’t really notice it. For years two to six, you will also have to pay a bit extra on your annual bill because all versions cost more than £40,000.
The safety experts at Euro NCAP haven’t tested the Panamera, so there’s no official safety rating. Porsche tends to score the full five stars when its cars are tested.
That said, some of the safety kit you’d reasonably expect to be standard is on the Porsche options list . Plenty of superminis come with autonomous emergency braking included in the price, so why doesn’t Porsche’s luxury saloon? You can add it to the spec along with adaptive cruise control, but you really shouldn’t have to.
To keep your children safer when fitting child seats, the Panamera has ISOFIX mounting points to lock the seats securely in position. They’re fitted to the outer seats in the back.
It’s wrong to assume that German performance cars are always reliable. Porsche doesn’t tend to do well in reliability surveys, and when problems do occur they can be very expensive to put right.
The Panamera isn’t doing much to change that, finishing towards the bottom of the luxury car class in some recent reliability studies.
You do get a three-year warranty with no mileage limitation, but a Lexus is more likely to provide a headache-free ownership experience.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.