Porsche Panamera Review
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
Porsche Panamera : what would you like to read next?
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 generous space for four people and their luggage.
But other manufacturers have attempted this recipe, too. Everything from the Mercedes CLS, Audi A7 and BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe are there to steal your signature, providing a similar mix of space and pace.
But 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 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 also standard. Its quick changes help the Panamera’s engines stay on the boil, 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 helps 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, and the Turbo S model comes with both 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, so the engine range starts with a 330hp 2.9-litre petrol and gets progressively quicker until you reach the top-of-the-range 4.0 V8 Turbo S, which fires from 0-60mph in 2.9 seconds and tops out at 196mph. 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 hybrid’s is 403 litres) and 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 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 more special than these alternatives. 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 lease deals here.