Porsche Panamera Review

Need to carry rear passengers but don’t want to forego a fun drive? Few cars do it better than a Porsche Panamera. It doesn’t come cheap, though, and there’s no diesel version.

9/10
Wowscore

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Hugely powerful engines
  • Fun to drive for its size
  • Practical for a Porsche

What's not so good

  • Expensive options
  • Saloon only seats four
  • No diesel engines

What do you want to read about Porsche Panamera?

Overall verdict

Need to carry rear passengers but don’t want to forego a fun drive? Few cars do it better than a Porsche Panamera. It doesn’t come cheap, though, and there’s no diesel version.

The Porsche Panamera saloon and Sport Turismo estate are as close as you can get to a family-friendly Porsche 911. They drive like sports cars and go like them too, but have spacious, luxurious interiors with space for four people and their luggage.

But other manufacturers have attempted this recipe, too. Everything from the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door, BMW M5, Audi RS6 and Mercedes-AMG 63 S Estate 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 their sportiest setting body lean in corners is all but eliminated, but they 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 (unless you buy the hybrid model). 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.

The pricey optional rear-wheel steering helps the Porsche turn into corners like a smaller car and the even pricier but powerful carbon ceramic brakes mean it stops harder – although both are unnecessary because the Panamera is close enough to perfect as it is.

OK, on a track you’d notice the difference between a Panamera and a 911, but on the road the two feel much closer than you’d think in terms of performance and agility.

Mat Watson
carwow expert

There are no diesel Panameras, so engine range (the estate’s is more limited) starts with a 330hp 3.0-litre petrol and gets progressively quicker until you reach the top-of-the-range Turbo S Executive E-Hybrid, which fires from 0-62mph in 3.4 seconds and tops out at 193mph.

But the real wow factor is that you can do it with the kids and (if you go for the Sport Turismo) the dog in tow, too. The sporty estate has a healthy 520-litre boot but even the standard car has 500 litres, and both have 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. For that reason though, it’s a strict four-seater unless you go for the Sport Turismo version, which has a fairly narrow and hard middle rear seat which isn’t comfy for long journeys.

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 its German alternatives. All models come with a super-sharp 12.3-inch infotainment screen, which is easy to use on the move using a fixed control knob located between the front seats.

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 a 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 bare in mind that you’ll need to go elsewhere if you want a diesel.

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