First DriveIts predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
First DrivePorsche has striven to make its Panamera even more luxurious this time around, but the four-seater retains the grip and pace to go with its increased refinement
What is it?
No matter how challenging the concept of a four-door Porsche powered by a V6 powerplant, this entree into the Panamera range will be the global best-seller.
Half of all Panamera output will exit Zuffenhausen equipped with a 300bhp 3.6-litre six, effectively two cylinders lopped off the Panamera’s V8.
In the UK the V6 will make up a third of sales, largely because it lowers the entry-point into the Panamera range by £12k.
There are technical advantages, too. The lighter-weight V6 reduces the load over the Panamera’s nose by 30kg and shifts the engine’s C of G backwards, marginally-improving weight distribution to 52:48 front:rear.
The 300bhp output of the V6 is impressive, placing it above similarly-engined rivals, whose V6s tend to make between 240 – 270bhp. As a result the Panamera V6 records impressive-looking performance on paper.
What's it like?
The four-wheel drive Panamera 4, fitted with a seven-speed PDK ‘box as standard, holds the upper hand over the £5k cheaper, manual-as-standard two-wheel drive Panamera thanks to better steering and cornering stability. It also crosses white lines marginally better, although both our test cars were surprisingly unsettled by this everyday manouvre.
The iron body control - also a strong point of V8 Panameras - continues to impress on the optional air suspension, particularly in the transition between tight corners.
At all costs avoid the optional 20in wheels/tyres, which improve the aesthetics, but tramline very badly.
Despite the handful of good points, there’s no escaping the judgement that the Panamera V6 lacks the verve that its badge and hefty price tag demand.
The V6 isn’t as charismatic as Porsche’s flat-sixes, the steering wants for the scalpel-like precision of the company’s two-seaters and its bulk refuses to shrink as you thread it down a back road.
Above all else, the price is where the Panamera V6 really struggles. The £66k price tag pitches it against more powerful V8 and V10 competitors, particularly the 503bhp Jag XFR and 500bhp BMW M5, which offer considerably more performance and driving pleasure for similar money.
Should I buy one?
The most affordable Panamera yet struggles to justify its badge and hefty price tag thanks to the unexciting performance and driving manners and artificial steering.
Fact is, there’s much better value to be had higher-up the Panamera range, although that’s not much comfort if your budget isn’t north of £80k.