From £59,746
V8 4S is the best in the Panamera range and offers wonderfully linear, accessible power delivery

Our Verdict

Porsche Panamera
The Porsche Panamera was first launched in 2009 and revamped in 2013

Can the four-door Porsche Panamera still do what’s expected of a Porsche?

  • First Drive

    2016 Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel review

    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • First Drive

    2016 Porsche Panamera Turbo review

    Porsche 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?

We’re quite familiar with the Panamera. We know it has its strengths in its performance and handling, and weaknesses in its comfort and interior practicality. But if there is any model likely to hit a sweet spot amidst all the compromises, it will be this naturally-aspirated V8 4S model, complete with 395bhp being sent to all four corners via Porsche’s double-clutch PDK ‘box.

Our car also came with the £750 Sports Chrono plus pack, which (in conjunction with the various standard electronic safety systems) brings with it launch control and more focussed settings for the gearbox, steering, traction control and throttle response.

What’s it like?

Very good - the best in the range, in fact. It’s the powertrain that really makes the difference here. Yes, it’s less brutal than the Turbo but for a car that has its roots in the luxury car market the wonderfully linear, accessible delivery from this 4.8-litre V8 is spot on, and regardless of where your performance benchmark sits, 4.8-seconds to 62mph in a 1.9-tonne car is hardly tardy.

Stop-start is standard on this model, and was one of our biggest gripes in the Turbo because it lacked much cohesion in conjunction with the PDK ‘box at typical town speeds. In the V8 this problem seems to have been ironed out to the point where it is a rare occurrence to be left hanging at a junction for an awkward moment whilst you wait for the engine to kick in following a prod of the throttle. Generally, even in creeping traffic, the stop-start system is something you can forget about and it just does its business. And after all, you can turn it off should you want to.

What is more frustrating is the slightly awkward brake pedal response, which makes modulating the brake at lower speeds more of a conscious effort than it should be due to the sharp initial response.

Higher speeds are less problematic in general for the Panamera. In fact, this is when you realise why somebody might choose the Porsche over a more conventional luxo-barge, because it suddenly feels like a proper sports car. The lavish interior, large footprint and high kerbweight all become inconsequential and you can really enjoy the purity of the steering response, highly effective active four-wheel drive and the beautifully responsive powertrain. It really does drive in a properly absorbing way. You don’t get much of a sensation of speed, which can be a little disconcerting, but there is no question that this is a car you can really enjoy.

So perhaps you would forgive the ride, which on the standard steel springs and 19-inch alloys as tested here was rather hit-and-miss. The body is kept admirably in control but the dampers struggle to absorb vertical disturbances in the road surface and generally fall short of offering the level of refinement and isolation that some may hope for.

Should I buy one?

Well, the compromises that the Panamera 4S demands in the name of its impressive handling and performance are still likely to be too many for most. At over £84k it is a seriously expensive proposition, and whilst this is also a hugely capable and rewarding car there are other options that do a similar job, albeit in a different way, for less. If you’re taken with the Panamera’s abilities and presence, the V8 4S is the one to go for. But think carefully about other offerings - particularly those from Jaguar and Mercedes - before you make the decision.

Porsche Panamera 4S 4.8 V8

Price: £84,129; Top speed: 175mph; 0-62mph: 4.8sec (5.0sec without Sport Chrono); Economy: 25.4mpg; Co2: 260g/km; Kerb weight: 1860kg; Engine type: V8, 4806cc, petrol; Power: 395bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 369lb ft at 3500-5000rpm; Gearbox: 7spd PDK

Join the debate

Comments
12

14 July 2011

[whispers] I'm really beginning to like this car. And I'm not blaming the French burgundy pinot noir I've just finished.

The comments section needs a makeover... how about a forum??

14 July 2011

The Porsche 'face' is well past its sell by date !!! 21st century please ...........

14 July 2011

[quote Rich_uk][whispers] I'm really beginning to like this car. And I'm not blaming the French burgundy pinot noir I've just finished.[/quote] if they could just sort the back end out for the next design revision I think it would have a lot more fans. Its kind of the car you want to like but every time you see one on the road you just gag.

14 July 2011

[quote philcUK]

[quote Rich_uk][whispers] I'm really beginning to like this car. And I'm not blaming the French burgundy pinot noir I've just finished.[/quote] if they could just sort the back end out for the next design revision I think it would have a lot more fans. Its kind of the car you want to like but every time you see one on the road you just gag.

[/quote]

May be, like Rich's wine, it may age well?

It's all just a bit too big for me. Yes, it's footprint is wide which gives unflappable handling but it's girth can't be a pleasure to guide down the average B road.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

14 July 2011

[quote TegTypeR]May be, like Rich's wine, it may age well?[/quote] Porsche are always slammed for their 'lazy' design but really it is just a policy to maintain a strict and defined image/appearance. Because of this they come a little unstuck with cars outside of that normal comfort zone i.e. the Cayenne and Panamera.

Its very hard to translate that Porsche design DNA into body shapes that are just not meant to accommodate those kind of proportions. The second gen Cayenne vastly improved on the first ones look - particularly in the rear. Sure its still no looker but considering its proportions, the limitations of the design philosophy and the job it has to do - it's probably the best overall compromise.

Hopefully the same will become true next time around for the Panamera - it wont take much I wouldn't have thought - anf hopefully they will reassess the Galliber sister car at the same time which kind of just looks like an A8 breach birthing a Panamera at the moment

14 July 2011

I like this car a lot (well not the looks, which still haven't grown on me since seeing it first, as a prototype 9 months before launch). The inside is arguably as good as anything short of a RR. As noted, the real issue is the size of the thing, especially the width which isn't ideal for slotting down the narrow lanes that are the staple of my driving. You note the Jag and Merc as alternatives. What appeals (before Jag bring out 4wd) that I can get here in Switzerland is Alpina's B3S with 4wd. Similar power to the Porsche, much better torque, better fuel economy, smaller but (in touring) probably better interior space and a decent bit cheaper. It also has the added advantage of looking discrete. As an aside, Swiss / Zurich airport use the Panamera to shuttle 1st class passengers to the planes.

14 July 2011

I understand from last week's mag that a re-design of the rear end was begun when their new design chief joined the company. I really like what the Panamera can do, for it's size, and the interior is terrific but it's too heavy and the external looks are 'challenging'. Head-on, from a distance, it does bear a resemblance to a Z06.

I'm quite keen to see how they can improve it's looks.


14 July 2011

[quote philcUK]Porsche are always slammed for their 'lazy' design but really it is just a policy to maintain a strict and defined image/appearance. [/quote]

Your remarks make good sense. Rare to hear squeals of displeasure for every new Range or Land Rover looking like the last with minor variation, (what is the Evoque but a Mini-Me RR?) or Audis and BMWs barely distinguishable one from another. Porsche can be seriously radical, "cutting-edge", when they want, see their proposed update of a 928 GT , their 918 supercar, or their Carrera GT.

14 July 2011

Why is the "price as tested" less than the price listed at the bottom?

15 July 2011

Thats perfectly possible. I am a Porsche owner and when my car had its first service, the Porsche dealer laid on a Panamera 4 S for my use. I have a couple of comments, good and not so good:

First the good: When viewed IN THE FLESH, the car is beautiful - its maybe not the most photogenic car around, but don't [quote Rich_uk]

[whispers] I'm really beginning to like this car. And I'm not blaming the French burgundy pinot noir I've just finished.

[/quote]judge it...it really needs to be seen. In terms of its looks, its very sensitive to colour and wheel choice - the example I drove had 911 Turbo-style wheels and in black, it was stunning. Have to say I found the ride quality very smooth for general driving, but quite 911 like (surprisingly) when pushed. Its also impeccably screwed together. As you would expect, the engine sounds lovely...that is when you can hear it - its VERY quiet!

The not so good bit is the price - whilst it may fit into Porsche's pricing strategy perfectly well, but considering the competition it has, it strikes me as overpriced for what it is. An E63 AMG can be had for far less - I drove one a few weeks ago and actually prefer it to the Panamera. Consider...its every bit as well built (Merc really have their quality sorted now, they are much more their old selves), comfortable, but mad when you want it to be, so more entertaining, with a fabulous vocal engine and a sonorous sound track all the time. On power, of course the P4S has 395 horsepower to the Merc's 525, so in fact, the AMG's power level is up there with the Panamera Turbo, but the price of that particular Panamera variant is just out of sight....

Am I comparing like with like? Maybe yes, maybe no, in the end its each to their own. I love Porsches, but seriously tempted by an E63 AMG.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka