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?
This is the cheapest route there is to Porsche Panamera ownership: the two-wheel drive, 296bhp 3.6-litre stop-start V6.
We’ve already driven the four-wheel drive V6, on smooth German roads.
This is our first opportunity to sample a V6-powered Panamera of any description here in the UK.
Devoid of options, the car will set you back £61,461; the version driven here came with Porsche’s PDK seven-speed dual-clutch auto ’box, which adds £2338 to the price and 30kg to the kerb weight, while reducing the 0-62mph time from 6.8sec to 6.3sec and improving the combined mpg and CO2 emissions from 25mpg and 265g/km to 30.4mpg and 218g/km respectively.
What’s it like?
It’s a mixed bag. As with all Panameras both the driving position and interior ambience are of the authentic Porsche variety, with excellent controls and a superbly well-finished cabin.
There is, however, no getting away from the car’s sheer size, which you notice it all the more in the V6-powered car.
The 296bhp, 295lb ft engine is hardly asthmatic, but the Panamera never feels that quick. It’s smooth and free revving, but the PDK ’box has to stay very busy keeping the motor on the boil when pressing on.
While the lack of four-wheel drive removes weight and complexity, it also denies an added security and stability that the Panamera really does benefit from.
However, in everyday driving, and at anything up to seven or eight-tenths, the rear-drive car has is as surefooted, and offers as much raw grip, as you could ask for.
Body control is excellent too, and the ride, albeit hampered by the optional 20-inch wheels fitted to our test car, is surprisingly good.
Yes, it’s firm, and the more severe impacts do find their way through the suspension and into the cabin, but for the most part it’s refined and exceptionally well controlled.
Should I buy one?
If you’re buying on a budget, of sorts, and simply nothing but a Panamera will do, then yes, why not?
While the V6’s performance may be a touch muted and the drive itself suffers from the limitations imposed by the vehicle’s bulk, there’s still entertainment to be had at the wheel.
However, as we previously concluded having driven the four-wheel drive V6, greater financial outlay will secure you a more convincing performer in the shape of a V8-powered Panamera.
On the other hand, similar money will see you in a more conventional super-saloon such as an M5 or XFR, both of which provide significantly more driving pleasure and performance while also being better suited to carrying four adults in comfort when required.
Porsche Panamera 3.6 V6 PDK
Price: £63,799; Top speed: 161mph; 0-62mph: 6.3sec; Economy: 30.4mpg; CO2: 218g/km; Kerbweight: 1760kg; Engine: V6, 3605cc, petrol; Power: 296bhp at 6200rpm; Torque: 295lb ft at 4250rpm; Gearbox: 7-spd dual-clutch auto