The basis for the Mk3 Panamera is an updated version of the Modular Sport Toolkit platform developed by Porsche and its Volkswagen Group sibling company Bentley.
Porsche claims the car is stiffer and more rigid than before, and part of this can be attributed to new foam-filled steel elements integrated into the front bulkhead in place of the Mk2’s aluminium sections.
A new frameless tailgate has also enabled the addition of new bracing elements within the rear.
And with a fully variable four-wheel drive system and torque vectoring, traction remains strong at all times.
It’s also extremely refined. The engine is well isolated from the cabin and you hear no definable whine from the motor, so long journeys would be no bother.
There’s an engaging fluidity to the dynamics and an inherent composure to the way the car deals with pockmarked roads that belie its kerb weight of more than 2.3 tonnes.
The new Panamera is set to offer two different air suspension options: a standard dual-chamber arrangement and a single-chamber one similar to that adopted by the Cayenne, both featuring new, faster-reacting twin-stage dampers.
“There’s no compromise any more,” says Freimuth of those dampers. “We can individually tune the individual compression and rebound strokes for more progressive and smoother action.”
The steering is superbly precise, and the car’s response and agility are heightened by the inclusion of a rear-wheel steering system.
The generously dimensioned (275/40 front and 315/35 rear) 20in Michelin Pilot Sport tyres worn by our prototype combine with the constantly variable properties of the four-wheel drive system to provide massive purchase too.
There are still some tweaks to be made before the new Panamera can be considered ready for production, but we doubt that many of them will be focused on performance and dynamics, because these are already at a very high level.
This is a hugely likeable car with a feeling of deep-seated engineering, technical thoroughness and, even in prototype form, inherent solidity