Porsches rarely sit directly alongside their rivals, but the Panamera is marked out further by having four seats to the more common five, and by the fact that convention dictates a big luxury car should have a saloon boot rather than a hatchback.
Nevertheless, its interior finish has been executed to a superb standard. In terms of perceived quality, Porsche has nothing to fear from any car with a list price of less than £100,000.
The layout, with its tall centre console running throughout the cabin, was originally featured on the Carrera GT, and has now migrated across Porsche’s lineup. Of course in the Panamera it means that there are two individual chairs in the back rather than a bench.
In many ways that made life easier for Porsche, because the seats can (optionally) be widely adjustable in a way that a bench can’t be. The formula has proven so successful that the 2013 refresh, while distinguishable outside, barely made a scratch on the inside.
The slightly inboard rear buckets still offer a better view ahead, and rear legroom is adequate within a typically generous class. An Executive version, with a 15cm longer wheelbase, is now offered to satisfy the demands of the back-seat obsessed Chinese market.
Up front, the chairs remain on the supportive end of comfortable – this is a Porsche, after all – and the driving position is first-rate. The Panamera’s minor controls are still a little on the fussy side, but they’ve been around long enough now (and repeated elsewhere) that it’s easy to overlook how fiddly it can occasionally be to interact with the navigation and audio systems.
Otherwise, with typical Porsche accuracy, the car does all you could ask of it. The dials are first rate; defined by the gun-sight rev gauge, and always memorable for the dial which doubles as a sat nav display.
The E-Hybrid gains some embellishments to set it apart from the rest of the range. Porsche has decided that lime green will be its colour shorthand for e-mobility, so you get brake calipers, dashboard needles and exterior badging finished in that shade.
More significant tweaks include a Power Meter that depicts the threshold between electric power and combustion, and assists the driver in maintaining zero-emission propulsion. Further assistance is provided by the accelerator pedal, which features a noticeable pressure point change to denote the point in its travel at which the V6 will kick in.