At 1931mm wide, the Panamera takes up more road space than a Land Rover Discovery, but on anything from a decent B-road up the Panamera actually feels a lot smaller and more nimble than its size suggests.

Mostly this is down to the steering, which, if not identical to that of Porsche’s sports cars, shares some of the same characteristics. Namely, that it is precise and feelsome. 

The steering shares precision and feel with Porsche's sports cars

Driven at medium speeds, the Panamera feels endlessly capable, but it doesn’t provide quite the same fluidity or thrills you get with a 911 or, for that matter, a Jaguar XFR. Whether that is an issue is, of course, entirely personal.

What is clear is that some of the misgivings we previously had for quality of ride dispensed by the standard Porsche Active Suspension Management system have been addressed. 

For the 2013 facelift, and doubtless with those rear-seat Chinese buyers in mind, Porsche has sought for a better compromise between handling and high-end comfort.

The software that controls the damper and air spring rates was recalibrated, oil flow-through was modified in the adaptive dampers and the front suspension mounts were strengthened for better solidity. The result is a less tetchy Panamera, and one generally not unsettled by the kind of slow-speed intrusions that tripped up its predecessor. 

Such fettling means, in the UK specifically, that the car’s superior brand of handling can be pushed that bit closer to its potential. As before, this is better enjoyed in rear-wheel drive format, making the Panamera S that bit more desirable than it otherwise might have been.

The lighter, shorter V6 is mounted further back than the V8, and with no all-paw drivetrain to power, it lends the big Porsche an appreciable sense of balance and agility to go with the unfathomable grip. 

Of course if you prefer, the latter can be carried to the nth degree. The GTS remains the most interesting of those models, endowed with the Porsche Traction Management system and thanks to the tightened-up running gear, but the Turbo is the one Panamera which actually feels as though it really needs drive sent to all four wheels to better mete out its potential.


Find an Autocar review

Find an Autocar car review