Back in 2009 we said the Panamera didn’t fit properly into the luxury saloon segment but with the Porsche's arrival the class had become all the more interesting.
Four years later, there’s still a distinct aura of the maverick about the Panamera's vim and vigour, but advances in its rolling comfort, powertrains and running costs have gently broadened the appeal of Porsche’s four-door gamble.
The influence of the firm’s Chinese customers is clearly not to be underestimated. It is the reason why Porsche has gone to the expense of introducing a lengthened variant, and probably why it has tinkered with the formerly firm ride quality. But who are we to complain? Especially if the end result is a Porsche that works just as well in Sheffield as it does in Shanghai.
Efforts to satisfy buyers in Seattle as well have improved the previously redundant hybrid model, but its huge weight and suspect economical advantage mean it will remain a niche product in the UK.
The diesel will not, but oil burner fans are advised to wait for the Panamera to receive the ballistic biturbo motor currently wowing Cayenne buyers. Doubtless it will have a similar effect in Porsche’s saloon, where a continued focus on driver involvement tends to make the quicker Panameras the better ones.
The new S model doesn’t suffer much for the loss of the V8, but the emphasis on a certain level of commitment – still necessary if you want to fully appreciate the car’s point – mean it’s the GTS and Turbo that endure on the fantasy shortlist for those with four seats to fill and continents to cross.