What is it?
You’ve got to feel a little sorry for the Porsche Panamera. Once the go-to large luxury sports saloon, this performance five-door has been rather upstaged by its new upstart EV sibling, the Porsche Taycan.
Pitching up in pretty much the same sector of the market and taking up largely the same footprint on the road, the all-electric Porsche, complete with its on-trend zero emissions messaging, has rather stolen the Panamera’s thunder (not literally, given its near-silent progress).
Yet Porsche still has faith in its fleet-footed family flagship. Not only has it suggested that it could survive alongside the Taycan for years to come, but it has also not long given both the hatchback and the more spacious Sport Turismo versions of the current 971-series Panamera a little mid-life nip and tuck.
So can these changes help the Panamera share some of its trendier younger relative’s space in the spotlight? Well, when it comes to raw statistics, our all-singing and all-dancing Sport Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo would certainly represent a formidable inclusion in any Top Trumps hand.
For starters, it’s currently the most powerful internal-combustion-engined model the company makes. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre petrol V8 features a 20bhp increase to 563bhp, which, in conjunction with the 134bhp electric motor, makes for a heady 690bhp, not to mention a thumping 642lb ft torque output. Porsche claims a neck-straining 3.2sec for the 0-62mph (0.2sec quicker than the old car) and a top speed of 196mph, which is a largely irrelevant 3mph more than before.
Perhaps more significant these days is the fact that by carefully optimising the cells of this plug-in hybrid’s lithium ion battery pack, the available energy has been increased from 14.1kWh to 17.9kWh, meaning a roughly 30% increase in all-electric range to 31 miles, which Porsche, like most manufacturers, maintains is enough for the majority of everyday journeys and commutes (remember those?).
In all other respects, this is a very mild makeover. The software tuning of the adaptive dampers and 48V active anti-roll system has been tweaked, while the steering mapping has been subtly altered to take into account lessons learned from the 992-generation Porsche 911 and Taycan. Externally, the previously optional and slightly more aggressive Sport Design front end is now standard, the Turbo S E-Hybrid further enhanced by its C-shaped light treatment. At the rear, the LED lights are now joined together by a full-width strip that bissects the bootlid.
Inside, the Panamera is largely unchanged, bar an infotainment system that boasts higher-resolution graphics, improved voice control and the ability to wirelessly connect via Apple CarPlay. The limited changes are good news, because the opulently appointed and beautifully finished Panamera still boasts one of the slickest cabins in the business. Better still, you sit low in the Porsche and the wide range of seat and wheel adjustment makes it easy to get comfortable. Our car was further improved by its slightly smaller-diameter GT steering wheel (£201).