Holy moly. And if you think that’s for the performance, which, by the way is epic, you’re wrong. No, it’s for the way this thing rolls – literally.
Trundling along stunningly picturesque roads of the Cairngorms, the Panamera deals with the twists and ups and downs leagues better than its 1995kg should allow. Quite frankly, it is magnificent
In the suspension’s Normal mode, the body control is good, but as the road surface becomes more puckered and humpbacked, the dampers struggle to contain the car’s mass. So you select Sport Plus, and far from making the Panamera too stiff, the body’s excesses are curbed. The control is now stunning, even when all four wheels momentarily leave the ground, returning to earth again without bang or drama as the air springs and dampers dissipate the energy. And through all that, still it keeps the suppleness to absorb mid-bend ruts and ridges without flinching
Then there’s the front end. With the new optional four-wheel steering fitted - which at speeds above 31mph, stabilises the rear by turning the back wheels a few degrees in the same direction as the fronts – Porsche’s been able to quicken the steering. And faster steering, plus a more stable rear end, means it turns in and changes direction with the alacrity of a sniffer dog's snout, hot on the scent of contraband.
There are a couple of niggles. Just off the straight-ahead, the steering’s self-centring is a little strong for our taste, but push through this and it weights up beautifully. And rejoice: there is some sense of the road surface making its way up through the steering column.
The centimetre or so of dead travel in the brake pedal grates, but from then on the brakes are mighty and confidence inspiring.
While all this is going on, the PDK dual-clutch automatic gearbox’s changes are smooth and quick. But on the way in to corners, curses were muttered in our test car as it refused to change down until the revs had dropped unnecessarily low.
Oh, and the performance. Sorry, nearly forgot about that. Pick-up is pretty good considering the turbos are boosting at 0.3 bar, and after an inevitable short delay, the torque thunders in at 2000rpm. After that, the power keeps your back pressed hard into the excellent sports seats until it’s time to change up.
It’s not overwhelming, though. Even on streamingly wet roads, you can turn off the traction control and enjoy some slip at the rear, before the new Porsche 4D Chassis Control shoves 50% of the torque to the front, preventing you becoming part ofthe scenery. One could argue that it’s a mite conservative and could let you play for a little longer.