You certainly know when torque reaches the front axle with the steering against the lockstops. Pulling out of a turning briskly, the steering starts to unwind itself hard as soon as the torque hits. It’s not something you’re likely to experience much, but it is off-putting. If you’re hoping this means you’ll be feeling subtle messages through the rim, forget it. While there is enough information to confidently know what the nose is up to and good weighting, more subtle messages are filtered out.
Even so, the way the Panamera can completely obliterate a road is nothing sort of sensational. The optional air suspension may give a soothing ride in comfort mode, but it gets more agile and progressively better at resisting roll as you switch up to Sport and then Sport Plus modes.
Unlike many similar systems, the Panamera never becomes bouncy or uncomfortable, even over a particularly scabby stretch of B-road. Even potholes and expansion joints fail to make the suspension crash, thump or feel out of its depth. Naturally, an S-Class or 7 Series is even more cosseting regardless of mode, but then neither can get around a corner anywhere near as competently.
Moving inside, there’s been something of a revolution. Although you still get the traditional analogue rev counter in the centre of the instrument cluster, a pair of configurable 7.0in screens now flanks it. There are elements of Audi’s Virtual Cockpit, although, to be honest, it can’t quite match that system’s adaptability and ease of use.
In the centre of the dash is a large 12.3in touchscreen to control the PCM infotainment system. It looks good, but can lag slightly when you zoom in or twist a Google Map view of your surroundings and some of the icons are a touch small. We also found that the steering wheel obstructed the left-hand side of the display if you’re particularly short.
This touchscreen now controls a lot more, removing many of the buttons from the gearstick area. There’s also a touch-sensitive black panel that controls items such as the suspension, heated seats and screen demisters.
It certainly looks much cleaner and more futuristic, but it can be tricky to find the function you need without diverting your attention from the road. As for practicality, you can now easily squeeze four six-foot adults inside along with their suitcases.