What is it?
We’re quite familiar with the Panamera. We know it has its strengths in its performance and handling, and weaknesses in its comfort and interior practicality. But if there is any model likely to hit a sweet spot amidst all the compromises, it will be this naturally-aspirated V8 4S model, complete with 395bhp being sent to all four corners via Porsche’s double-clutch PDK ‘box.
Our car also came with the £750 Sports Chrono plus pack, which (in conjunction with the various standard electronic safety systems) brings with it launch control and more focussed settings for the gearbox, steering, traction control and throttle response.
What’s it like?
Very good - the best in the range, in fact. It’s the powertrain that really makes the difference here. Yes, it’s less brutal than the Turbo but for a car that has its roots in the luxury car market the wonderfully linear, accessible delivery from this 4.8-litre V8 is spot on, and regardless of where your performance benchmark sits, 4.8-seconds to 62mph in a 1.9-tonne car is hardly tardy.
Stop-start is standard on this model, and was one of our biggest gripes in the Turbo because it lacked much cohesion in conjunction with the PDK ‘box at typical town speeds. In the V8 this problem seems to have been ironed out to the point where it is a rare occurrence to be left hanging at a junction for an awkward moment whilst you wait for the engine to kick in following a prod of the throttle. Generally, even in creeping traffic, the stop-start system is something you can forget about and it just does its business. And after all, you can turn it off should you want to.