The Panamera is unmistakable Porsche, with breathtaking acceleration and brilliant cornering, the latter thanks in part to the optimised chassis systems in this update.
Much of that ‘optimisation’ comes via software updates, with improved damping control in Porsche Active Suspension Management system and PDCC Sport roll stabilisation learned from the development of the all-electric Taycan. As a result, it feels delightfully grounded, gripping through corners and barely disturbing the driver’s relaxed poise. The four-wheel steering – again inherited from the 911 and Taycan – is both fast and accurate, turning the two-tonne Turbo with ease.
In normal mode, the Panamera feels wonderfully comfortable and refined. Turn the steering wheel-mounted mode button to the right and feel the suspension firm up as you climb through the echelons of performance. It’s downright feisty in Sport Plus, surpassed only by the ‘Sports Response’ button, which optimises everything (throttle response, aero, engine) and drops to the lowest available gear and to give the car a ‘boost’ – perfect for overtakes.
The 4.0-litre V8 twin-turbo powertrain was biggest evolution from the first to second generations, and with this update it has received a host of internal upgrades, including an improved crankshaft, con rods, pistons, timing chain drive and torsional dampers, plus new fuel injectors and optimised turbochargers with a new turbine layout.
Porsche claim ‘Best in class performance’, with the model reportedly setting the executive car lap record at the Nürburgring, lapping the Green Hell in 7 minutes 29.81 seconds – only a little over two minutes off the all-time record. And who am I to argue, with the blistering acceleration forcing me back into the bolstered, upholstered bucket-esque seat as it rockets from 0-60mph in just 2.9-seconds. Power is immediate and unlimited, with just microseconds between the turbo spooling and the car taking off. Automatic gear changes through the eight-speed PDK ‘box are slick, while the flappy paddles offer plenty of driver engagement. When it comes to stopping, the 10mm wider brakes do the job marvellously.
There’s now the option of Michelin Sport Cup tyres from the factory, and while our test car wore the more road-focussed Pilot Sports on its 325 rears, they were still sonorous to say the least, drowning out the (optional) sports exhaust.