Unveiled for the first time worldwide at a special event in Berlin, the new Panamera features a much more classic silhouette than the first generation. The front overhang is shorter, the sides are more sculpted, the wheelbase is extended and the 20-millimetre sloping roofline all create a more direct link between the new Panamera and the legendary Porsche 911 Carrera.
With a more classic profile, the second-gen Panamera features a narrow strip of LEDs linking the taillights, a characteristic once found exclusively on the all-wheel-drive versions of the 911 Carrera. The “four-door coupe” developed on the MSB platform created by Porsche also seems more compact. This is merely an illusion, as it’s actually 3.4 centimetres longer and slightly wider. Its look is much more polished than the old version.
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New techno look
Advanced technology is front and centre in this Panamera, not only with regard to the infotainment system, but also for the instrumentation. It has been replaced by two seven-inch screens that relay information previously displayed on two conventional gauges. These two screens flank the rev counter, which still occupies its traditional location directly in front of the driver. A 12.3-inch multimedia colour touchscreen is now situated in the centre of the dashboard while other touch commands are spread out around the shift lever.
The steering wheel also includes the same Sport Response rotary switch, helping the driver quickly select a drive mode. This technology was introduced on the 918 Spyder and is used on the latest 911 Carreras. This new look, simultaneously simple and modern, is in keeping with current trends while retaining the charm Porsche is known for. All advanced safety systems are present and accounted for, and you can equip the car with an infrared camera to improve night vision. Note that the new Panamera can even be driven semi-autonomously, as long as your speed remains below 60 kilometres per hour.
See you in January 2017
The first 2017 Panameras available in Canada will arrive in January. The first to come will be the 4S ($114,300) and the Turbo ($167,700), and both with new turbocharged engines. A 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 developing 550 horsepower will equip the Turbo, while the 4S will get the 440-horsepower, 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 borrowed from Audi. All-wheel drive comes factory standard on both, as does the PDK dual-clutch gearbox that now has eight speeds. In addition to delivering more power and torque, these engines are also more efficient. The twin-turbo V8 even features technology that lets you deactivate four of the eight cylinders at cruising speed on the highway.
The fast and the distinguished
Porsche says that the Panamera Turbo recorded a time of 7 minutes 38 seconds on the most demanding circuit there is, the infamous Nordschleife in Germany, equalling the time of the previous generation 911 GT3. Just like the 918 Spyder and 911 Turbo, the new Panamera can be equipped with rear-wheel steer to make it more agile, an adaptive air suspension, an active roll stabilization system and new electromechanical steering.
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Two diesel engines are also available for certain markets: there’s a 3.0-litre V6 that produces 320 horsepower as well as the fabulous 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 with its 435 horsepower unveiled on the Audi SQ7 TDI. Porsche doesn’t foresee marketing these diesel versions in Canada—at least not right now. However, it’s a safe bet that the hybrid version, comprised of a gas V6 engine and an electric motor, will very likely follow in the middle of 2017, with a combined output of 440 horsepower.
Launched in 2009, the Porsche Panamera has sold upwards of 150 000 units globally and, with the second-generation version, Porsche is reinventing its four-seat sports car by giving it new technology, new engines and a new look. The only thing left to do is drive it to assess its dynamics and performance.
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