The original Porsche Panamera was an interesting idea of combining proper sports car performance with spacious luxury saloon comfort. Like most original brain children, the 1st attempt was a bit ungainly, but won people over with its multi-talented ways (Unless you count the 1st generation hybrid- that was just feeble). So with a new face lift and a general update, what can we expect from the 2nd generation 2014 Porsche Panamera?
If you own a lovely Porsche 911, chances are you’ll probably only bring it out occasionally. This Panamera has much more of a day to day practical appeal about it, all while retaining luxury refinement and sporty performance. This low, long 5-door 4 seater hatchback has set out to offer something a bit different and unconventional in the powerful luxury saloon segment. This time it’s been dolled up, teched up, it’s faster, smarter and more efficient – especially in petrol/electric hybrid form which delivers supercar performance with super low emissions and frugality. It’s just plainly better than before. Good start Porsche!
The 2014 Porsche Panamera generally looks a bit like a 911 if you imagine it mutating into a 4 door car. This isn’t a bad starting point at all since the 911 is a fine looking motor. You might not immediately see too much of a change to the original low, lean casing of the Porsche Panamera. However, there is some superb detailing and a number of little aesthetic alterations that have improved its appeal such as sleeker headlights and sharper profile lines. Round the back it is lower and wider with a bigger rear screen. There is also a very cool electronic spoiler which opens upwards and outwards from the back. Inside the plush yet driver-centric cabin, it is almost completely as before. Again it is very similar to the flagship 911 in this regard. The low slung sports chairs have almost infinite adjustability, hinting to the level of comfort to expect in this vehicle. You feel comfortably cased in by the tall centre console which extends through into the back, neatly dividing the 2 rear seating areas. Here, they have given it 2 purpose-built sports chairs instead of a back bench (thereby eliminating the possibility of rear passengers being thrown about at high speeds) which are slightly more centralised than the front seats to allow an easy over-shoulder view of the action up front. This rear seating area offers excellent standards with tons of leg and head room (not too dissimilar from that of a Mercedes S-Class). In the boot, you won’t get as much room as some rivals (about 15% less in fact), but the 445ltrs will extend to a very useful 1263ltrs when you drop the rear seats – a function that many competitors can’t boast.
Behind the wheel, there’s not a lot of difference between this 2014 Porsche Panamera and the previous Porsche Panamera. There is evidentially some impressive engineering at work with great steering and limited body roll. In fact if it’s full of specification with the dynamic driving options available, it’s nearly as agile as a 911. It also accelerates with a satisfying roar (almost literally due to Porsche’s sound symposer noise enhancer), throwing you back into the seat in a way that’s pretty impressive for a 2 tonne 4-seater luxury vehicle. Being as sporty as it is, it’s clear that it couldn’t ever match up to the likes of a Bentley on drive comfort, but the engineers at Porsche have certainly given it a damn good go. Tweaks to the suspension mean it can soak up bumpy roads at lower speeds so much better than before. That’s even more so with the clever air suspension setup option, which also keeps the ride level constant despite any varying load distribution. There are plenty of other fantastic technical features such as the manual lift button, which adjusts ride height by up to 20mm to avoid grounding; or the Porsche Active Suspension Management electronic dampening control system (or PASM if you don’t fancy trying to say that after a couple of pints) which adjusts the ride quality through several self-explanatory modes. If you want to get the optimum performance from the Porsche Panamera then you’ll also do well to consider optionals such as the Sports Chromo package, the PDCC system and the Torque Vectoring Plus feature.
This new 2014 Porsche Panamera boasts a couple of totally new petrol engines – the standard entry level Panamera baring a 310bhp 3.6ltr V6 (0-62 in 6.3 secs up to a top speed of 160mph) and the sporty Panamera S with its 420bhp 3ltr twin-turbo V6 petrol unit (0-62 in 5.1 secs up to a top of 178mph). The old 4.8ltr V8 engine range is also back with some tweaking. The 440bhp GTS version (0-62 in 4.4 secs up to 179mph) and if THAT is not enough speed then you’ve got the two turbo models. The 520bhp standard turbo (4.1 secs up to 189mph) and the 570bhp twin turbo (3.8 secs up to a mental 192mph). Pretty damn impressive stuff! But if you’re after a company car or just generally want better economy, the sensible 3ltr V6 Audi-sourced diesel engine will do you well. Again this one’s been tweaked a bit so it feels better and is a bit more suited for hauling the Porsche Panamera about. It’s gone from 250bhp to 300bhp and can do 0-62 in 6.0 seconds up to a zesty top speed of 160mph. Herein lies the problem – the Panamera hasn’t got a high performance diesel option and the frontal engine space is too small to harbour a high performance diesel engine from any other Porsche model. Enter the extremely clever Porsche Panamera SE-Hybrid. It’s clear that the majority of the redevelopment has been focused on updating the somewhat underperforming 1st generation hybrid. The 330bhp 3ltr supercharged V6 petrol engine combined with a new lithium-ion battery gives a combined output of 416bhp which takes it 0-62 in 5.5 seconds and gives it a whopping top speed of 168mph. You wouldn’t believe that performance like that would give you supermini style running costs and exceptional CO2 emissions, but it does. Read our Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid review for a deeper look at this astounding hybrid.
All in all, what have we got here with 2014 Porsche Panamera? The 2014 Porsche Panamera has always been a more dynamic option within the luxury supersaloon segment. It’s very fast yet very comfortable. The redevelopment of this car has ensured that it is now in a class of its own. It’s got great looks, fantastic handling, greater power, better economy, a hyped up hybrid version, great day to day practicality, excellent levels of comfort and refinement… and most of all it is actually very fun to drive. All of that AND it’s a proper Porsche. What more could you want? The 2014 Porsche Panamera is sure to be one to watch amongst the big hitters of this segment.
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