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New Porsche Panamera vs Tesla Model S

Porsche and Tesla both offer luxury hatchbacks that combine scorching performance with surprisingly sensible running costs. But which car is better?

Words ByWhat Car? team

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Porsche Panamera dashboard

What are they like inside?

The first thing you notice in the Model S is its enormous 17.0in touchscreen, which controls almost everything. It seems bewildering at first, but you soon get used to it. Our only complaint is that some of the icons are small and tricky to hit on the move.

By comparison, the Panamera has a 12.0in touchscreen, but bigger icons and more logical menus make it even easier to navigate, as do the shortcut touchpads beneath the display. We also like the fact that the air conditioning has separate, physical controls; adjusting the temperature in the Model S requires you to jab away at the screen.

In terms of interior finish, the Model S feels plush enough, thanks in part to the Premium Pack (Β£3500) fitted to our test car. There are, however, unusually wide gaps between interior panels in places. Everything in the Panamera feels superbly well assembled and the materials are of even higher quality.

The Panamera feels cosier up front, due to a high centre console that runs between the front seats. Even so, it actually has more head room (front and rear) and a driver’s seat that slides farther back, although the Model S has slightly more rear leg room. The Model S can also carry three in the back; the Panamera has seats for only two.

Both have a practical hatchback bootlid, and the Panamera’s is electrically operated as standard. Neither has a particularly low load lip, but the Panamera’s is 11cm higher, making it trickier to lift heavy things inside. The Model S’s boot has room for an extra couple of suitcases and there’s a second storage space under its bonnet.

Annoyingly, though, when you fold down the rear seats in the Model S, there’s a big step in the floor of the extended load bay, whereas the Panamera gives you a flat floor. If you fork out an extra Β£4000, Tesla will install another pair of seats into the boot, although these are seriously cramped for anyone but small children.

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