Porsche Panamera Diesel review
* Diesel version of Porsches hatchback * 248bhp V6 engine * On sale now, at 62,134...
What is it? A diesel version of Porsches 'gran turismo'. As luxurious as any other Panamera, but aimed at those with one eye on running costs.
Whats it like to drive?
The Panamera Diesel uses a version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine thats also in various Audi models. Changes to the intake and exhaust systems have freed up a fraction more power, but a 248bhp output makes it the least powerful Panamera; 48bhp short of the V6 petrol. The diesel V6 is 120kg heavier than its petrol counterpart, too, but it has an extra 111lb ft of torque.
An eight-speed automatic gearbox is standard, as is rear-wheel drive. Packaging issues mean that four-wheel drive is not an option for the diesel.
Porsche admits that efficiency not outright speed is key to the Panamera Diesels appeal. Just as well, because its the slowest version, albeit by only half a second from 0-62mph compared with the V6 petrol. By most other standards, its swift, and the wealth of torque at low revs makes it usefully flexible.
Extra soundproofing is designed to make the diesel as quiet as a petrol Panamera. It works, up to a point. Overall refinement is excellent and any engine noise is at a very low level. Nonetheless, theres a muted rumble that never lets you quite forget its a diesel.
Porsche Panamera Diesel gallery
Ultimately, what strikes you most about driving any Panamera diesel or otherwise is its size. Its a long, wide car and feels it. Once you get used to its bulk, you realise that the Panamera is impressively agile for such a big car. Its not as much fun as Porsches other models including the Cayenne but the Panamera handles brilliantly. Our car came with the optional air suspension system, which allows you to select varying degrees of comfort or sportiness. It works well, although the default setting strikes such a good balance between suppleness and control that you dont often need to choose anything else.
Whats it like inside? If the Panameras exterior doesnt wow you, we defy anyone not to be impressed by its interior. Its a stunning cabin, with top-notch materials and impeccable build quality. Its beautifully styled, too, although it does take a while to get used to the mass of buttons on the sweeping centre console.
Four people can sit in the lap of luxury, with comfortable seats and masses of legroom, whether youre in the front or back. Access and headroom arent quite a match for the biggest luxury saloons, but the Panameras rear seats have proper limousine credentials. The boot is large, if a little shallow.
Should I buy one? At 62,134, the Panamera Diesel costs the same as a V6 petrol model with optional PDK semi-auto gearbox. CO2 emissions of 172g/km rather than 218g/km mean that higher-rate taxpayers will pay 1442 less company car tax per year, while average fuel economy is 13.2mpg better at 43.5mpg. Thats a convincing argument when both cars have the same lavish level of kit. Leather upholstery, sat-nav, xenon headlights and electric seat controls come as standard.
In a luxury car market where around 90% of cars are sold with diesel engines, the new model makes the Panamera a more viable alternative to traditional saloons such as the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Its no surprise, then, that Porsche expects it will become the biggest seller in the range, accounting for over 50% of Panamera sales.
The Panamera Diesel is further evidence that Porsche has redefined what it stands for. If you can ignore the nagging thought that a Porsche should be more sporty than this, its probably the most appealing Panamera yet.
What Car? says