Porsche Panamera review

Category: Luxury car

Luxury car from Porsche is comfortable and superb to drive

Red Porsche Panamera GTS front cornering
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS front cornering
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear cornering
  • Porsche Panamera interior dashboard
  • Porsche Panamera interior front seats
  • Porsche Panamera GTS interior driver display
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS track driving
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS front driving
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear left driving
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS front left static
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS right static
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS alloy wheel detail
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear detail
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS kickplate detail
  • Porsche Panamera interior infotainment
  • Porsche Panamera interior detail
  • Porsche Panamera interior detail
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS front cornering
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear cornering
  • Porsche Panamera interior dashboard
  • Porsche Panamera interior front seats
  • Porsche Panamera GTS interior driver display
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS track driving
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS front driving
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear left driving
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS front left static
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS right static
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS alloy wheel detail
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear detail
  • Red Porsche Panamera GTS kickplate detail
  • Porsche Panamera interior infotainment
  • Porsche Panamera interior detail
  • Porsche Panamera interior detail
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Why should you compromise in life? If you have the funds to treat yourself to a luxury car but need four seats, you can have sports car performance too. For proof of that, take a look at the Porsche Panamera.

You see, underneath the Panamera’s sharp four-door exterior is a rather athletic frame, with a choice of V6 or V8 petrol engines and rear or four-wheel drive. Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models are also available, in case you want to reduce your fuel consumption, go very quickly – or both. 

There’s no such thing as a sluggish Porsche of course, and even the slowest version of the Panamera does 0-62mph in the mid-five second range. The quickest is, well, very quick indeed. It's not just about straight-line pace, though. This is also one of the most agile luxury cars around.

The driving experience car be improved further with a range of options, including adaptive air suspension with active anti-roll bars, four-wheel steering and carbon-ceramic brakes. That doesn't come cheap, though. Spending a five-figure sum on options for the Panamera is very easily done – even before you’ve considered special paint finishes, bigger wheels or a more luxurious interior.

There’s a wide range of cars you could consider rivals. At the bottom end are four and five-door coupes, such as the Audi A7 Sportback and the Mercedes CLS. The long-wheelbase Panamera Executive models could be seen as sporty alternatives to the Audi A8 or the Mercedes S-Class. And the Turbo S and Turbo S E-Hybrid have the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé firmly in their sights.

Wondering whether the Porsche Panamera could be the best luxury car for your? Well, we've road-tested it, and in this review we'll tell you what the performance is like, how pleasant the tech-laden interior is, how much it will cost to buy and run, and much more.

Overview

The Porsche Panamera is well worth considering if you’re after a sharper-driving alternative to big luxury saloons and plug-in hybrids. It's very agile for such a big car, particularly if you opt for one of the V6-engined models. The V8 versions are extremely fast.

  • Stupendous pace
  • Classy interior
  • Relatively low CO2 emissions from E-Hybrid
  • Expensive to buy
  • Touch-sensitive controls hard to navigate
  • Heavy V8 versions could be more fun
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Target Price from £81,205
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

The Porsche Panamera’s engine line-up consists of a pair of V6s and a pair of V8s. They are all petrol-powered, and some have plug-in hybrid electrical assistance. We’ll start with the non-PHEVs.

The cheapest is the 2.9-litre V6 in the Panamera and the Panamera 4. With 325bhp, these models are officially good for a 0-62mph dash of 5.6 and 5.3sec respectively. Next up is the 4S, with 444bhp and a 0-62mph of 4.1sec.

Then there’s the pricier 473bhp V8-engined GTS, for 0-62mph in 3.9sec, and the even more potent V8 Turbo S. The Turbo S's 621bhp and 3.1sec 0-62mph time make it more than capable of embarrassing some supercars.

Porsche Panamera image
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You can have PHEV tech on most Panamera engines. That adds an electric motor to produce more combined power and, naturally, stronger performance, but doesn't significantly affect how progressive and smooth the brakes are (as it does on some electrified cars).

The entry-level 4 E-Hybrid – which is our favourite of all the Panamera engines – produces a hefty 455bhp, which is enough for a 0-62mph sprint to 4.4sec. Its official electric-only range is 33 miles, but you'll have to be very restrained with the accelerator to get close to that.

In Electric mode, it easily keeps up with the flow of traffic, and you have to prod the accelerator hard to wake up the engine. Hybrid mode uses the engine more, but both settings keep you waiting a moment or two for the engine to chime in. A Sport Response button on the steering wheel puts everything on full alert so the car leaps forward the moment you put your foot down. 

The E-Hybrid system’s effect on the top-of-the-range V8 Turbo S engine is less significant. Even though it has 69bhp more than the non-PHEV equivalent, it only shaves 0.1sec off the 0-62mpg time (to 3.2sec).

An eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox is standard on all models, with no manual option available. It's smooth under normal use yet is capable of rapid shifts and instant response when in its sportier driving modes. It can be jerky when making slow manoeuvres, though.

All models but the entry-level Panamera come with four-wheel drive as standard, and so far we’ve driven versions with that plus four-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars. With that set-up, it turns in with an urgency that belies its size, cornering with virtually no body lean.

If you’re really driving the wheels off it, you’ll notice that the extra weight of the Turbo S’s big V8 makes it a little less keen to dive into a bend than the V6-powered cars, but those clever systems help to conceal the extra mass of the E-Hybrid models’ battery packs.

All versions are exceedingly capable on a twisty road. You might find the even sharper Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé more entertaining, but that car can't match the Panamera for ride comfort.

On versions with air suspension rather than adaptive suspension, the ride is firm but very well controlled across heavily undulating roads. It’s also calmer at motorway speeds, although it can thump clumsily over really nasty ruts and ridges in town. Wind noise is well contained, but the Panamera’s giant tyres generate road roar on coarse surfaces (not as much as the AMG GT, though).

Red Porsche Panamera GTS rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The driver’s seating position in the Porsche Panamera is fabulous. The pedals and steering wheel line up well and the low-slung seat gives it an authentic sports car feel. Once you’ve set the electrically adjustable steering wheel and seat to your liking, it’s a wonderfully comfortable place to be.

That said, we’ve only tried the 14-way adjustable sports seats. On models without these, you’ll need to add them at extra cost if you want adjustable lumbar support. Visibility out of the rear isn’t great, due to the sloping roofline and large rear pillars, but front and rear parking sensors are standard to help judge the car’s extremities. Powerful LED headlights are standard, for confident night driving.

Instead of providing physical buttons, Porsche has placed many of the Panamera’s controls in a touch-sensitive panel on the central console. This looks good at first glance but proves problematic to use while driving: you have to look down often to see which function you’re prodding.

We also don’t like that you have to use the infotainment system if you want to alter the airflow out of the front and rear air vents. It makes something that should be a simple, immediate task unnecessarily distracting. 

The infotainment system itself is more impressive. Its 12.3in touchscreen is mounted high enough up on the dashboard that you can see it easily and most icons are large enough to find at a glance. Only when you dive deeper into the menus will you find smaller icons that are trickier to find while on the move.

The screen is a high resolution, and never lags like the system in the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé is prone to doing. Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring is standard, but you can’t have Android Auto.

To help deliver even more information to the driver, a pair of configurable 7.0in digital screens flank the traditional analogue rev counter that sits directly in front of you. They’re effective, showing sat-nav and driving information, for example, but the outer edges of the display get lost behind the thick-rimmed steering wheel.

Quality is very impressive. Everything feels beautifully put together and, depending on how much you want to spend, it’s possible to get virtually every surface covered in leather, Alcantara or a veneer of some sort.

Porsche Panamera interior dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front-seat occupants won’t have any complaints regarding space in the Porsche Panamera. Head and leg room are both more than adequate for anyone six feet tall or higher.

Storage space is good, too. You get a decent central cubby and a few other nooks and crannies dotted around for your odds and ends. The door bins can swallow a fair amount of clutter or a drinks bottle. People in the back get a central armrest, storage between the seats and reasonable-sized door bins.

Is there enough space for the rear seat passengers, though? Yes, a surprising amount, as it happens. While there are only two rear seats, the head and leg room they offer is better than in the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door Coupé.

Indeed, a couple of six-foot-plus adults can sit contentedly behind tall adults in the front. There’s a longer-wheelbase Executive model available in case you have very long legs. Electrically adjustable rear seats are an option, but the rear seats are really supportive and comfortable even without these.

The 500-litre boot is big enough to swallow four carry-on suitcases. That’s nowhere near the seven you can fit in the AMG GT, but the Panamera’s wide-opening powered tailgate lets you get bulky items in with ease. The battery location of the plug-in hybrid (E-Hybrid) models raises the boot floor and reduces capacity to 405 litres (just a bit more than in the VW Golf).

Porsche Panamera interior front seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

No Panamera is cheap to buy, and Porsche dealers don’t do discounts. The 4S E-Hybrid plug-in hybrid (PHEV) should at least be good news for company car drivers thanks to the BIK tax advantage of CO2 emissions as low as 45g/km.

The 4S E-Hybrid's official economy figure is an impressive 112mpg, although you'll have to do a lot of electric-only driving and charge up regularly to get anywhere close to that. A long motorway journey with a flat main battery will reduce that to around 35mpg in the real world. 

All Panameras come with a reasonable amount of standard equipment, but nothing out of the ordinary at this price level. Yes, you get alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, leather seats, cruise control and heated front seats, but you’ll need to pay for extras such as privacy glass, a really good stereo and keyless entry. The 4S E-Hybrid, GTS and Turbo models add a sprinkling of extra luxuries, but a five-figure options spend is still easily possible on top.

Porsche finished in 20th place out of 32 car makers in our 2023 What Car Reliability Survey. Unlike some brands, Porsche’s warranty isn’t limited by mileage, but it does end after three years unless you extend it at extra cost.

Euro NCAP has not tested the Panamera for safety. It comes with stability control, ABS and the usual selection of airbags, but if you want automatic emergency braking (AEB) you have to add it as an option, as part of a package that also includes adaptive cruise control. We consider AEB a crucial safety feature, and even some small cars get it as standard.

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Porsche Panamera GTS interior driver display

FAQs

  • Yes, there are three plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Panamera options: the 4 and 4S E-Hybrid, and the Turbo S E-Hybrid. If you want an electric car have a look at the Porsche Taycan.

  • We’d say the non-hybrid 4S is the best Panamera. Its 2.9-litre engine is potent enough (434bhp) and the car is well equipped.

  • No Panamera is slow because even the ‘basic’ 325bhp car can hit 62mph in 5.6sec. The top-of-the-range Turbo S E-Hybrid has more than double that power, with 690bhp, dropping its acceleration time to a mere 3.2sec. The official top speed of that version is not far short of 200mph.

  • It depends which engine you choose. Non-hybrid Porsche Panameras have a 467-litre boot, which sounds good, but because of its shape, we could fit in only four carry-on suitcases. Hybrid versions have less boot volume (403 litres) because of the battery pack under the floor.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £81,205
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £79,450
RRP price range £81,205 - £142,174
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol, petrol parallel phev
MPG range across all versions 235.4 - 29.4
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £5,883 / £6,158
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £11,766 / £12,316
Available colours