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.
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).