What's the used Porsche Panamera hatchback like?
When Porsche launched the original Panamera in 2010, it promised all the speed and prowess of the brand's sports cars, but in a five-door luxury car package. Was it a success? For the most part, yes. It attracted some criticism for its looks, but sold in pleasing numbers – enough to warrant this second-generation model.
It arrived in 2016, gaining a sharper, more purposeful look that overall seems to have won over critics. You can choose an Executive version, which adds 15cm between the front and rear axles for increased interior space, and a shooting-brake estate car version called the Sport Turismo, which was introduced in 2017.
On the road, the Panamera behaves very well, as you'd expect. With almost all engines, the performance is prodigious. The petrols are all free-revving and full of poke, while the diesel model has a huge chunk of mid-range power that proves really useful on the road.
The Turbo models are capable of keeping up with most supercars, with an outstanding 0-62mph time of 3.5sec. All have top speeds way in excess of those you’d be allowed to use on the road, or even want to use on a track, and power is transmitted to either the rear wheels or all four via a brilliant automatic gearbox.
As you approach a corner, this large beast is almost as impressive. The steering is heavy but direct and responsive, and the grip seems endless. It’s wonderfully rewarding to drive, with excellent body control and balance. There’s even an optional four-wheel steering system to improve agility.
You might think the payback for that is a very firm ride, but you’d be wrong. It’s firm, admittedly, but always well controlled, and never uncomfortable. On the non-standard air suspension it’s at its best, but don’t worry if the car you find has the standard set-up – that’s almost as good.
Inside is a high-quality interior with an excellent driving position, and an electrically operated steering wheel and seat. Visibility to the front is good, but it can be a little restricted to the rear by the car’s sloping rear pillars.
Porsche has moved many of the controls to a touch-sensitive panel, with other functions controlled via a 12.3in touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard. At first glance it looks good, but it can be tricky to use when you're driving.