- Beautifully refined and deceptively agile
- Hybrid technology improves the fuel efficiency and lowers CO2 emissions so has company car appeal
- It’s a Porsche and ticks all the performance boxes
- The price – especially at the higher end of the line-up and with options
- It feels quite wide when powering along narrow country lanes
- It is practical, but some rivals offer larger boot space
The latest Panamera is available in a range of trim levels, engine outputs along with the choice of plug-in E-Hybrid technology for added efficiency.
Porsche has recently given the line-up a mid-life make-over and both the Sport Saloon and more spacious Sport Turismo gain new styling traits, extra equipment and lots of additional technology.
The Panamera Sport Turismo model offers bundles of space so is a practical choice, but it still drives just as you would expect a performance Porsche to.
If you’re lucky enough to be on the lookout for a high-end company car, then the Porsche Panamera suddenly has plenty of appeal thanks to its mild hybrid technology which results in better fuel economy, but more importantly, lower carbon emissions.
On The Road
We opted for the top-of-the-range plug-in Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo over the Sports Saloon and it certainly lived up to all the hype. It is driven by a 4.0-litre, V8 petrol engine delivering combined engine and electric motor power of 700hp and a whopping 850Nm of torque.
And if you wondered what the performance stats were like, they are not for the faint-hearted with a 0-62mph sprint time of just 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 196mph.
The all-wheel drive car has an eight-speed PDK automatic transmission with steering wheel mounted paddles for manual gear switching. And there are drive modes operated via a dial on the steering wheel called E-Power, Hybrid Auto, Sport and Sport Plus that alter the behaviour of the Porsche. Switch across to the Sport modes and it sharpens up the reactions, as well as bringing the full force of the V8 to life with gear changes delivering an edgier performance.
The car has a sense of urgency to perform and it doesn’t disappoint through the country lanes where it is beautifully balanced. The low centre of gravity means the Panamera can be driven enthusiastically through sweeping bends without the slightest sign of body sway or loss of grip.
There is another button on the steering wheel that sits there screaming to be pressed. It’s the Sport Response button and it primes the engine and gearbox for an extra surge of power that lasts for 20 seconds. It’s perfect if you are going to overtake and need that added boost of pace.
This Porsche has a certain edge over competitors as it boasts an all-electric driving range of 31 miles which easily covers the average daily commute, so regular charging keeps the running costs down.
Then there is that 4.0-litre V8 engine that’s ready to help out on the longer journeys. There are also Hybrid settings called Hybrid Auto, E-Hold and E-Charge which are fairly self-explanatory and the regenerative braking works well to top up the battery charge levels on the fly.
The steering feel is beautifully balanced with ample driver feedback and despite feeling quite heavy on the road – weighing in at just under 2.5 tonnes – the car is responsive through the switchback lanes.
The cabin is refined with occupants well protected from engine, road surface and wind noise, unless of course, the enhanced exhaust sound is activated. Then it’s like feeding time in the Serengeti.
The ride can be adjusted by switching from Sport to Sport Plus settings and that really firms things up, but expect to feel the occasional judder thump through the car if you hit a sudden bump or dip along the way.
Otherwise, the adaptive air suspension does a worthy job of smoothing out the creases. Our car was riding on 21-inch alloy wheels which were the perfect match for a sporty, yet comfortable ride.
Porsche’s design team has sharpened up the styling on the five-door Panamera Sport Turismo with a new-look front section, modified tail light strip, new wheels and extra colour choice.
Viewed from any angle it is unmistakably a Porsche though with powerful curves and dynamic streamlining. Our model boasted some optional extras that added to the car’s appeal, including 21-inch Panamera Sport Design wheels, sports exhausts with black tailpipes, black window trims, along with upgraded tinted LED headlights with matrix beam.
There is an ‘e-hybrid’ logo on the front doors and an extra port for plugging in the car.
Moving inside, the changes are not instantly noticeable but the infotainment system has been upgraded with improved graphics and the smartphone connectivity can now be accomplished wirelessly via Apple CarPlay,
Even without too many nips and tucks, the latest Panamera is still one of the classiest interiors around loaded with high-end materials and beautifully crafted designs.
The smooth finish two-tone upholstery - in the finest leather of course - added £536 to the bill and seats in the front and rear are heated at no extra charge.
There is lots of brushed aluminium trim, along with a dark walnut interior package, an Alcantara roof lining that stretches to the A, B and C pillars as well as the sun visors, lots of neat badging with ‘turbo’ logos in the front and outer rear headrests.
Ambient lighting, soft close doors, a panoramic glass sunroof, a heated GT sports steering wheel and four-zone climate control were all optional extras on the test car too.
In The Car
Behind the Wheel
Getting the perfect driving position inside the Panamera Sport Turismo takes a matter of seconds with 18-way powered sports seats with memory package (a £1,053 option or 14-way powered as standard) and plenty of power adjustment to the steering wheel.
Then it’s just a case of sitting back and taking stock of all the technology at your disposal. The main focal point is the 12.3-inch touchscreen with haptic feel offering access to navigation and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity (no Android Auto). There is a digital DAB radio, a pitch perfect Bose surround sound system with 14 speakers, plus a head-up display which means you can keep a constant eye on your speed.
A smart digital readout display behind the steering wheel consists of one main rev counter dial and panels to the left and right that show the likes of sat nav directions, traffic sign recognition with speed warnings and lots more.
All the air con systems are controlled via their own panel which means less driver distraction and the all-round visibility is better than the standard Panamera although still not that great.
Space & Practicality
The Panamera Sport Turismo features Porsche’s standard 4+1 seat concept whereby four adults benefit from sublime comfort levels with a fifth space being available if needed.
A large powered tailgate and low loading edge make transporting heavy or awkwardly shaped items a breeze and the boot can swallow up to 418 litres of kit – a limit that increases to 1,287 litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
There is a glovebox that can be locked, central cubby bin, door pockets, front cup holders with an extra pair in the rear central armrest, seat back pockets and a retractable luggage compartment cover.
All Panamera hybrids have the same 17.9kWh battery, so charging times are the same. The car comes with all manner of charging cables and takes 4.8 hours on a 3.6 kW charge and 2.6 hours via a 7.2kW point.
The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo will need quite large parking bay as it stretches 5,049mm in length and is 1,937mm wide, although the park assist system and reversing camera does help considerably.
The latest Panamera line-up costs from £70,750, but our range-topping test car in Sport Turismo guise and powered by the Turbo S E-Hybrid unit cost £142,280.
However, like most premium carmakers, there are numerous ways to add personalised touches and upgrades to the vehicle. As a result of the likes of a panoramic glass roof (£1,581), a sports exhaust system (£2,537), adaptive cruise control (£1,455) and soft-close doors (£545) the final bill climbed to £159,742. Even relatively minor add-ons such as a USB interface in the rear costs £125 or a leather key with key pouch £353. So, it would be fair to say there is nothing cheap about this car at all.
The plug-in E-Hybrid technology does result in quite an improvement in the running costs though with combined fuel efficiency of 97.4mpg (under WLTP testing) and carbon emissions from 65g/km.
This carbon emissions figure would result in a first year Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) charge of just £25 which would increase to the standard rate of £155 after 12 months. But, there is more bad news as owners of vehicles with a list price above £40,000 pay an additional £325 for the first five years.
For company car drivers, the Benefit in Kind rating, which is also known as company car tax, would be 18 per cent.
The insurance group rating for the test car is 50.
Quality & Reliability
Porsche has an excellent reputation for designing technically advanced cars that are both dynamic to drive and reliable to own.
Crafted using the finest materials and upholstery, the Panamera looks and feels like it has been developed with longevity in mind. And all the switchgear also feels nice and solid.
It comes with Porsche’s three-year, unlimited mileage warranty for added peace of mind.
Safety & Security
The only Porsche models that have been tested for a Euro NCAP safety rating are the Macan, Cayenne and Taycan, but the Panamera boasts a wealth of kit to protect occupants and other road users, including plenty of advanced driver assistance systems.
Safety systems include Porsche Side Impact protection which comprises side impact protection to the doors along with thorax airbags integrated into the side bolster of each front seat. There is an active bonnet system and Isofix mounting systems for the rear outer seats - a front seat Isofix fixture costs an extra £134.
There is a traction management system with active all-wheel drive to keep you firmly planted on the road as well as automatic brake differential and anti-slip regulation.
Other systems include vehicle stability control, integrated chassis control, anti-lock brakes, lane keeping assist, park assist with reversing camera and our car featured adaptive cruise control as an optional extra costing £1,455
The Porsche Ceramic Composite Brake set-up comes as standard on this model to offer improved braking performance with shorter stopping distances even in poorer road conditions.
Remote central locking, an engine immobiliser and alarm system with radar-based interior surveillance offer added peace of mind.
If it’s a big luxury estate-like car you’re looking for with bags of power and handling on tap, then the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid in Sport Turismo guise could be the solution. It’s not cheap, but few quality things in life ever are.