If you were to hop in a time machine, travel back to the nineties, walk into a Porsche enthusiasts meeting and tell them that, back where you are from, their cherished German manufacturer makes more than half of its profits by building sedans and SUVs, you'd probably be laughed out of the building. The very idea that one of the most storied sports car makers could one day sell big off-roaders and four-door commuter vehicles was simply scandalous. Some said this would tarnish Porsche's history, others would complain that those products would be inferior. After all, the automaker had no experience producing regular vehicles.
And yet, both the Cayenne and the Panamera (as well as the new Macan, launched in 2015) have marked huge successes. Both have changed the public's perception about Porsche and brought legions of customers who would previously never thought about buying a 911.
While the original Panamera was still selling pretty well, it came out almost eight years ago. This is why the Stuttgart automaker announced that a second generation would be launched for the 2017 model-year.
Let's compare the old car with the newcomer and see what has changed and what remained similar.
First of all, there are now two body styles to choose from. The four-door fastback has made a comeback, and there is now a full-blown wagon added to the roster...and in a move that surprised pretty much everyone, Porsche actually decided to bring it to North America.
Called the Sport Turismo, this new variant features some firsts for the Panamera: for example, it can seat five people thanks to a 4+1 configuration. It also boasts an impressive 1,390 litres of interior space. The only drivetrain available is Porsche's advanced PTM, an active all-wheel drive system with electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, while on the fastback, rear-wheel drive still comes standard.
There is a wide selection of engines available. Like in the previous Panamera, the base model gets a V6 and a PDK automatic transmission. Developing 330 horsepower, this powerplant can get the Panamera to 100 km/h in under six seconds. And it gets better: the Turbo version returns, this time using a 4-litre, 550-horsepower twin-turbo V8. With all this power, this model gets to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. The Hybrid model meanwhile has been replaced by the e-hybrid; while the technology is similar, it’s important to note that the car can now be plugged in to recharge its batteries. While the combined fuel economy hasn't been announced yet, we know that the e-Hybrid Panamera makes 680 combined horsepower and will reach 100 km/h from a standstill in 3.4 seconds.
The 2017 Panamera kept some of the exterior lines of its forebearer, but changed every single body panel. The result is a car that looks completely different while being instantly recognizable. The wheelbase has been extended by three cm, while the front and rear overhangs have been shortened. At the back, Porsche's new signature taillights have been integrated into the upper part of the bumper, creating a family tie to the 911. Nineteen-inch wheels come standard, but you can get up to 21-inch units if you so desire.
Inside, anyone who ever sat in the previous iteration of the Panamera will instantly feel at home. The high-quality leather surfaces are back, just like the large center console and the high dashboard. And yet, everything feels slightly different. A 12-inch screen has been integrated into the dashboard, which is used to display a customizable interface.
The original Panamera took a lot of risks when it arrived. Today, the second generation has to face not only the scrutiny of purists, but also the curious gaze of potential customers. Porsche has done a tremendous job in upgrading the 2017 Panamera. It’s now ready to take place among the brand's historic lineup.
Date Posted: April 26, 2017