I am returning to my homeland Bavaria to enjoy Porsche’s newest family sedan on steroids.
Due to technical problems my SAA flight from Johannesburg to Munich was delayed by 14 hours. So instead of arriving in Bavaria in the morning, I touched down at about 8pm. Exhausted and tired. Expecting to be picked up by a shuttle and chauffeured to the event hotel, about an hour’s drive away, at the beautiful Tegernsee in the mountains. To my surprise, the nice guy with the Porsche sign hands me a key. “Surprise Mr. Losskarn, as you missed out on the afternoon loop you can now drive the 4S to the hotel’. And it’s parked in the airport. Literally. I navigate my way around suitcase pushing commuters and tourists, admiring the sleek and sexy car I am in with awe.
Yes, the hunchback of Zuffenhausen has left the building. It is no more. The second-generation Panamera has only the badge in common with its predecessor. The whale back is gone. It didn’t hurt the sales though. Porsche was laughed upon, when they crossed a sports car with a limousine and introduced the first generation of the Panamera in 2009. After more than 150 000 cars sold, the laughter stopped.
Like the initial Cayenne, the first Panamera wasn’t such a pretty sight. I liked it anyway, because it was so different. The new one, I am sitting in right now is gorgeous. The more pleasing design will definitely attract additional buyers. With a 911esque derrier, it also fits much better into the current Porsche family. And while the familiar engines are evolutionary, the true revolution happens inside.
Now I am happy, that it is already quite dark outside. As I can enjoy this landscape of high-definition displays, touch screens and touch-active consoles even more. There is a 12 inch monitor and two 7 inch displays with brilliant graphics. I zoom in, wipe, scroll and jump through the menus better than on any tablet. But that’s not all, the entire centre console is a sensitive playground.
Porsche’s brand-new ‘Advanced Cockpit’ throws the competition back into the automobile stone age. Enough fumbling around in this fascinating interieur. Let’s hit the road. Autobahn to be exact. My fatigue vanishes with each km/h. The night vision system illuminates the tarmac in front like the Yas Marina Grand Prix F1 track during a night race. At 180 km/h I feel relaxed and comfortable, until a family member, an Audi S8, flashes its lights behind me. No problem, even better, a pace car. Just what I needed. I briefly move to the right, let him past and then stick to his tail. At around 220 km/h, the friendly navigation lady tells me in no time to leave the bahn.
The LED matrix headlights individually adapt to the narrow country road that follows. And with 84 lightpoints they even outshine the new Audi A8. Enabling me to reach the hotel safely and in time for a nice Bavarian dinner and some local brews.
After sleeping like a rock and a substantial sausage breakfast, I am ready for the beast. The new Panamera Turbo. It accelerates like the last generation 911 GT3. In a mere 3.6 seconds from 0 to 100km/h. Resulting in a Nurburgring time of 7:38. Impressive for a sporty limousine.
On those narrow twisty Bavarian mountain roads and in Sport+ mode, I tend to forget that I have another row of seats and two doors behind me. This is pure sports car feel. And the sound does not disappoint either. It roars, farts and backfires wonderfully. The rear spoiler unfolds in a transformer-movie-like deployment.
Time flies, when you are having fun. Back to Munich on the autobahn. Will the traffic allow it? Let’s see. By the way, I have a new favorite Porsche button. It used to be the sport exhaust one in the middle console, now it is the overboost button in the turn switch for the driving modes in the steering wheel. I already experienced it in the new 911 Turbo and the 718 Boxster S. On the autobahn it feels like a nitro injection, when I push it. 20 seconds of additional fast and furious.
Ok, this looks like quite a long empty stretch. 230km/h, 240, 245, 250 overboost, 260 and traffic. Unbelievable, that there were still 46 km/h left, before reaching top speed. The ceramic brakes are doing their job in a spectacular manner. I love the autobahn. Amazing that something providing so much fun is still legal.
And what is next in the ballistic family car sector? Expect to see a sexy station wagon in 2019, the upcoming Panamera shooting brake.
Porsche Panamera 4s/Turbo
Engine 3.0-l./4.0-l. V6/V8 bi-turbo, paired with the 8-speed auto PDK (Porsche dual-clutch transmission)
Power 324/404kW and 550/770Nm
Top Speed 289/306 km/h
0-100km/h 4.2/3.6 seconds
Price to be announced