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First look: Porsche’s oil-burning Panamera

Pioneer: The Panamera diesel is the first ever oil-burning Porsche passenger car.

Inaugural diesel passenger car from Porsche joins Panamera line-up

3 May 2011

LAST week Porsche revealed its biggest-engined 911 ever, the GT3 RS 4.0 this week the Stuttgart sportscar maker presents its first diesel-powered passenger car, the Panamera Diesel.

Now on sale at $194,900 plus on-road costs, representing a $1900 premium over the entry-level V6 petrol-powered Panamera, the oil-burning four-door sets a new Porsche fuel consumption benchmark of just 6.5L/100km.

As such, when first deliveries commence here in September, the Panamera Diesel will also be the first Porsche to undercut the 7.0L/100km luxury car tax threshold, below which the first $75,000 is exempt from the 33 per cent LCT slug, resulting in a $5300 tax saving.

The sub-$200K pricetag makes the Panamera Diesel less expensive than most of its direct large luxury saloon rivals - including Jaguar’s XJ 3.0D ($198,800), BMW’s 730d ($202,200), the Mercedes-Benz S350 BlueTec ($213,428) and the Lexus LS600hL hybrid ($243,814) – but not Audi’s A8 3.0 TDI quattro ($188,000).

Fitted with optional low rolling resistance tyres in Europe, the oil-burning Panamera is even more efficient at 6.3L/100km, which equates to CO2 emissions of 167g/km, giving it a driving range of more than 1200km – enough to cross the Nullarbor without stopping to fill its 80-litre tank.

25 center imageThe Panamera S Hybrid – which arrives here a month earlier in August – is also available with the more eco-friendly tyres in Europe. As we’ve reported, Porsche is yet to determine whether they can be fitted as standard in Australia, which would reduce fuel consumption from 7.1 to 6.8L/100km – and therefore its $298,300 pricetag by about $6000.

Either way, the Diesel now tops the seven-variant Panamera sedan line-up for efficiency, even if it doesn’t offer the performance of the range-topping Panamera Turbo S, which was revealed in late March and arrives here in October priced at $440,200 - or the Panamera hybrid, which sprints to 100km/h in six seconds with its electrically assisted 250kW supercharged petrol V6.

The rear-drive-only Panamera Diesel is no slouch, however. Borrowing a more powerful version of the Cayenne luxury SUV’s 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel from parent company Volkswagen, it still sprints to 100km/h in a claimed 6.8 seconds – the same as the rear-drive Panamera petrol V6 – and on to a top speed of 242km/h.

Peak power of 184kW (down from the petrol model’s 220kW, but up slightly on the Cayenne petrol V6’s 176kW) is delivered between 3800 and 4400rpm, with maximum torque of 550Nm produced from 1750 to 2750rpm – the same as the Cayenne but over a wider rev-range and well up on the petrol V6’s 400Nm.

As it does in a range of VW and Audi models, the 3.0 TDI V6 features common-rail direct-injection through piezo valves at a pressure of 2000 bar, electronically controlled variable-geometry turbocharging and emissions reduction measures including controlled exhaust gas recirculation, an oxidation catalyst and particle filterNaturally, at 9.3L/100km, the 3.6-litre six-cylinder petrol model is thirstier than the Panamera Diesel, which is also the first Panamera to employ an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission, rather than the seven-speed dual-clutch PDK auto fitted as standard in all other versions of Porsche’s first sedan.

As with other Panameras, an automatic idle-stop system is standard, as is Porsche Active Suspension Management, bi-Xenon headlights, front/rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring and touch-screen satellite-navigation, while adaptive air suspension is available instead of the standard steel springs in Europe.

Apart from discreet ‘Diesel’ lettering on its front doors, the compression-ignition Panamera is identical to the brand’s other V6-powered grand tourer, offering the same four-seat cabin and expansive 4.97-metre length.

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