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Porsche powers up its new Panamera

Home grown: The 404kW 4.0-litre biturbo V8 in the latest Panamera was developed in-house by Porsche, but is set to be shared with other Volkswagen Group partners such as Audi.

Three new engines debut in first wave of second-gen Porsche Panamera variants

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Porsche logo29 Jun 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

PORSCHE’S new second-generation Panamera has been wheeled out to the world in Berlin, revealing a sleeker, more sophisticated luxury grand tourer with a trio of all-new powertrains, including the world’s fastest production diesel.

Due in Australia in early 2017, the flagship sedan will kick off with three all-wheel-drive variants, starting with the V6 Panamera 4S at $304,200 plus on-road costs, continuing with the new-to-the-range V8 diesel 4S at $312,100 and topping out with the V8 petrol Panamera Turbo at $376,900.

These models form the core of the range that ultimately will be sandwiched between other models below and above. These will include cheaper rear-wheel-drive variants and a powerful Panamera GTS, along with a much anticipated plug-in hybrid that Porsche promises will be a significant improvement on the current hybrid.

The new Panamera sits on the latest version of Porsche’s MSB modular standard platform that employs higher levels of aluminium and high-strength steel to slice weight.

At 5049mm long, the latest model is 34mm longer than before, as well as 6mm wider at 1937mm.

Interestingly, it is 5mm taller, although the polarising humpbacked rear roof line has been cut by 20mm to give the car a lower, longer profile more in keeping with Porsche’s sporting heritage.

Rear headroom data has not yet been provided, but Porsche claims “consistently good headroom” has been maintained, despite the rear roofline cut.

The new V-design powertrains that are more compact than before have allowed Porsche designers to drop the Panamera’s snout. Along with a new vehicle-wide air intake and grille crossbars, this new design gives the Panamera a wider, more planted-on-the-road appearance.

The Volkswagen Group has recognised the importance of the Panamera by giving Porsche first use of three all-new engines – a first for Porsche.

These include the Porsche-developed 4.0-litre bi-turbo petrol V8 for the Panamera Turbo. This whacks out 404kW of power at 5750rpm and 770Nm of torque at 4500rpm, which is 22kW and 70Nm than before.

It is also 14kW and 90Nm more than the Ferrari-fettled 3.9-litre V8 of the Maserati Quattraporte – one of the Panamera’s main rivals.

Expect this engine to turn up elsewhere in the VW world, maybe the Audi R8, Audi A8 and Bentley Continental GT.

This engine propels the Panamera from zero to 100km/h in 3.8 seconds, a handy 0.9 seconds faster than the Mazza.

Adding the extra-cost Sport Chrono package cuts that time to 3.6 seconds, putting the Panamera in 911 territory. It can also top 300km/h on the autobahn, peaking at a projected 306km/h.

Fuel consumption is cut by 1.1 litres per 100km on the European combined driving cycle test, down from 10.2L/100km to 9.3. Carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced to about 212 grams per kilometre.

This fuel saving is partly attributed to new twin-scroll, counter-rotating turbochargers that are said to generate maximum torque at lower speeds, as well as a General Motors-style cylinder deactivation system that switches the engine into four-cylinder operation under low loads.

For the first time, the Panamera gets a V8 diesel, gifted from Audi for inclusion in the Panamera 4S Diesel. Also 4.0 litres, this engine develops 310kW at 3500rpm and 850Nm or torque between 1000rpm and 3250rpm, making it the most powerful production diesel ever released. At least, it will be until Audi releases its version of the engine in the 320kW SQ7 later this year.

The diesel Panamera can hit 100km/h in 4.5 seconds – 4.3 with Sports Chrono – while sipping fuel at just 6.7L/100km.

Like the petrol V8, the diesel has twin turbos, but in sequential style to allow the blowers to run in single or biturbo modes, with the latter kicking in at 2700rpm.

The petrol 4S comes with a six-cylinder engine, but sadly not a Porsche-developed boxer. In this case, it is another Audi developed powerplant, a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 that puts out 324kW of power at 5650rpm and 550Nm of torque between 1750 and 5500rpm. This is 15kW and 30Nm more than the superseded 3.0-litre engine.

Fuel consumption has also been improved, by 1.0L/100km, to 8.1L/100km.

To cut weight, aluminium is employed in all the main exterior panels, as well as the side body structure.

The petrol and diesel 4S both get 19-i9nch alloy wheels, while the Turbo comes with 20 inchers (21 inch whiles are optional).

LED lights are used front and rear, with LED headlights able to swivel when turning. The Panamera Turbo gets the top-of-the-range Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus that can switch 84 diodes individually for maximum effect, including an anti-dazzle feature for on-coming traffic.

Like other new-gen Porsches, the Panamera gets the signature four-point daytime driving lights.

At the back, LED lights stretch the full width of the car, just below the boot lip (and the extendible rear spoiler). Porsche says the taillight design provides a distinctive 3D effect at night.

On the Panamera Turbo, the spoiler splits as it extends to provide greater downforce. The Turbo also gets trapezoidal-shaped twin exhaust tailpipes to set it apart for the 4S’s oval outlets.

From the driver’s seat, the pilot gets an overview of the bonnet and upper guards – like Ford’s Mustang – to that extra-sporty feel.

Twin 7.0-inch screens display necessary information in front of the driver.

These screens are separated by a big analogue tacho in the centre of the instrument binnacle.

Another screen – a hefty 12.3 inch unit – sits in the middle of the dash for sat-nav, audi, phone and other functions.

Porsche says it dipped into its 918 Spyder interior design theme for its interior design that includes touch-sensitive controls to dispense with the myriad buttons previously used in many Porsches.

The Panamera V6 4S and Turbo will be the first to arrive on Australian shores, in the first quarter of 2017, with the 4S diesel to follow soon after.

Porsche Cars Australia says further variants will follow, but it is not yet at liberty to say what and when.

However, take it as read that these will include more affordable six-cylinder petrol and diesel rear-wheel drive versions to compete with the likes of BMW’s 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz’s S-Class and the upcoming next-generation Audi A8.

Australian pricing for the first three Panamera variants has been released, with the $304,200 pricetag on the petrol 4S representing a $3500 hike over its predecessor.

However, the ask for the Panamera Turbo comes down by $6100, to $376,900.

By comparison, Maserati Quattroporte’s V8 GTS is $331,000.

As there was no 4S Diesel in the previous range, the $312,100 price cannot be compared with any previous entity. The only diesel in the outgoing range is the $208,400 rear-wheel-drive six-cylinder Diesel.

2016 Porsche Panamera pricing*
4S (a)$304,200
4S Diesel (a)$312,100
Turbo (a)$376,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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