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Porsche Panamera 4S – meet the new boss

By Nick Hodgson

Cards on the table straight away, I really didn’t like the first generation Porsche Panamera. The looks were just all wrong, lazy even and I thought the interior was just a bit boring, so as a consequence no matter how well the car drove, I just wasn’t all that interested. Now though we have the second generation and everything has changed.

Inspiration from the plastic surgery generation

There’s no denying where this second generation Porsche Panamera 4S has come from, yet through a vigorous diet and proper reimagining it now comes together in an impressive package. More of an angular look to the front and rear gives it an aggressive and imposing presence, something that I think we can all agree was severely lacking before. If there’s one thing that Porsche has always managed to do though, it remembers its roots and so it is here where the overall flow to the car remains, allowing the Panamera to retain that slightly understated nature which attracted so many in the first place.

Step inside though, it gets better.

Much better. The interior of the Panamera 4S is incredibly stylish and to say I was rather taken with it would be an understatement. Now it’s well documented that I’m an unabashed hater of touch screen infotainment systems in the modern motor vehicle so it would have been reasonable to assume that I’d be loathing this one too. What I found though was Porsche has taken the concept and put a typically well thought out, German approach to it.

Ask yourself this, what do you change most frequently on your daily trip? If you’re anything like me it’s probably the air con temperature and sound system volume. So either Porsche have tried to design an interior specifically for me, or I’m not alone in this respect as those two functions have remained traditional buttons located within easy reach of the driver on the centre console, allowing for easy access without needing to take your eyes off the road for a second. This well thought out, exceptional attention to detail can be found throughout the cabin, from the magnificently designed user interface on the touch screen infotainment system to the lovely haptic feedback provided by all the centre console touch buttons.

If you’re still not convinced consider Bluetooth integration, a function used at most a handful of times by the average owner, however as a motoring journalist I often find myself shouting expletives while desperately trying to pair phones to yet another exasperating system. Not so in the Porsche Panamera 4S, in fact this was probably the easiest and quickest I’ve ever experienced and for me just highlights the attention to detail Porsche has shown and the understanding they have for their customer base.

Read also: BMW 730d: Luxury at its best or technological overload? With video.

Driving it

The Porsche Panamera 4S comes equipped with a twin turbocharged 2.9 litre v6, producing an exceptional 324kW and 550Nm. If that wasn’t enough though this particular version has the optional sport chrono pack, where at the touch of a button the whole car goes into maximum attack mode for 20 seconds. So that’s the power sorted and quite frankly with the “over boost” function activated the Panamera 4S feels like it produces rather more than the claimed 324kW. This could be due to the clever 4-wheel drive system that constantly shifts power around to where it’s needed most, a system I was all ready to hate, but in fact grew to learn, appreciate and by the end, thoroughly enjoy.

You see the natural reaction of any 4-wheel drive system is to understeer, a quality that is magnified in a car as big as Panamera 4S. Get to know it however and a lot of fun can be had. Put the car into a corner at speed and yeah, she’ll understeer quite dramatically. Take the same corner a bit slower on entry and you’ll find you can get on the power exceptionally early, hauling your way out the corner with ease. Do the same but stamp on the throttle like a hooligan and she’ll step out on you properly, allowing for an elegant drift or two to liven up your day.

Read also: Is the Porsche 911 R(eally) all that?

Who is this for?

Porsche has clearly gone back to the drawing board with this second generation of Panamera to come up with a completely overhauled vehicle. With the proliferation of SUVs absolutely everywhere this change was badly needed and it’s hard to deny that they’ve done a fantastic job on it, with my complaints on the car reduced to the most minor of niggles. It drives fantastically, devouring whatever road you can throw at it, incredibly comfortable and of course stuffed full of every piece of technology conceivable. To say the new Porsche Panamera 4S impressed would be an understatement, but the real question is should you buy one? Well if you’re looking for a car to be a business saloon, luxury cruiser and to blow your hair back whenever the mood takes you, there is very little that can impress like this.

Pricing

R1 638 000 with a 5 yr DrivePlan

R1 588 000 with a 3 yr DrivePlan

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