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2017 Porsche Panamera: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader June 2017

The 2017 Porsche Panamera is an all-new car, with an impressive array of new engines, updated technology, more interior space and improved handling. Yet it's the styling that should get you the most excited. The original Panamera was a tad homely to say the least, with a bulbous rear end in particular that dissuaded many from what was otherwise a superb luxury sedan. The new one corrects that failing with a pert new rump and an overall profile that more closely resembles a 4-door 911. Plus, for 2017, there's even another way to specify the Panamera's caboose: the Sport Turismo, which extends the roofline to create a quasi- wagon of sorts. Both look great.

Thankfully, though, they also still drive great. They also still possess Porsche's superb interior quality and immense list of options that allows you to outfit a Panamera to your exact liking. That cabin boasts more features now, including a new 12.3-inch touchscreen interface complete with Apple CarPlay and an admittedly problematic collection of accompanying touch-sensitive controls. There's also a broader collection of driving aides, including the near-autonomous Porsche InnoDrive system for highways.

So, as before, the Panamera deserves a look for anyone considering the upper crust of luxury sedans. For those who prioritize the driving experience over limo-like space and comfort, it's an absolute must-drive.

 What's New for 2017?

Just about everything short of the Porsche badge is new for 2017. A noteworthy addition to the lineup is the Sport Turismo wagon body style.

 What We Like

Superb acceleration; excellent handling; surprisingly practical; high-quality cabin; highly customizable

 What We Don't

Touch-sensitive "buttons" and fingerprint-attracting gloss black trim; huge price gap between models

 How Much?

$85,000-$160,000

 Fuel Economy

There is a wide variety of engines available, but all come with an 8-speed automated manual transmission called PDK. All except the base Panamera come with all-wheel drive (indicated by the number 4).

The standard Panamera has a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 good for 330 horsepower and 331 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy estimates are 21 miles per gallon in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg in combined driving with rear-wheel drive. The Panamera 4 essentially gets 1 mpg worse.

The Panamera 4S models have a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 good for 440 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. It returns 21 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/23 mpg combined.

The Panamera Turbo has a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that pumps out 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. It returns 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy/21 mpg combined.

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid starts things off with the 4S engine and adds an electric motor for a combined output of 462 hp and 516 lb-ft. It's a plug-in hybrid. Electric range and fuel economy estimates were not available for either E-Hybrid at the time of this writing.

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid pairs the Turbo engine with that same electric motor for a massive combined output of 680 hp and 626 lb-ft.

 Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Porsche Panamera is available in three body styles: a standard-wheelbase hatchback, an extended-wheelbase hatchback known as the Executive, and a quasi-wagon based on the standard wheelbase, known as the Sport Turismo. There are also varying models based on engine, with the number 4 in a name indicating all-wheel drive.

The standard Panamera ($85,000) comes standard with 19-in wheels, rear-wheel drive, an adaptive suspension (PASM), a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, a backup camera, a power hatch, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated 8-way power front seats, partial leather upholstery, the Porsche Communication Management touchscreen interface, Connect Plus (remote vehicle services, on-board internet, vehicle tracking), Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, three USB ports (one front, two rear), satellite radio, HD Radio and a 10-speaker sound system.

The Panamera 4 Sport Turismo adds a rear middle seat. The Panamera 4S ($100,000) adds a more powerful engine and different 19-in wheels. The E-Hybrid models have a plug-in hybrid powertrain, while the Turbo S E-Hybrid adds a more performance-oriented plug-in hybrid powertrain.

The Executive trims add more rear legroom, rear-wheel steering (for greater maneuverability), an adaptive air suspension, soft-close doors, heated rear seats and an enhanced rear center console.

The Turbo ($147,000) and Turbo S E-Hybrid trims add a more powerful engine, 20-in wheels, the air suspension, adaptive LED headlights, "Comfort Access" keyless entry and start, auto-dimming mirrors, 10-way power front seats (include 4-way lumbar), driver memory functions, a full leather interior, the heated rear seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an Alcantara headliner and a 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound audio system. The Turbo Executive ($160,000) combines what you see above with 4-zone climate control.

Apart from the engines, you can get any of the above equipment as options on any lower model.

The options list from there on is extensive, ranging from conventional items to customization features. Highlights include a variety of wheels, ceramic composite brakes, blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control (includes forward-collision warning), an enhanced adaptive cruise control system with partly autonomous functionality (Porsche InnoDrive), a surround-view parking camera, night-vision assistance, 14-way adaptive seats (front and/or rear), 8-way power rear seats, seat ventilation (front and/or rear), massaging seats (front and/or rear), a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshades, a rear-seat entertainment system, a 6-CD/DVD changer and a 21-speaker Burmester premium sound system.

 Safety

Every 2017 Panamera comes standard with an advanced stability control system, anti-lock brakes, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags, front-knee airbags and a backup camera. Optional equipment includes a blind spot monitoring system (Lane Change Assist), a lane-keeping system, a forward-collision warning system (included with adaptive cruise control) and a night-vision assist camera/display.

 Behind the Wheel

The Panamera is for those seeking a flagship luxury sedan that's every bit as rewarding and thrilling to drive as a sports car. Though quite large, its handling, steering, electronic aides and colossal power (regardless of engine) result in a car that should be better to drive than everything else in its segment. We would recommend trying out a variety of models in a variety of specifications (noting engine, suspension and steering) to make sure you get the Panamera that meets your preferences, but it's safe to say there isn't a snooze-inducer in the bunch.

You sit low in the Panamera, much as you would in a 911, enveloped by Porsche's superbly comfortable, supportive and adjustable seats. That applies whether you're in the driver's seat or riding in the back. Space all around is excellent, although it obviously gets better with the long-wheelbase Executive model. The front cabin, as before, is dominated by a wide, rising center console covered in controls. Unlike before, however, the 2017 Panamera has ditched physical buttons for touch-sensitive controls and a greater reliance on the new 12.3-in main touchscreen. We can't say it's an improvement -- it might even be worse.

Once again, the Panamera has a hatchback over its cargo area that grants it greater cargo versatility than the typical flagship luxury sedan. For 2017, however, you can increase that versatility even further with the new Sport Turismo quasi-wagon. Rarely has practicality been so much fun.

 Other Cars to Consider

2017 Meredes-Benz CLS-Class -- Though getting on in years, the CLS offers a similar degree of style, luxury and performance as the Panamera, right up to its mighty CLS63 S model. For those interested in Benz's latest-and-greatest performance model, the new E63 is also worth a look.

2017 Audi A7, S7 and RS 7 -- This trio is close to the Panamera in concept and in its range-topping RS 7 guise is one of the few cars that can keep up with (and maybe even beat) the Panamera Turbo.

2017 Tesla Model S -- Even if you're not considering the E-Hybrid models, the Tesla offers comparable space and performance to any Panamera. Yes, Tesla's electric powertrains offer great appeal, but its reliability and build quality pale in comparison to Porsche's.

 Autotrader's Advice

When it comes to any Porsche, make sure to sample as many model, engine and performance option combinations as possible. It may take longer at the dealer, but you'll know that you're getting the right version for you. Otherwise, it's hard to imagine being unhappy with any of these cars, as even the base car offers compelling performance and has the same standard and optional feature content as the pricier 4S.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Porsche Panamera: New Car Review - Autotrader