New Porsche Panamera prototype review: Floats like a butterfly

    The new active suspension equipped, hybrid V8-powered Gen 3 Panamera is as tech-heavy and as groundbreaking as they come.

    Published on Nov 24, 2023 06:00:00 PM


    Make : Porsche
    Model : Panamera

    Keen to show us just how well all the tech works on the new Panamera G3, Porsche gave us the unique opportunity to drive their prototype of the new Turbo. Since we drove the car on regular roads in Leipzig, Germany, the cars were camouflaged. Our route took us through the city and then led us around the outskirts of the town, giving us a chance to experience the car under all manner of roads and conditions.

    Porsche Panamera powertrain, specs

    The new Panamera is powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine that's coupled with a more potent hybrid drive system. The Turbo E-Hybrid produces a stonking output of 680hp and a huge 930Nm of torque (combined), and 0-100kph takes a claimed 3.2 seconds.

    The most important powertrain update is a more potent hybrid system

    The new E-Hybrid models now get a new, more powerful electric motor that is very different from earlier ones. It is now completely integrated into the new dual-clutch transmission bell housing and offers better regen capacity; increased by 35kW to 80kW. It also receives internal oil-cooling for added efficiency and recuperation efficiency. Energy storage for the plug-in hybrid system is provided by a battery with a higher capacity of 25.9kWh which returns an electric-only range of 93km.

    Panamera hybrid performance 

    A brief half an hour drive of the Panamera was all we got, but it was enough to illuminate the massive potential that this platform and the new hardware have. To begin with, there’s much more performance in EV-only mode, which should make it much more usable. Switch on the engine, by selecting any of the other modes, and it’s like awakening a monster, the Panamera pulling very strongly even on small throttle openings.

    The electric motor and combustion engine work seamlessly together. 

    The combination of the electric motor and V8 is potent, drivability is outstanding; the strong initial tug of the electric motor seamlessly supplanted by a brawny twin-turbo V8. What’s even better is that power delivery always feels instant, very refined and predictable. With 1470Nm of torque and 843hp, the Mercedes AMG GT 63 S E Performance is 0.3 seconds faster to 100kph, but the Porsche feels like the more sorted and seamless unit.

    Porsche Panamera active suspension 

    The third-generation Panamera uses a  fully active suspension system with a single chamber air spring. This is done both for greater design simplicity as well as the fact that this active system is dynamically superior as it follows the contours and bumps in the road by exerting a force of its own on the road, as and when situations demand. This fundamentally changes dynamic handling as the system controls the car in pitch as well as in roll. It is so effective, the active suspension-equipped car has no anti-roll bars, simplifying the forces exerted further (anti-roll bars act as secondary springs when engaged).

    Porsche Panamera ride and handling 

    What adds to the dynamic character of the third-gen is that the steering feels very accurate and precise and the rear-wheel steering imparts the third-gen Panamera the agility of a much smaller car.

    In Comfort mode, the Panamera can ride like a luxury limo

    Porsche has also given drivers the option of slacking off the active suspension in Comfort. Switch to Active Tilt and Active Pitch control via a menu on the touchscreen and the car begins to float. Small imperfections in the road are ironed out silently and efficiently and even driving over the one or two bad patches we encountered proved just how effective is at faithfully making the wheels follow the contours of the road.

    The system is so good it makes Porsche’s performance sedan ride like a luxury limo, albeit with a bit more roll. The true test, however, will come in our conditions, with larger holes, sharper ridges and more undulating and broken tarmac to contend with. However, even as things stand, Indian car buyers are sure to appreciate this system in our conditions.

    The tech under the skin masks both the size and weight of the car. 

    While we didn’t really get an opportunity to push the car and really enjoy the handling, what we clearly felt was greater agility, more compactness and a playful engaging demeanour.

    Bring all the elements together, the potent hybrid powertrain, the greater agility and the more comfort-oriented chassis, and you have a Panamera that takes things to the next level. One thing’s for sure, Porsche isn’t holding back here.

    Tech Specs

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