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The Top Gear car review: Porsche Panamera
For:Fast (really, very fast), handling
3.0  V6 Diesel 4dr Tiptronic S
The best diesel engine on sale today and truly unique. It misses top marks for the price rise and compromised mpg and emissions.
Look past the price and this is a convincing machine. Good electric range, plug-in ability and proper pace. Still a Panamera, though.
The Jolly Green Giant now has a car that’s large, eco and fun
A Porsche that gets 81 miles to the gallon. Good-looking too. And fast. It all sounds like a fairy tale…
Tom Ford drives the new sub-Turbo super saloon. Prepare to be amazed
In a rather unsurprising twist, the Panamera now has more power. JUST what it needed…
Probably the most convincing hybrid on sale today. Ought to be too, at that price…
Basic Panamera has faults, but remains weirdly attractive. Just be wary of the options list
What we say:
If you can stomach the, erm, divisive looks, few cars as big as the Panamera handle with such agility
What is it?
Porsche’s four-seat, four-door, er, hatchback is Germany’s answer to the Maserati Quattroporte.
When you fling it along a difficult empty road it’s amazing. The body hunkers down and never floats or rolls, and the grip just keeps coming. The steering is accurate too. The suspension (at least on the Turbo, other versions vary) has self-levelling variable air springs, adaptive dampers and adaptive anti-roll bars. This means it can work no matter how many people are on board, and can be supple on the straights but firm on bends.
As usual, there are many engines to choose from. The only one you need know about is the rather excellent 300bhp, 3.0-litre diesel, because it’s the only one you might actually reasonably consider. The power in the Panamera Turbo S is gigantic - at any revs. If any passenger is boring you, just press the accelerator and they’ll quickly be silenced by all 570 horsepowers. If it weren’t so darned wide, this would be a staggering overtaker.
On the inside
The Panamera is specifically a four-seater rather than an occasional five, with the rear seats hunkered down low like the fronts, with your passengers’ backsides well below the line of the transmission tunnel. This means there’s actually a lot of space back there; above, in front and to the side. But it also means whoever’s in the back is properly secure when you start going for it. The facility of a hatch, combined with the fact that those rear seats fold to a capacity of 1,250 litres, also means the Panamera is vastly more practical than your average luxury saloon. Not that anyone wiill use it for a tip-run.
Let’s not forget, luxury is something that Porsche can do. It may only have sports cars and an ignomious SUV in its back catalogue, but these days they’re all finished to a standard that makes high-end limos look a bit shoddy in places (eg the Quattroporte). And so for the Panamera, Porsche has upped the ante. The result is impressive, feeling as strong as an S-Class. However, if we had a complaint it’s that some of the materials and textures make the interior feel a bit chintzy, a bit too executive.
Hmmm, let’s not worry about this, shall we? If you’re forking out many thousands for the Turbo S you’re not going to worry about its high running costs and 28mpg. If you are, then buy an S-Class diesel.
Saying that, the Hybrid is a stepping stone to an electric future: it emits just 71g/km of CO2 and returns nearly 91mpg.