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Porsche Panamera

£63,913£131,152
7/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Fast (really, very fast), handling

Against: 

Offensive looks
The Panamera is highly effective in mixing a sports car with a luxury saloon. But goodness it's ugly. Really. It's hideous.

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Our choice

Porsche

3.0 [300] V6 Diesel 4dr Tiptronic S

£65,289
8/10
44mpg
6.00s
300bhp
169g/km

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.

Driving

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.

Owning

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.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
4.8 V8 Turbo 4dr PDK
4.1s 242g/km 27.2 520 £108,006
The cheapest
3.6 V6 4dr PDK
6.3s 199g/km 33.2 310 £63,913
The greenest
3.0 V6 S E-Hybrid 4dr Tiptronic S
5.5s 71g/km 91.1 416 £84,401

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

7/10

Jaguar XJ

£56,635£98,845
Another big, wafty car that handles like it has no right to - the Jaaaaaag XJ