IS THE 2021 PORSCHE PANAMERA THE PERFECT ONE CAR GARAGE?
The Porsche Panamera a car that created its own niche when it was launched in 2009. At that time, its biggest competitors were the Aston Martin Rapide and the Maserati Quattroporte. In the long run, the Panamera prevailed, making it one of the most successful cars sold by Porsche ever. Journalists debated the looks for a long time, but nothing else matters when you achieve sales success. I have always loved the looks of the Panamera, and in the current generation guise, the Panamera looks properly sorted.
WHAT IS NEW?
Welcome to 2021 and the new heavily facelifted Porsche Panamera. You would need sharp eyes to tell the difference between the old Panamera and the new facelifted one but let me make it easier. The front gets the Sport Design facia as standard, which used to be optional earlier. New air scoops and new one-piece DRLs. The rear end gets a completely integrated one pieced LED light bar, which looks lovely and fresh taillights. The Turbo S model gets new side cooling air intakes as well.
All in all, the Panamera definitely looks handsome and athletic. The overall profile is sporty and refined. The Panamera cannot be mistaken for anything else on the road, giving it an upper hand compared to other luxury sport limousines or four-door GT cars.
The Panamera line up is confusing, though, or another way to look at it is that there is a Panamera for everyone. There is the base Panamera with the twin-turbo V6 engine producing 325 HP. To this, you can add 4WD. Then you can have the entire combination with a Hybrid system and 4WD. After this is what most people refer to as the driver’s version of the Panamera, the GTS with the V8 and Sport Chrono package and blacked-out exterior bits. After this, you have the Turbo and the range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid with 690 HP. Some of the models can be specced with the Executive option, which adds extra length to the wheelbase. You can also spec any of the cars with the Sport Tourismo option, which converts the car into a station wagon or hatchback. In total, there are eighteen options to choose from, and the starting price of the Panamera is $96,239/AED 353,200/INR 1.4 crores, and it goes up to a whopping $200,000/AED 733,300/ INR 2.4 crores. After this, you have customization options that will add to the price.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
I drove the base Panamera and Panamera 4 at the Dubai autodrome with the twin-turbo V6 producing 325 HP. All Panameras come equipped with the 8-speed PDK. The base version does 0-100 in 5.3 seconds, which is pretty quick for a four-door family car. However, never at any given time does it feel urgent or fast. That kind of feeling is left for the more expensive and powerful siblings. What this car excels in is in the handling department. It handles corners with class, and you never once feel the size or length. The car just shrinks around you. You can spec the cars with various Porsche performance driving modes such as the Sport Chrono pack or PASM (which is Porsche’s terminology for active suspension management). You can even spec the car with all-wheel steering.
The overall handling is precise, and the car is willing to dance around bends at your fingertips. Even in a straight line, the Panamera has ample grip, letting you push the car to the limits. The steering weighs up nicely, giving you ample feedback as to what the car is doing. I was chasing a professional racing driver in a 718 Boxster, and the Panamera was keeping up with the 718 easily. That is a massive compliment for the Panamera.
DOES IT FEEL LUXURIOUS?
The interiors of all Porsches are an excellent place to be in. Somehow I feel that the interiors of all Porsches are the most ergonomic. It has a new touchscreen with Apple Car Play 2. The entire system is easy and intuitive to use. When you look at the centre console, you can see buttons everywhere. Well, they are haptic feedback touchscreens and look phenomenal. I am old school where I prefer a button for every feature over everything being controlled by a giant centre touchscreen. The gear lever feels pleasant to hold, and the 911 derived steering wheel is what makes driving this car excellent. What I am not particularly fond of is the piano black finish everywhere. It just attracts dust and leaves fingerprints everywhere. You better have a microfiber cloth in the car at all times because you will spend time cleaning it.
The seating positing in the car is low and sporty; however, the visibility is excellent, and at all times, you feel that it has enough light in the car. The materials used in the car are excellent, and it justifies the price tag. Everything is high quality and premium. Because it is a Porsche, you can pretty much customize anything in the car. The Porsche options list is endless, and you will need a Porsche sales person’s help in speccing out the vehicle.
The Panamera has a host of driver’s aid and safety features as well.
This space has heated up. There is the Mercedes AMG-GT 4 door coupe. Plus other offerings from Mercedes AMG cars. BMW M cars and Audi RS cars. In the looks department, nothing comes close in character and personality to the Panamera. The Panamera has its own unique and distinct identity, making it stand out in a crowd, especially in Sport Tourismo guise. It is luxurious, fast, capable and handles well. Has pedigree and brand value as well. Spacious enough for four people with decent luggage space, my money goes to the Panamera. With a price brand that caters to almost anyone, this is the sporty luxury limousine to buy. The perfect one car garage.