2018 Porsche Panamera

Performance


$85,000 - $194,800

2018 Porsche Panamera Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.4

The 2018 Porsche Panamera may be a luxury car first, but it doesn’t skimp on performance. It offers several engines ready to rocket you down the road at the touch of the gas pedal, and they’re all mated to a smooth-shifting automatic transmission. The Panamera provides nimble handling, but not at the expense of a cushioned ride.

  • "Where the previous Panamera demonstrated good performance, ride and handling characteristics, the new 2017 Panamera Turbo makes the old car seem like a relic." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The steering is accurate and well-weighted and uncorrupted by the drive through the front wheels, though the 275-pound lighter 4S' helm feels marginally more communicative than the Turbo's through the twisties. The real revelation, however, is how … plush, quiet, and composed the big Porsche is when driven with the suspension, transmission, and engine in their normal settings. Porsche engineers might be sports car guys, but with this Panamera they've built a genuine luxury limousine." -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "Some would say the sky-falling doom of fog, hail and rain that followed us throughout our escape from Manhattan would have made for a terrible drive and a wasted couple of hours behind the wheel. Quite the opposite, actually, as the Panamera proved to be confident, powerful and sticky even on the slickest of roads – mist-heavy views and falling foliage be damned." -- New York Daily News (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Panamera’s base engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 with 330 horsepower and a top speed of 164 mph. It’s mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (known as the Porsche Doppelkupplung or PDK). Though the base engine is the weakest in the lineup, it has plenty of power for all driving situations and delivers quick acceleration. The PDK provides smooth, timely shifts; you’d be hard-pressed to find a transmission that’s clearly better.

Panamera 4S models feature a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine that puts out 440 horsepower and has a top speed of 179 mph. Yes, it’s faster than the base engine, but it’s also smooth. In fact, at least one reviewer considers it one of the finest V6 engines in the world.

The Panamera Turbo trims are the heavy hitters of the lineup. These high-performance trims come with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 engine that cranks out 550 horsepower, and they can reach 190 mph. There’s not much to say about these engines except that they excel in every respect (other than fuel economy). Power delivery is so effortless that you can creep up toward 100 mph without realizing it.

With either V6 engine, EPA-estimated fuel economy is about the same: 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. These estimates put the Porsche among class leaders. The numbers drop a bit with the V8 to 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

  • "Remarkably smooth and responsive, its exhaust note a muted, oily snarl, the Panamera 4S' engine might just be the best V-6 in the world – so good, in fact, it's difficult to see why you wouldn't just spec a 4S up to Turbo equipment levels and save yourself a ton of money. But the new Porsche V-8 makes its case with more bite at the top end of the rev band, and it's eerily quiet even while cruising …" -- Motor Trend (2017)
  • "In both its sports cars and its four-doors, Porsche's PDK gearboxes are the gold standard in automatic shifting, and this new transmission lives up to its predecessor with quick yet graceful gearchanges." -- Car and Driver (2017)
  • "New as part of the optional Sport Chrono package is a knob on the lower-right of the steering wheel for selecting any of four driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Sport+, and Individual (Porsche first introduced a similar control on the 918). The two sport modes offer increasingly sharp throttle, transmission, and steering response while also firming-up the suspension; Individual mode allows the driver to mix and match settings to his or her taste." -- Automobile Magazine (2017)

Hybrid Trims

The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid. It comes with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 engine, an electric motor, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a 14-kWh lithium-ion battery. The powertrain puts out 462 horsepower combined.

The new-for-2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid features a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 and an electric motor that combine to put out 680 horsepower. 

The Panamera plug-in hybrid models earn an EPA-estimated 21-22 mpg with the gasoline engine alone, and 46-49 mpg-equivalent in all-electric mode. They can drive up to 16 miles on electricity alone.

Handling and Braking

Rear-wheel drive is standard in the Panamera, but all trims above the base level come with all-wheel drive. Though it’s a luxury vehicle, the Panamera can really move. Sharp steering and plenty of road grip let you tackle corners aggressively, but the agility doesn’t come at the expense of ride quality.

Even over rough roads, the Panamera rides smoothly. It uses an electronic damper control system – dubbed Porsche Active Suspension Management – that quickly adjusts to even minute changes in the road surface. An adaptive air suspension system is also available.

  • "The steering is crisp and precise … aided by a host of electronic upgrades in the optional Sport package that includes rear-wheel steering and launch control. Helping the Panamera round corners like any good Porsche is an air suspension and active torque vectoring." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "Perhaps the new Panamera 4S's greatest asset is its remarkable versatility. It's an electrifying machine to run hard: the car handles brilliantly, with tons of poise and grip; optional carbon-ceramic brakes haul you down easily from prodigious velocities … Add to that refined power a chassis that, in Comfort mode, rides with amazing cushiness, and you also have an extremely relaxed cruiser. In fact, Comfort mode acquits itself well when driving aggressively, too – never does the car feel sloppy or under-damped …" -- Automobile Magazine (2017)
  • "Coil springs and adaptive dampers are standard on the 4S, while the Turbo rides on air springs that now have a third chamber for a greater range of adjustability. Optional chassis technology borrowed from the 911 includes rear-wheel steering and the active anti-roll bars of Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control. The loaded Turbo we drove felt stable and planted when pushed and was contentedly comfortable at slower paces, at least on Germany's well-maintained roads. Cornering comes naturally, with minimal roll and relatively high grip …" -- Car and Driver (2017)

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