Review: Porsche Panamera 3.0 dieselBy Philip Shoulder
February 19, 2013
After years of producing world-class sports cars and building on the success of their Cayenne SUV, in 2010 Porsche launched their first luxury four door hatchback, the Panamera. No other rival quite looks like this, either on the outside or in.
Measuring 1931mm (76.0in) in width and 1418mm (55.8in) in height, the Panamera is both wider and lower than comparable four-door models. The unmistakable, sleek GT silhouette is created by an overall length of 4970mm (195.7in) and short, sporting overhangs front and rear.
Available from launch with a selection of petrol powered engines, consisting of a 300 hp 3.6 litre V6, a 380 hp hybrid, and a brace of V8s ranging from 400 hp normally aspirated to 550 hp turbocharged.
All variants aside from the hybrid and diesel have the option of either rear or four wheel drive and Porsche’s PDK double-clutch automatic gearbox.
The Panamera Diesel’s party trick is being a luxury Gran Turismo capable of taking four passengers in sporting comfort from Lands End to Loch Ness without refueling, thanks to a range of more than 745 miles on one 80-litre tank.
For a big powerful car it’s clean and frugal too, emitting 172 g/km and delivering a combined fuel economy of 43.5mpg.
With diesel power dominating the luxury car market, Porsche were keen to compete in this competitive arena and expect this model to account for around half of all Panamera sales.
Every Panamera model comes equipped with: leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation/audio system and cruise control.
The cabin feels very special indeed, having a cocooning quality to it, thanks to the steeply raked roof and big sweeping dashboard, centre console and transmission tunnel. As you’d expect of a Porsche, the driving environment is well configured and comfortable with immediate gauges being clear and controls within easy reach.
The flight-deck style centre console and infotainment area might not be to everyone’s taste, as there is a considerable amount of switchgear to comprehend, but in many ways this serves to heighten the car’s interest.
High quality leathers and veneers used throughout also imbue the cabin with a luxurious and premium feel.
Despite its size, Panamera is strictly a four seater, with the rear accommodation using two individual chairs, rather than a bench. This does mean that passengers in the back are as well catered for as those up front and both legroom and headroom are plentiful, with the latter belying Panamera’s low roof line.
Looking out from the driver’s seat, Panamera feels a bit like a big 911 and in many ways, that’s how it drives.
Dynamically it retains the fluidity and precision of chassis and ultra communicative steering that Porsche is renowned for.
It must be stressed that this diesel model is the least sporting model in the range.
Despite this and despite only using a 250 bhp turbo diesel sourced from Audi, it still manages to serve up decent enough performance, although it wafts rather than blasts along.
But thanks to its pure handling it offers an engaging drive. Comfort is good too, with the optional adjustable air suspension car giving a supple and well damped ride.
Refinement levels aren’t far behind petrol models either, with the din from the diesel motor being well suppressed thanks to the use of additional soundproofing. Perhaps a criticism is that Porsche weren’t able to make the engine sound more sporting, but as already stressed, delivering overt sportiness isn’t this model’s chief objective.
Although expensive compared to rivals and lacking the outright performance of petrol-powered Panameras, this oil-burner retains the magic that makes a Panamera feel so uniquely different. Where V8 models offer genuine sports car performance, this 3.0 litre diesel changes the car’s character from fast all-out sporting saloon to effortless cruiser.
All of these factors, combined with its long-distance range, make the Panamera diesel a very fine luxury GT indeed and a viable alternative to more mainstream rivals.
Model: Panamera 3.0 Diesel
Engine: V6, 2967cc, turbodiesel
Max Power:250 hp at 3800-4400rpm
Max Torque:550 Nm at 1750-2750rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Kerbweight:1880kgMax Speed: 150 mph
Acceleration 0-62 mph: 6.8sec
MPG (combined): 43.5 mpg
CO2 emissions: 172 g/km