The Porsche Panamera has leaked and it looks fantastic. Bring on the feeding frenzy! I admit, I didn't get the Panamera when it first came out. Rumor had it was that the original design was compromised, "Porsche CEO Matthias Muller now admits that the car suffered from design 'mistakes' that will be corrected when the car’s replacement debuts next year." Well, next year turned out to be nearly 3 years later, but it looks like they succeeded. (More below...)
2014-2016 Porsche Panamera
The original Panamera was ungainly at best. The front end was ok, but the roofline always had a tragic look to it, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Most swoopy and sporty looking sedans compromise rear seat headroom with their roofline, but the Panamera made sure even the tallest passengers could comfortably sit in the rear. Unfortunately, this compromise resulted in a roofline that made the car look chunky and bulbous, extending almost rearward enough for a wagon, forcing a convex look to the rear glass and a huge hatchback trunk. It looked like a bug, and contrasted starkly with the design of some of the contemporary large hatchbacks, like the Audi A7/S7/RS7 or the Tesla Model S or BMW's 4 series Gran Coupe.
But, it was a fantastic car. I only ended up driving one after my 911 was in the shop and I got one as a service loaner. Tons of legroom, elegant interior design, extremely comfortable and capable. I was shocked at how well it shrank around the driver, and while no one would mistake it for a sports car, it definitely had a lot of charm from the driver's seat. You could throw it into a corner like few sedans, and of the ones that could make it through the corner, even fewer seem excited to do so. The Panamera enjoys being grabbed by the scruff of the neck and being thrown towards the apex of a corner.
Porsche did manage to sell quite a few of them. While they never sold in the volume the Cayenne or Macan did, (combined 150,000 units, vs 17,207 for the Panamera,) the large sedan did come close to the volume of the Cayman and Boxster, and close to the 911 some years. This was despite the controversial design outside.
2017 Porsche Panamera
While we don't know much about the powerplants, we can naturally assume that the Cayenne V6 twin turbo is a likely fit for the base model and a new 4.0l V8 twin turbo was featured in the leaked photos as well. Since everything Porsche (besides the GT cars) are going turbocharged, it is doubtful we'll get another 4.8l V8 GTS, which is sad given that drivetrain combines a fantastic soundtrack with sharp throttle response and a nice linear power curve that begged to be revved out. I can certainly see how combining the potent turbo powerplants with the new cars good looks is going to be a sales hit, though!
The interior appears really nice as well, Jalopnik shared a picture of the new dashboard, which looks great with a traditional gauge in the middle for the tachometer and a bunch of dynamic screen real estate on the outside. Porsche has had a lot tradition of providing more than sufficient instrumentation for their cars, and it is nice to see that continue in the new ones. (I'm looking at you, BMW, with your omission of any sort of engine temperature gauge in the new cars! Our X5 and m235i completely lack any indication of oil or water temperature.)
While purists tear and whine about the dilution of Porsche's brand, I really enjoy their modern cars, which just wouldn't be possible without the volume they get from the Cayenne and Macan. I think the new Panamera's stunning good looks will finally allow it to be a major contributor to that effort as well, so bring on the cooler sports cars as well.
Silicon Valley Dad, who loves cars, cooking, clothes and cameras