Porsche’s Panamera (its name is a contraction of Panamericana, a gruelling long-distance race in which the marque was very successful, and which also gave birth to its ‘Carrera’ badge) is a large, premium four-door sports saloon. Its trick is having a large opening tailgate, to make it more like a fastback, but it competes against all manner of high-end, high-powered four-door machines. However, the second-gen Panamera, launched in 2017, is a big improvement on its predecessor, with nicer looks, a much better cabin and a truly sparkling chassis. Here’s how to choose a good used example.
Porsche sells the second-gen Panamera in two body styles (whereas the Mk1 was only ever a rather ugly-looking ‘saloon’), the regular saloon and a Sport Turismo ‘shooting brake’ estate. The range of engines are all petrol-powered, with some electric augmentation on certain models, and they are all available in either body style. The sole transmission on all second-gen Panameras is an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, which is a fabulous gearbox so it’s not a problem that there’s no other choice, and almost all models have Porsche Traction Management (PTM) four-wheel drive, the exception being the base car. The line-up kicks off with the 330hp/450Nm Panamera and Panamera 4 (the numeral denoting that drive goes to both axles, instead of just the rear wheels), power coming from a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine. A slightly different, 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 (also with 330hp/450Nm) is employed in the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the first of two plug-in part-electric vehicles in the Porsche’s range, and with electric motors this thing delivers overall outputs of 462hp and 700Nm. The 2.9-litre biturbo V6 is then used, in a more powerful 440hp/550Nm state of tune, in the Panamera 4S, before there’s a switch to V8 power in the 4.0-litre twin-turbo GTS – this has 460hp and 620Nm and a series of chassis tuning items makes this a Panamera aimed at keener drivers. Finally, there are the ‘Turbo’ models with a capital T (all Panameras have turbocharged engines, but Turbo is the marque’s name for specialised high-performance derivatives): the first is the plain Turbo, with 550hp/770Nm from the same 4.0-litre biturbo V8 as the GTS, before this is augmented by an electric motor and lithium-ion battery in the ultimate PHEV and performance version, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. All told, this car will deliver huge numbers of 680hp and 850Nm, making it supercar-quick yet capable of zero-emissions running for limited distances on its electric motors.
There’s no such thing as a bad Panamera Mk2, but if we had to pick our favourite, it’s the GTS. It has the nicest soundtrack of all the models, plenty enough performance for a car of this class, stunning handling and yet it’s not quite as ridiculously expensive as the two Turbo models. Go for a Sport Turismo and you have an incredibly strong all-rounder of a vehicle.
Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Maximum speed: 290km/h
0-100km/h: 4.1 seconds
Fuel consumption: 10.6 litres/100km
• Potent performance
• Sharp handling
• High quality feel throughout
• Expensive to buy
• Expensive to run
• No diesel option
The Porsche Panamera Mk1 was a bold move by the company when it launched in 2010, but it was a flawed car – not least in terms of its ungainly appearance. The Mk2, however, has been refined in every single area, resulting in arguably Porsche’s finest all-round product. Find the right spec of used Panamera G2 and you will have an absolutely superb vehicle.