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In-depth reviews

Porsche Panamera review – a tech-packed sports saloon

"If you’re not put off by its steep price tag, the Porsche Panamera offers performance worthy of its badge, and yet offers space for four”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Beautifully designed and finished interior
  • Great to drive
  • Brilliant, grippy four-wheel drive system

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Rivals are more comfortable and refined
  • Size makes manoeuvring tricky

Verdict – is the Porsche Panamera a good car?

The latest Porsche Panamera is even better thanks to a refreshed new look and an impressive level of build and material quality inside and out. It feels just as good to drive – there’s even a little more steering feedback than before – and there’s now more tech on offer than in the previous model. The Porsche Panamera was already a desirable car, and its status has only increased, although if comfort is your top priority, some rivals are more cosseting.

Porsche Panamera models, specs and alternatives

While the Porsche Panamera caused quite a stir when it was released as the second four-door Porsche following the Cayenne SUV, it’s since become a well-established model in the lineup. The latest version has undergone a thorough overhaul for 2024 – it’s virtually a new model – with Porsche keen to keep its combustion-engined sports saloon competitive against rivals.

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The latest Panamera gets a new look that brings it more in line with Porsche’s electric models in terms of design. The headlights have been redesigned with a slightly squarer look incorporating individual LED elements within the clusters a-la Porsche Taycan. While the rear light bar on the outgoing Panamera got thinner towards the middle on the bootlid, the latest update stays a consistent length along the whole width of the car for a less fussy, more minimalist look.

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Like with the latest Porsche Cayenne facelift, the interior has been reworked, too, with the option of a 10.9-inch touchscreen display on the passenger side, a fully digital gauge cluster as standard, rather than the individual digital gauges from before, and a redesigned centre console. The latest Panamera is well equipped, but undeniably expensive.

The Panamera range starts from just under £81,000 with the standard 348bhp V6 twin-turbocharged model, with a four-wheel drive option badged Panamera 4 sitting above this as the sole petrol offerings. The three other models are plug-in hybrids: the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, 4S E-Hybrid and top-spec Turbo E-Hybrid – it’s likely other models will be added to the lineup over time.

No matter which version you plump for, you’re likely to find the Panamera a very easy car to live with. Its hatchback boot opening puts it at an advantage over the saloon-style bootlids of cars such as the Mercedes CLS. The only other large high-performance hatchback is the Audi S7 Sportback. None of these can match the Panamera for its unique selling point, though – truly stunning performance and handling. If you need even more space, a Sport Turismo estate version is also available with a less coupe-like roofline and more upright rear windscreen.

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The Porsche Panamera’s unique selling point is its impeccably sporty driving feel, even for a four-door saloon car – if comfort’s the main priority you’d be better off with a Mercedes S-Class.

Even in entry-level, rear-wheel drive guise, the standard Panamera is no slouch. It uses a turbocharged 2.9-litre petrol engine producing 348bhp, enabling 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds, while specifying the four-wheel drive Panamera 4 cuts this town to 5.0 seconds, and commands a £3,000 premium. Our experience with the Panamera 4 confirmed it as an impressive sports saloon, though the petrol V6 feels more sedate in the Panamera compared with its application in Audi RS models. 

The three plug-in hybrid cars, badged E-Hybrid, are all capable of up to 57-58 miles of electric driving from a single charge. There’s a Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with a 2.9-litre V6 and electric motor producing a healthy 464bhp, or the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid which features a tweaked version of that same combustion engine for a total output of 537bhp. The current range-topper as of early 2024 is the Turbo E-Hybrid, which combines a 4.0-litre V8 engine with the motor for a whopping 671bhp, with a similarly eye watering circa-£141,000 price tag.

It’s expected more versions of the Panamera will join the lineup as the facelifted range matures, though it’s unclear how many of these will be petrol or plug-in hybrid models.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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