Although it may not be a 911, the 2019 Porsche Panamera has all of the key ingredients which makes the premium luxury five-door a true Porsche.
In Porsche’s 89-year history, the Porsche Cayenne, Porsche Macan, and the 2019 Porsche Panamera in this review weren’t Porsche’s first go at diversification to offer more choices for its customers besides the Porsche 911, which they have been making for 57 years now. Besides making road cars, Porsche is also head-deep into motorsports, which is the company’s main core value.
Most importantly, all of the learnings and winnings translate back into the road cars they sell in the showrooms. These include mastering the turbocharger, refining petrol-electric hybrid systems and more recently, learning to win races with battery-electric drivetrains.
What is it?
It goes without saying that Porsche cars are indeed all about performance and driving enjoyment. The Porsche Panamera in this review comes with a 3.0-litre V6 engine with direct-injection and a twin-scroll turbocharger, making 325 bhp and 450 Nm of torque. It may not sound like much on paper, but in the real world, it is pretty adequate.
While driving at cruising speeds, the sound of the V6 engine is not evident. But as the right pedal sinks further in, the V6 howls to the redline, and when you lift the throttle, you are able to hear a slight blow-off valve sneeze if you pay attention.
The eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission sends power seamlessly to the rear wheels and is paired nicely with the 3.0-litre V6’s torquey nature. The first six gears are spaced closely for performance, while the seventh and eighth are for cruising. It is a reminder that the Panamera does performance just as well as comfort and practicality.
Moreover, the Porsche Panamera’s fastback design allows a large aperture rear hatch opening into the 500-litre boot space which isn’t vast. Drop the 40:20:40 split-folding seats and the space increases up to 1,340-litres.
Being in tune with the times, the interior of the Panamera is all screens with fewer buttons. The Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system is friendly to use especially when pairing your smartphone for Bluetooth telephony or music streaming or setting up AppleCarPlay. The 12.3-inch touchscreen and many of the buttons are within the driver and front passenger’s reach.
And, for the driver’s eyes only are two configurable seven-inch TFT displays flanking an analogue rev counter. Both screens tell many of the car’s current driving information such as tyre pressure and temperature, engine vitals, navigation map, and G-force meter, which are a few among many.
For a full-size luxury saloon, vast occupant space is a given be it at the front or especially at the rear. And for a saloon, you’ll find it weird to find sport seats at the front and rear. But what you feel when you sit in them is quite a contrast.
The 14-way power-adjustable front seats not only offer comfort over long periods of driving but also comes with comprehensive massage modes ranging from ‘Stretch’ to ‘Shiatsu’. It feels much like the mild setting on a home massage chair on the maximum setting but doesn’t impede driving.
There’s also three memory presets including saving your preferred position in the key fob (or each one if you’re giving the second one to your significant other). But with all that, the seats also provide much lateral support like in many two-door Porsche models. Not forgetting they come with heating and ventilation as standard, where the latter is much need for our hot and humid climate.
You’ll experience the Panamera’s duality, the driver-centric interior layout and ergonomics, the view ahead is unobstructed which enables easy placement of the large saloon on the road. Even if you do end up in tight and narrow paths, the Panamera comes with a 360-degree camera and proximity sensors to help you guide through. Moreover, Porsche ParkAssist can help you park the car itself.
Ride wise, there’s a good sense of isolation from the world outside and having the plush ride is surprising considering that the Panamera tested is fitted with optional 21-inch Panamera SportDesign wheels, wrapped in Continental ContiSportContact tyres.
This is thanks to the adaptive air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) feels supple and far from crashy even in its firmest setting, with imperceptible body roll when going around corners at high speeds. The Panamera has a neutral handling balance with a generous traction budget well within the car’s performance capabilities.
That said, the Panamera is agile and forgiving when driven spiritedly, though the Electric Power Steering doesn’t provide a whole lot of feedback.
Should I buy one?
The 2019 Porsche Panamera isn’t much on who has the biggest output. But rather, it is all about the connectedness between the driver and the road while being in control while driving at the limit, which you can still do a lot with 325 bhp. It does have the Porsche essence and all the creature comforts to go with.
Tester’s Note: It is ultimately a premium luxury saloon and a sports car mixed into what’s called a Panamera. It handles the part and goes like one too. Moreover, being able to haul two more people and luggage at the rear is a big plus, and this base model is just right. However, I’d wager that the 4S would a better fit for Malaysian roads.
2019 Porsche Panamera (CBU)
Price From RM 890,000
On sale Now
Engine 2,995 V6, twin-scroll turbocharger, direct fuel injection
Power 325 bhp @ 5,400-6,400 rpm
Torque 450 Nm @ 1,340 – 4,900 rpm
Gearbox 8-spd PDK dual-clutch transmission
Kerb weight 1,890 kg (kerb)
Top speed 264 km/h (Claimed)
0-100km/h 5.7 seconds (Tested)
Porsche Panamera Gallery