Speed and refinement have been upgraded in numerous ways in Porsche’s large sedan.
The fourth-generation (G4) four-door flagship Porsche Panamera will debut in early 2024 for its final seven-year life cycle before the arrival of the all-electric version on the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP) around 2020. As the Sport Turimso’s sales have fallen below 10%, the company has decided to simply provide one body style this time around.
With the addition of the Turbo PHEV, the trend toward plug-in hybrid vehicles continues. We took the 680-horsepower top model up into the mountains north of Barcelona, where we also tested out the updated 353-horsepower base model. All powertrain output values presented here are estimates only; final confirmation is anticipated closer to production.
Plans for the Next-Gen Panamera
“Making a very good car even better sounds like the easiest trick in the book but is almost always a huge challenge,” explains project leader Thomas Friemuth. “Chassis, drivetrain, and interior were the primary areas of development for the G3. The Panamera’s personality hasn’t changed a bit, yet it’s faster, smoother, and more fun to drive than ever thanks to advancements in technology.The lightly disguised prototype cars don’t stand out much from the present crop at first inspection. However, if you take a closer look, you’ll see beefier fenders and side panels, piercing HD matrix headlights, redesigned 20- and 21-inch wheels, and full-width taillights that can include an illuminated Porsche emblem.
The New Panamera Behind the Wheel
To begin with which model shall we look? Start the day off in the bare minimum V-6. Don’t be shocked by the six-figure price tag; the 2024 model has been upgraded with 25 more hp and Porsche’s Active Suspension Management (PASM) system, which features two-valve dampers and semi-active double-chamber air springs. Which is true? It is conditional upon the current drive mode. Sport Plus is noticeably firmer than before, whereas Normal is slightly more forgiving to the touch. Friemuth enthusiastically exclaims, “Exactly!” The purpose of the new framework is to increase coverage. You don’t want to make the ride any harsher than it already is in a sport-luxury vehicle like this one, and there’s no longer any reason to use the softer Comfort setting.
The seats, for example, have recently been upgraded to be more comfortable. A new liftoff mode has been added to the eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, which shifts down gently until a complete stop is reached. In addition, additional insulation from the cowl to the bulkhead and acoustic absorbers in the roof significantly lowered the ambient noise level.
The 2.9-liter V-6’s power and torque delivery are merely adequate, and it is neither refined nor torquey nor efficient. While it may not be able to propel the (claimed) 4310-pound Panamera to a high speed of 181 mph, it will nonetheless accelerate to 62 mph in an estimated 5.2 seconds. You can get even rowdier sounds in the cabin by pairing the Sport exhaust with the two-stage synthesizer that comes as an option.
A 10.9-inch central screen and a corresponding passenger-side monitor flank a fully digital curved instrument panel with three huge round dials in the updated cockpit. The gear lever, like the one in the Cayenne, is a short, stubby thing that has been moved from the console to the dashboard for convenience. Thanks to some repackaging and a more compact subwoofer, the back trunk now has enough room for two extra-large golf bags.
The gas-electric Turbo S follows, which features an eight-cylinder electric motor. We anticipate roughly 680 horsepower, which would leave room for the anticipated 750-hp Turbo S E-Hybrid arriving later next year, despite Porsche’s reticence to reveal the exact specification. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine uses mono-scroll turbochargers, which help to cut emissions and increase fuel economy. Oil, rather than water, is used to cool the electric motors, which allows for an increase from 45 to 80 kilowatts of maximum energy regeneration and a corresponding increase from 134 to 188 horsepower in electric motor power.
Parallel to this rise in predicted zero-emissions range from 39 to around 53 miles on the European test cycle, the battery capacity improves from 17.9 to 25.9 kilowatt-hours (an estimated 14.3 to 20.6 kilowatt-hours in useable terms). It’s still too soon to tell how any American model will be rated, but if a 2023 Panamera 4S E-Hybrid received the same boost, the EPA’s estimate for its plug-in range would rise from 19 miles to 26. The upgrade to a larger, 11-kW onboard charger complements the larger battery by allowing Level 2 charging to be completed in as little as two to three hours.
The new Porsche Active Ride suspension is an option for all Panamera PHEVs; it consists of air springs with a single chamber and dampers with two valves. “This is a fully active system,” Friemuth says. Except while in aggressive cornering mode, the vehicle maintains a perfectly straight attitude. Simultaneously, a 1.5-degree anti-dive and anti-squat mechanism greatly reduces the likelihood of any unwelcome torso motion. The need for heavy, complicated, and expensive hydraulically adjustable anti-roll bars is also eliminated by the single-chamber design. The ability to raise or lower the ride height by 55 millimeters (2.2 inches) is a welcome addition that facilitates getting in and out. Although the steering is same, it has been re-calibrated for a smoother ride and a more progressive action on and around center. Once again, carbon-ceramic braking systems are the norm.
The V-8 Turbo E-Hybrid, as could be expected, is a very different beast from the standard model. A downside is that it’s about 1100 pounds heavier than the V-6. To their credit, their combined torque of 665 pound-feet can’t wait to nullify the rules of physics. With a full charge and Sport Plus engaged, the high-performance GT can supposedly reach 62 mph in 3.3 seconds. It is reported to have a top speed of over 190 mph (the next Turbo S E-Hybrid should approach 200 mph).