You might think twice about racing it.
Every gearhead shares one common desire: to go faster. Like the smart salespeople that they are, the product developers at every single automaker know this, and as good gamblers they never reveal the full contents of their hand until we’re hooked on the game and willing to go all-in. However, now that buyers have proved to Porsche that there is a rather large market for the Panamera, it has upped the sedan's price. We wanted to know if it's still worth the premium, and thanks to Automobile we have the answer.
Automobile Magazine went to Germany to investigate the matter firsthand. What it found was that like on the 918 Spider, Stuttgart’s finest went above and beyond with techno crafting to make an incredible next-generation luxury car that, if our speculation is correct, could one day become the first four-door hypercar. To get the soul of the car right, Porsche will offer three engines at launch. There are three flavors, a 2.9-liter V6, and 4.0-liter V6, and a 4.0-liter V8 diesel engine, all of which will be fed by two turbochargers. Interestingly enough, Automobile notes that the 2.9-liter V6 makes more horsepower per liter than the V8 because it gets 29 psi of turbo boost while the 4.0-liter V8 only gets 20.3 psi.
Given that both the V6 and V8 have nearly identical architectures, this means that the V8 isn’t being pushed to full capacity. If the turbochargers were working at full capacity, the V8 gasoline engine could make upwards of 600 horsepower. If one of the two upcoming hybrid variants is geared for speed by using the electric portion of the 918 Spider’s drivetrain, then a top-of-the-line Panamera could make more than 850 horsepower, enough to make the fastest four-door sedan to ever lap the Nurburgring even faster. Just like Mercedes did, the Panamera’s engine is arranged in a hot-V configuration, which places the turbochargers between the cylinder banks to cut turbo lag and allow for smaller engine packaging.
As one might expect, housing two scalding turbos between two hot cylinder towers makes for a significant cooling challenge. To cope, the surrounding air is precisely routed. With active slats in the front grille, the Panamera can cut off the air feed or open it up to cool the engine, as well as provide a balance between the two. Once the air is inside the engine bay it doesn’t just fly around aimlessly. Instead, the intake and exhaust portions of the engine are boxed off to channel the air exactly where it needs to go. None of that would be any good without the Panamera’s ability to put down the power correctly. With all of that horsepower and weight to bear, friction can only do so much.
To help keep the car on the road, Porsche includes a torque vectoring differential that gives the driver another layer of confidence with being able to pull more Gs through a corner. The system works by using multiple clutch packs to send more power to the outside wheel than the inside, helping the car yaw, or swing into the corner as if it were rotating on a pole. The brain of the system is Porsche's own 4D Chassis Control, a system that takes into account the driver’s piloting style and the car’s settings to provide crisp and sharp cornering. Automobile says the previous 4D Chassis Control had two million lines of code to help dictate what the car's chassis systems should do. The New Panamera? It has over 100 million lines of code.
Many of these technologies come standard on supercars and high-end sports cars, but those cars can’t do it quite like the Porsche Panamera. That’s because the Porsche can speed through twists and turns with plenty of drama while keeping passengers cocooned in luxury and surrounded by convenience. Most of us car nuts fell for the BMW M5, the vehicle that started the four-door supercar craze, for the same reason as the Panamera. However, as a company that has spent its life innovating in attempt to make the wheel go faster, Porsche has raised the bar to a level that even the M5 can’t meet. If buyers keep feeding the beast we will likely see the Panamera evolve to become the first four-door hypercar