Last weekend, during Monterey Car Week, we were given a chance to step into the future and check out the new Panamera in the flesh. This Porsche is a beauty that everyone seems to agree is much more beautiful than the model it replaces. It was nice to get an opportunity to look at the curves of the Panamera in the sheetmetal, and even a chance to get behind the wheel and check out some of the new features.
We managed to get a sit-down with Porsche's Panamera product manager, Mike DePetro. Mike walked us through all of the need-to-know updates, including the new generation PCM, and center stack. As with the last generation of Porsche interior design, the Panamera will lead a sea change that will trickle down to the next generation of Porsche cars. The center-stack in particular will make its way to the entire Porsche lineup, so your next sports car might well have touch-sensitive center console buttons, and it will definitely have the new 12.5 inch screen to control basically everything else on the car. The new PCM even controls the direction of the HVAC vents, that's how integrated it is.
Mike told us there are seven total interior trim pieces that the Panamera (and other future models) will see. You've got your normal brushed aluminum, piano black, and carbon fiber, but there are four different wood trims available for you to choose if you like. There are also fifteen available exterior paint colors at launch, with future special edition colors likely, and paint-to-sample always an option.
The new Panamera line-up launches with the all-wheel-driven Turbo and 4S models. We were told that there will not be a rear-wheel-drive Panamera S, and the upcoming base car will have a new engine that has not previously been used in a Panamera (though no more information was given). The GTS will make a return, but no word was given on drivetrain, power output, or release date. Don't bet on a naturally aspirated engine, though. If I were a betting man, I'd say the Turbo S, S e-Hybrid, and long-wheelbase Executive models will return as well.
Speaking of things that the Panamera will bring to the Porsche's future model lineup, this is the new-design lower-profile key fob. This key will make its way across all of Porsche's cars in coming years, and may point to a wider-hipped, lower-greenhouse design culture for upcoming sports cars. Personally, I like this key much better than the one it replaces.
The Panamera's rear hatch area seems larger than the current model, and has a lower lip for easier loading and unloading, especially of heavy items. The hatch is fully powered, so you shouldn't have to worry about exerting force to close or open the hatch when you're hauling bags of groceries.
The Panamera's new seats include heat, cooling, and even massage functions, bringing the Panamera up to speed with its contemporary competition in the performance sedan category. The new Turbo is pretty heavy at an indicated 4400 pounds, but it still sprints to sixty in under 4 seconds, so you shouldn't worry about performance. Porsche indicated that most of their customer base was looking for a more comfortable car in this price range, so they created a traditionally-Porsche take on the problem by making a metrically impressive car with great roadholding (due to the widest tires in the segment), appropriate acceleration, and braking. That 'ring time they set last month is no joke, and proves that the Panamera is a serious performance machine.
When it was first shown off, everyone went nutty for the new three-piece fold out rear spoiler. Those of us who know Porsche will recognize this as technology carried over from the current Panamera, but exaggerated with larger pieces of sheetmetal. It is an attractive design, whether the spoiler is up or retracted.
What more do you want to know about the new Panamera? We'll do our best to get an answer for you as quickly as we can.