Porsche’s executive sports sedan, the 971-chassis Panamera, was introduced in 2016 as the first car to ride on the chassis Bentley now uses for the Flying Spur and Continental GT. It was the first car in the Porsche lineup to feature the now ubiquitous Porsche interior with touch-sensitive center console and wide sweeping dashboard displays. The car feels like it was introduced fairly recently, but this is likely due to the time compression we all experienced during 2020. In point of fact, the 971 Panamera is already five years old, and as such, it’s ready for a bit of Hollywood-style reshaping. It just needs a little help from a plastic surgeon to keep everything tight, you know?
A prototype of the new facelifted Panamera was spotted near Porsche’s Zuffenhausen headquarters, bearing all of the hallmarks of what BMW would call a “Life Cycle Impulse” but every normal automaker refers to as a refresh or face-lift. Looking back at the first 970-generation Panamera, it was introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model year, and saw its first face-lift in 2013. The timeline for the current model, then, seems to have gotten an extra year out of its current aesthetic design. And with Pana sales losing out big time to Porsche’s new four-door on the block, the all-electric Taycan, the big brother could use a bit of work to pump its numbers again.
This prototype packs some interesting aesthetic choices to the front. For the first time Porsche has added a large full-width air intake above the license plate for the Panamera, and there are larger intakes on the sides of the bumper to feed a pair of big intercoolers. As with any face-lift, much of the sheet metal is carried over for ease and cost of using the same stampings, but plastic bumpers and light signatures are comparatively easy to change. This new car also has a new horizontal strip daytime running light. Out back there are minimal changes, with a nice pair of trapezoidal tailpipes framed by new bumper outlets. It’s easy to see that this will still be a handsome car, and everything you liked about the current Panamera will likely be carried over. The prototype’s dashboard is covered by some fabric meant to obscure it, which indicates that the updated Panamera will also be getting a few minor interior changes, likely shifting to ape the Taycan more closely, and perhaps introduce a few new features.
There is nothing yet to indicate that the Panamera will be getting any new drivetrain features. You’ll still be able to choose from Panamera, Panamera 4, Panamera 4S, Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, Panamera 4S E-Hybrid, Panamera GTS, Panamera Turbo S, and Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid in standard sedan, Executive long wheelbase, or Sport Turismo wagon body styles.
Is this face-lift enough to get you to trade in your old Panamera for a new one? More critically, is it enough to get you to trade your 7-series or S-class for a new Panamera? Porsche hopes so.