Porsche’s updated Panamera proves to be excellent value in base trim
Photos: Lionel Kong
It’s not very often that a Porsche is the most value-for-money buy in its segment, but in today’s convoluted automotive world, anything is really possible these days.
Of course, it depends on how you really define the segment that the Porsche Panamera sits in. In terms of offering the same level of style, luxury and performance though, there’s very few that can match it, as we’ll explain below.
The Panamera has recently been given a mild mid-life facelift, but cosmetically, the changes are limited to just a few small nips and tucks that are barely perceptible unless you squint. Apparently the front bumper air intakes are bigger now, while the lights have also been redesigned slightly.
The more significant changes are under the skin really. In base model form, as tested here, the Panamera features a new 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine, essentially the same unit that powers the monstrous Audi RS 5 Sportback. Unlike in the Audi though, the engine in the Panamera has been tuned down to produce ‘just’ 330hp and 450Nm of torque.
In effect, this gives the Panamera a somewhat more relaxed demeanour, but that’s not to say it is still incapable of delivering decent performance. 0-100km/h comes up in 5.4 seconds, while the car can reach a top speed of 270km/h, which are numbers not to be sniffed at.
What’s really impressive about the Panamera is its driving flexibility. It feels equally at home covering long distances on the highway, as it is carving through a winding road. Porsche says it has tweaked the Panamera’s PASM active suspension management system to improve its damping control, and the result is a car that glides over bumps as well as any luxury saloon you care to name. There’s a remarkable sense of composure and refinement with this car, which goes to underline how impressive a job the engineers at Porsche have pulled off.
Yet at the same time, the Panamera handles corners with the adeptness of any of the brand’s sports cars. Porsche claims to have also tweaked the PDCC dynamic chassis control system on the updated model to improve overall body stability, and the result is a car that feels incredibly balanced and agile, to the point where it’s easy to forget that you’re driving a 5-metre long luxury sedan.
And you do all that while settled in an interior that feels suitably premium and upmarket. There’s not a lot of updates inside here really, but there’s something about the Porsche interior ambience that makes it feel like a level above something from a BMW or Audi in terms of overall material fit and finish. That said, the infotainment system does come across as rather complicated to operate intuitively, with its multitude of functions that dominate the screen, all vying for your attention if you want to so much as set the navigation or radio settings.
Probably the most impressive trait of the base Panamera though is its value, with its retail price of S$380,388 without COE. Tack on about 50 grand or so for a Cat B COE and you’re looking at around S$430,000 to drive it home. That undercuts the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe by quite some margin, with prices for the 840i Gran Coupe starting at S$483,888 inclusive of COE.
There’s also the likes of the Mercedes-Benz CLS and Audi A7 Sportback if you’re looking for a sleek looking large executive four-door, and while those are closer in pricing to the Panamera, they don’t quite exactly match the Porsche’s sporting pretensions and performance ability.
Of course, there are numerous other Panamera variants that would jack up the price significantly, but even if you just go for the regular base model, there’s enough on offer to make it a compelling package, and the Panamera proves that keeping things basic doesn’t mean having to settle for a compromised product.
|Engine||2,894cc, V6, twin-turbocharged|
|Power||330hp at 5400-6400rpm|
|Torque||450Nm at 1800-5000rpm|
|VES Banding||C2 / +S$25,000|
|Price||S$380,388 without COE|
|Verdict:||Base model Panamera offers decent performance and a sporting drive, while delivering excellent value|