Traditionally, diesel cars were only used by taxi drivers, tradesmen and truck drivers.
So the loud diesel clutter has come to be associated with such professions, which explains why the sales of diesel-powered luxury cars have struggled.
But for every problem, there’s a solution, and the answer to our perception comes in the form of the Porsche Panamera Diesel.
The Panamera is selling well in Malaysia and among the best cars to be chauffeured around in.
Without the diesel insignia, it would be quite hard to tell the difference between a Panamera diesel and a regular petrol-powered model.
The biggest revelation about the Panamera diesel is that it does not sound like a diesel engine, either inside or outside.
No annoying diesel clutter, no sounding like a taxi or a truck, nothing!
The Panamera diesel is as silent as any other petrol engine and that’s quite a feat.
This is probably the most silent diesel car in Malaysia today.
However, the car retains the two jewels that define diesel as the fuel of tomorrow – power and economy.
With 250hp and a massive 550Nm of torque available from just 1,750rpm, this Panamera is no slouch.
It does the charge to 100km/h in 6.8 seconds while cocooning you in serenity and first-class luxury.
Of course, this being the top of the line Porsche, you can customise the interior to suit your style, the only limit being the size of your bank account, of course.
When it comes down to power, the Panamera diesel is not left wanting, even when you are cruising at over 160km/h, the eight-speed gearbox will still shift down and unleash more power to meet your demands, and it won’t stop till it hits its top speed of 242km/h, a figure that’s easily achievable on the right kind of roads.
The beauty of the diesel engine is that it’s incredibly fuel efficient as well. Official Porsche figures say that the Panamera diesel sips just 6.5-litres of diesel for every 100km travelled.
The figure goes lower to 6.3-litres if you opt for the 19-inch wheels with roll resistance tyres, but history has shown that manufacturer’s tend to sugar coat their figures, so the only way to test that claim was to try it for ourselves.
So, as soon as we picked up the car from Sime Darby Auto Performance Sdn Bhd in Glenmarie, Selangor, the importer and distributor of everything Porsche in Malaysia, we hit the highway enroute to Seremban and back.
Given a full tank of diesel at our disposal, we explored the potential of the car.
At the end of the day, the fuel needle was down by just a quarter and we still had a range of over 650km, and that was amazing considering what we put the car through.
It’s hard to believe what Porsche has achieved here.
Porsche representatives highlighted the fact that the engine wasn’t just re-tuned to work with “dirtier” diesel, but in fact, it was designed to run on our grade diesel. And that’s one of the reasons why the Panamera diesel works so well.
It’s also hard to build a case against this car.
Not only is the powertrain the answer to expensive fuel but the interior itself is a great place to be in.
The build-quality is among the best the car industry has to offer; the design, though a little overwhelming thanks to the plethora of dials and switches, is futuristic and one that can’t seem to get old, not for now at least.
Our car came with all the option boxes checked, and although it costs over a RM100,000 more than the standard model, it’s a worthy price considering all that it offers.
At RM740,000, the Panamera diesel is exactly the same price as its petrol-powered brethren.
Though it loses out on the acceleration time to the petrol-powered Panamera, the long term savings are substantial.
Combined with the performance and technology that makes this diesel car as quiet and capable as a petrol powered car, it’s apparent that diesel is ultimately the way to go when it comes to savings and power.