Although it isn’t perceived to be as grandiose as its other German brethren in the same category, it is one of the most track-worthy.
With a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 engine unconventionally mounted at the front (for Porsches) and powering the rear wheels, the Panamera is also the German sports car maker’s most versatile of sedans.
This entry-level Panamera starts with a base price of RM890,000 and our four-seater review unit came dressed in Sapphire Blue Metallic while sporting over RM140,000 worth of options.
This includes 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels, Sport Chrono Package, soft-closure doors, surround view cameras, black leather interior, quad-zone climate controls, an ioniser and front seat massage function with ventilation to name a few.
It is hard to stare past its sporty long hood and fastback rear end because it’s stately outlook is there - among its 911 design elements that all Porsches must have.
Though, with that rear rear wing deployed, it might need a longer stare-time to see it.
Not to mention, the optional 21-inch 911 Turbo design wheels for some bling does fill up the wheel-wells very adequately while the front end possesses those signature quad-LED main headlights from the 918 Spyder.
With its 2,995cc turbocharged V6 engine mounted under the front hood providing the rear wheels with 330hp from 5,400 to 6,400rpm and 450Nm from 1,340 to 4,900rpm via eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission, 0-100kph is achieved in 5.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 264kph.
On the combined cycle, the Panamera is able achieve 7.5-7.6 litres per 100km, but since we only had it for the day, it's rather hard to gauge how long its 90-litre fuel tank can really hold out.
Porsche has done well in providing that luxury touch with the inclusion of soft-closure doors, keyless entry, powered tailgate and this writer’s favourite - front seats with massage function and ventilation, especially during mid-day drives.
The futuristic Advance Cockpit that consist of an analogue tachometer flanked by 7.0-inch displays are crisp and highly visible.
Not to mention, the shiny piano-black surface of the pressure-sensitive buttons on the centre tunnel up-scales the premium factor.
This helps to declutter the look compared to its predecessor, but be wary, the surface is a very strong finger print magnet.
If spaciousness is a concern, then the Panamera might not be the one, instead, this car represents that mature ‘racer’ who appreciates the pairing of luxury refinement and race-like dynamism.
But even though it may not have copious amounts of cabin space or stupendously plush seats, this highway cruiser (or cornering rocket) does have an accommodating cabin than expected, thanks to the longer, wider and taller dimensions.
Although the curvaceous rear end looks short, it is able to provide a decent 495 litres of luggage space for those long weekend getaways.
The seats very well bolstered, but not too plush with just enough firmness to allow the car to remain communicative.
Despite the lack of perceived space, the cabin is more cosy than cramped with plenty of shoulder room to go about.
This is strictly a four-seater, by-the-way, and as such the seats are meant to secure passengers in while the driver attempts to sling shot everyone through a corner.
Ride & Handling
The experience gathered with this sporty luxury cruiser is that it is incredibly fast even when in nOrmal mode.
This sporty cruiser's suspension, even on 21-inch wheels with low profile front 275/35 and rear 315/30 series Pirelli P Zero performance tyres, mitigates bumps and uneven road surfaces exceptionally well when in nOrmal mode.
The vented seats will come in handy for those scintillatingly hot days while paddling through the eight-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (Double-clutch) gearbox that has race-like jerks on the upshifts under full acceleration when in Sport+ mode.
Yet, it can be a gentle cruiser with surprisingly lavish amounts of comfort from its adaptive air suspension.
On the other end of the spectrum, switching over to Sport+ mode gets a race-like experience with abrupt gear changes and a freely revving engine - all of which means that the word 'comfort' has been thrown out of its vocabulary.
As large as it may seem, the Panamera with its roughly 1.8-ton kerb weight, feels especially nimble around corners, which will have inexperienced owners wide-eyed and bushy-tailed thanks to the communicative steering and rather flat cornering behaviour.
Although the brakes aren’t cross drilled, giving them a tap will have them feeling firm and direct while stomping deep into the pedal will provide quite a mean bite.
So, to truly enjoy the Panamera in all its glory, it really needs to be allowed onto a race circuit every once in a while.
Other than the usual safety equipment of airbags, anti-lock braking system, electronic brakeforce distribution and such, the Panamera's safety is further bolstered by the inclusion of an adaptive air suspension system with a new three-chamber technology.
Also included is an electronic active suspension management damper control system, dynamic chassis control sport system, torque vectoring, active roll stabilisation and a new electromechanical steering system.
All that, while an integrated 4D Chassis Control system analyses and synchronises all chassis systems in real time to optimise its road-going performance.
Price and Equipment: Porsche Panamera (971 - G2) second generation
Standard features (RM890,000): 90-litre fuel tank, ParkAssist including reverse camera, power Steering Plus, wheel centres with full -colour Porsche Crest, Adaptive air suspension including Porsche Active Suspension Management, LED-headlights with Porsche Dynamic Light System Plus.
Options (RM140,430.08 with GST): Metallic colour (Sapphire Blue Metallic), leather interior (Black Leather), Matrix beam for headlights, model designation in black, automatically dimming mirrors with integrated rain sensor, tinted LED taillights with lightstrip, painted external mirrors, keyless entry with twist-start key (Comfort Access), surround view, Sport Chrono Package, leather interior, soft-close doors, powered sun-blinds for rear and rear side windows, quad-zone climate controls, 14-way powered front seats with heating, ventilation, massage function and two memory slots, brushed aluminium accents, Porsche Crest embossed headrests, ambient lighting with interior lighting package for rear compartment, rear USB interface, ioniser, model logo embossed on centre console armrests, eight-way powered rear seats with two memory slots, matching body colour key fob, leather black leather key pouch with Crayon stitching, Bose surround sound system, 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels with 275/35 (front) and 315/30 (rear) series Pirelli P Zero tyres.
The car comes with four years with a four-year free service and maintenance package.
Regardless of its size and heft, the drive is worth the experience - somewhat similar in terms of predictability and behaviour with crisp turn-ins and a planted rear end as compared to its more sportier stablemates.
Other than the sporty nature that it has been imbued with, the luxury touches accorded by this German sports car builder needs commendation.
But while it may be a mere entry-level Panamera, it is a good starting point for most inexperienced drivers to progress onwards before helming the more potent Panamera 4S.
Regardless of variant, owners can head to the track for some practice or relax and cruise about in traffic.
The Panamera is simply something that owners will definitely prefer being seen driving in rather than emerging from.