2017 Porsche Panamera deep dive

Editor’s warning: This article contains some geeky in-depth engineering information about what makes the 2017 Porsche Panamera tick. Reading it puts you in danger of learning more about this car than you thought you might want to know.

What is the Golden Rule? Treat others as you would like to be treated, right? Not according to Porsche. The German sports car maker says the Golden Rule is to never release a new car with new engines and a new platform built in a new plant.

With the 2017 Panamera, Porsche is breaking that rule, but we get the feeling this new Panamera will treat owners how they want to be treated.

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We learned some of the details of the Panamera just a few weeks ago, but Porsche is so proud of its new luxury sedan (actually, it’s a hatchback) that it invited Motor Authority to Dresden, Germany for a deep dive into what makes the second-generation Panamera tick.

The first-generation Panamera was a fabulous car that delivered both luxury and performance in an admittedly odd looking package. It was a car that only needed some tweaks to the design and perhaps the electronics to make it great. Porsche is going far beyond that, though, as the company claims the only things that carry over are the idea of a sport sedan, the name, and the Porsche badge.

2017 Porsche Panamera

2017 Porsche Panamera

Body and platform

The 2017 Panamera is the first vehicle on Volkswagen Group’s new MSB modular platform. Porsche says it is capable of accommodating up to three wheelbases and two of those will likely be used for the Panamera. The U.S. market gets what will be the short wheelbase first, though at 116.1 inches it is 1.2 inches longer than the outgoing model’s wheelbase. The track is increased slightly front and rear as well.

Porsche is employing a multi-material approach to build a lighter, stiffer body. Aluminum is used for 31 percent of the body, including the outer skin, and high-strength Boron steel makes up another 31 percent of the body. The entire exterior skin is aluminum, which saves about 30 pounds. All told, the material mix saves 144 pounds while also giving the structure 8 percent more torsional stiffness. The whole body in white weighs in at 738 pounds.

2017 Porsche Panamera

2017 Porsche Panamera

The car also has active aerodynamic components. Up front it gets active grille shutters that close at higher speeds for improved aerodynamics and during startup to help the engine warm up quicker. At the back is an active rear spoiler that rises to an “Eco” position when the grille shutters close at speed. At 124 mph, the spoiler changes to a “Max” position, the shutters open, and the car lowers a few millimeters. The rear spoiler splits and extends outward on the Turbo model, making it twice as big.

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2017 Porsche Panamera

2017 Porsche Panamera


The base suspension of the 2017 Panamera is little changed from the outgoing model. It consists of a double-wishbone front suspension and a four-link rear suspension with coil springs. Like the outgoing car, the Turbo model comes standard with air springs.

However, Porsche aimed to add more luxury to the Panamera’s considerable performance. The air springs now have three chambers instead of two and they push 60 percent more air volume, giving them a greater range of control, including more room along the comfort spectrum. Porsche says the new Panamera now competes directly with its closest competitors in terms of comfort. That’s saying a lot, given its main rivals include the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7-Series.

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