The air springs work in conjunction with Porsche Active Suspension Management, which is Porsche’s term for adaptive shock absorbers. These carry over, but Porsche says new lighter dampers improve responsiveness and increase the spread between comfort and sport settings.
Of course, Porsche added two systems to help the car handle better, too. These consist of rear-axle steering and active stabilizer bars. The rear steering system moves the rear tires up to 2.8 degrees in the opposite direction of the front tires at low speeds to help the car turn more sharply and effective shorten its wheelbase. At higher speeds, the rears turn in conjunction with the fronts, though to a lesser degree, for greater stability.
The active roll bars are called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport. This system uses electric motors that put a load into the front and rear active roll bars to stiffen them in a corner and thus keep the car from leaning too much.
The Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus system carries over as an option. It uses both an active rear differential and targeted breaking of the inside wheel to send the power to the outside wheel in a corner to help the car rotate.
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All of these systems are controlled through a master brain that the company calls Porsche 4D Chassis Control. Basically, this system makes sure all of the systems work together to create the best ride and handling characteristics for the situation. Porsche says the four dimensions of 4D include the three spacial axes (x,y, and z), plus real-time control.
All of this control requires a lot more computer programming to make it all work. Porsche says that the car’s total lines of code have increased from 2 million to 100 million and the control module count increases from 70 to 112. Of course the code includes engine and infotainment programming, but the various chassis controls certainly contribute considerably to that increase.
2017 Porsche Panamera, Technical Backgrounder, July 2016Enlarge Photo
Wheels, tires, and brakes have also been upgraded. While the last model used 18-, 19-, and 20-inch wheels, those sizes increase an inch this time around. The wheels are also a half inch wider and they are mounted on staggered tires. Tire sizes for the 4S are 265/45/R19s front and 295/40/R19s rear, while the Turbo gets 275/40/R20 front and 315/35/R20 rear tires. Porsche also offers optional 21-inch tires with the same profiles as the 20s. Tire choices include a specially made Michelin Pilot Sport 4.
Porsche increased the size of the master cylinder to improve brake feel on all models. The 4S model’s brake rotors stay the same size at 14.2 and 13 inches in diameter front and rear, but the Turbo’s rotors grow 0.8 inch up front and 1.2 inches in the rear, bringing the totals to 16.1 and 15 inches, respectively. Buyers who order the optional carbon ceramic brakes get massive 16.5-inch front and 15.3-inch rear rotors with 10(!)-piston calipers.
2017 Porsche PanameraEnlarge Photo
Engines and transmission
The 2017 Panamera gets two new engines, both related to each other and to the Audi 4.0-liter V-8. The Turbo model comes with a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that puts out 550 horsepower and 567 lb-ft of torque from 1,960 to 4,500 rpm. Horsepower is up by 30 and torque increases by 51 lb-ft. It should be noted, however, that this engine does not have the overboost feature that increased torque to 568 lb-ft for short bursts in the outgoing engine.
The new 90-degree V-8 has the turbos mounted in the “hot V” between the cylinder heads, and it features cylinder deactivation to shut down four cylinders during cruising to save fuel. The direct injection system’s increase from 2,030 psi to 3626 psi allows for even better control of fuel burn. The new twin-scroll turbos put out 20.3 psi of boost pressure, but, as we will see, there is room for improvement in a likely Turbo S model.
Not that the 4.0 needs much improvement. It can rocket the Panamera Turbo from 0 to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.