The base engine in the 4S model is a 2.9-liter V-6 that is basically a cut down version of the V-8. That makes it a 90-degree V-6, which leaves room for the turbos in the hot V. By their nature, V-6s are best balanced when they have a 60-degree angle, so Porsche makes up for this by adding a balance shaft to limit vibrations.
The 2.9 does not have cylinder deactivation but it does have two profiles of lift on the intake cam compared to one for the V-8. The V-6 produces 440 horsepower and 405 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 5,550 rpm, which, again, represent gains of 20 horses and 21 pound-feet over the twin-turbo 3.0-liter it replaces. A whopping 29 psi of boost pressure helps make all that power, and the S can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a scant 4.0 seconds.
Every Panamera sends its power to all four wheels through an all-new dual-clutch 8-speed transmission. It replaces an 8-speed automatic in the outgoing model, and it adds an extra gear to Porsche’s existing so-called PDK.
That’s not to say that it’s related. Compared to that transmission, the new PDK is shift by wire and has four shafts instead of two. The two additional shafts allow fifth gear and seventh gear as well as sixth gear and eighth gear to share the same gear seats. Without the need for additional gear sets, the new transmission is 5.6 inches shorter than the 8-speed automatic it replaces, despite the fact that Porsche has allowed room within the housing for an electric motor (the previous hybrid also used a automatic). The extra shafts add about 15 more pounds of weight.
Porsche says it considered 9- and 10-speed transmissions, but felt that eight gears was optimal. The extra gear increases the gear ratio spread from 10.71 to 11.17, adds a second overdrive, and, according to Porsche, cuts fuel consumption by 1.7 percent versus the previous unit.
A performance luxury car needs the latest in electronics, and the Panamera has them thanks to an all-new electrical architecture. The instrument cluster features an analog tachometer front and center flanked by a pair of configurable 7-inch instrument panel screens that are controlled by buttons on either side of the steering wheel. Each screen has two “tubes” or slots for gauges and information. The left side shows speed and vehicle assist features, while the right side displays vehicle information and other forms of info, including a small navigation screen.
2017 Porsche Panamera, Technical Backgrounder, July 2016Enlarge Photo
The center screen is a new 12.3-inch unit touchscreen with a proximity sensor that awakens function trees along the left side. This screen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and it has redundant controls in the form of voice commands and some physical buttons just below it. Porsche’s new navigation system can show Google Earth and Street views.
The new touch interface reduces the number of buttons considerably. Altogether these touch controls are called the Porsche Advanced Cockpit. That concept extends to the rear seat, where buyers who order the 4-zone climate control system get a touchscreen of their own to control the climate system and their own infotainment functions.
Other new connectivity features consist of 4G LTE connectivity that enables a WiFi hotspot, a suite of in-car apps, a Porsche Connect smartphone app, and the ability to pair two cell phones at once.
New safety systems start with a night vision assistant that detects people and animals with a thermal imaging camera and warns the driver with a display in the instrument panel. Also offered are adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and a surround view camera system. A new system called InnoDrive uses navigation data and signals from radar and video sensors to compute and activate the optimal acceleration and deceleration rates, gear selections, and coasting phases for the next 1.8 miles.
“It was courageous and good and right to ignore the Golden Rule,” Dr. Gernot Doellner, vice president for the Panamera product line, told a group of reporters at the Panamera background briefing. We’re pretty confident that Porsche can handle the manufacturing challenges of breaking the Golden Rule.
Given its abundance of technology—100 million lines of code and 42 additional control modules—our only question is: Will all that tech take the control and feel away from the driver and give it to the computer? As we enter what appears to be the next step in the evolution of Porsche, let’s hope not.