The Porsche Panamera isn't the crazy bit of heresy that the Cayenne was. After all, a sedan/hatchback isn't as far a leap for a sports car maker as an SUV. But like the Cayenne, it's a Porsche, and that means it has to be sporty, even if it doesn't have two doors and an engine located anywhere but up front.
Now in its second generation, the Panamera takes a technological leap forward for 2017.
Technology helps this rather large car handle like a smaller car. The rear-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars, in particular, help it defy physics. The rear steering makes the car pivot through turns, while the roll bars keep the car flat in those corners. The Turbo model's air suspension also makes the car both sportier and more comfortable.
Engine performance is also improved. The 2017 Panamera gets a slate of new engines, consisting of a 440-horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-liter V-6, and a 550-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 in the Turbo model. The V-6 can launch the car from 0-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds, while the Turbo hits that mark in 3.4 seconds. A pair of hybrids are also available. The 416-hp 4 E-Hybrid features the V-6, while the V-8-powered, 680-hp Turbo S E-Hybrid sits at the top of the lineup. All engines are backed by a brilliant 8-speed automatic transmission.
2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport TurismoEnlarge Photo
2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-HybridEnlarge Photo
2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-HybridEnlarge Photo
Inside, the Panamera adds infotainment technology while losing a bit of that rear headroom that made the first-generation car look so awkward. The interior space makes the Panamera hatchback almost as utilitarian as an SUV, and the new Sport Turismo wagon body style gives it even more space (though not much).
The new infotainment features include a pair of 7-inch digital screens in the instrument cluster, a 12.3-inch center screen, Apple CarPlay, Google Maps view for the navigation system, and 4G LTE connectivity that enables a WiFi hotspot. It all brings the Panamera in line with the latest in connectivity.
Let's not forget, however, that the Panamera is a competitor for the likes of the BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and that means it comes loaded with equipment and luxurious amenities. With pricing that starts around $86,000, the Panamera should be well equipped.
Will all this be enough to make the Panamera the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2018? Check back on November 13 when we reveal our winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection, and Green Car Reports. The Car Connection is also announcing the best choices in 15 vehicle categories to help buyers pick the car that's right for them. Finally, we'll announce how our readers have voted in our annual Driver’s Choice awards at the same time.