The 2017 Panamera Lays Claim to Segment Standards

The original Porsche Panamera came with very few expectations. It was the genesis of Porsche’s future of luxury, a deviation from performance-first values and an appeal to a new audience originally drawn in by the Cayenne SUV.

It didn’t greatly appeal to the purists, but the purists didn’t need it. Families with the affinity for the quality and style of Porsche saw it as right up their alley and influenced the Panamera to become a staple for the modern-day Porsche lineup. Its available all-wheel drive capabilities, comfort and size as well as ample power when wanted made it the premier luxury sedan option for a big crowd in just a few short years.

But after hitting refresh for the second-generation, it didn’t just reload the same page.

The 2017 Panamera is now coming loaded with expectations – lofty ones, at that. How can there not be when the claims are made of it being the “fastest luxury sedan on earth”? The statement is validated through lapping the famously-grueling Nürburgring test track, where the new Panamera Turbo claimed the record for the quickest time by a sedan. The 7:38 clocking puts it among supercars like the Lexus LFA and Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera, cars painstakingly tested almost solely for achievement on the track.

It’s pretty unlikely, however, to find the new Panamera dominating your local track day. It can, but that’s not what it’s for.

Funneling the history of Porsche performance into a luxury package is what the Panamera has been expected to accomplish. 400 and 500 horsepower was achieved from the outset, and now it has reached a wild 680, but it went hand-in-hand with a fundamentally practical hatchback layout that was comfortable for four adults. Those passengers aren’t just accounted for, they’re treated.

Revisions inside the Panamera’s spacious cabin are not exactly subtle, but are thematic. The driver’s main focus is the redesigned steering wheel that was carried over from the 918 Spyder hypercar into most subsequently-released Porsches. But redesigning everything around the driver was a broader challenge.

The ascending center console is brought up to date with the new Panamera, its design familiar but its interface entirely reimagined. Once an overwhelming abundance of buttons and controls, the console is now streamlined with touch features, again predated to the 918. The rear passengers can be delighted to more of the same, with an optional four-zone climate system that actually equips both media and navigation interfaces as well.

The front console leads into a massively redesigned technology center that spans a significant portion of the driver’s field of view. Entirely configurable, the infotainment displays will boldly readout navigation directions, vehicle settings and information and a selection of car-friendly apps that operate like a familiar mobile interface and caters to the ever-connected. Not vital to the driving experience, no, but the delimitation of accessibility within the new Panamera keeps it as the benchmark for its class and satisfies you from asking anything more.

But “more” is what the Panamera always delivers. Going beyond the expectation of the everyday luxury sedan vaulted it from quite literally nowhere to now the forefront of the luxury market. The history of Porsche was not written by the Panamera, but it is now a co-author of the future of it. And its future looks pretty darn good.

2017’s Panamera isn’t just bells and whistles, it isn’t just more efficient and powerful engines. What most makes the new Panamera more attractive is that…it’s more attractive.

The facelift is as the term can best be applied, the latest socially-acclaimed design language translates well to the Panamera. The rear fascia shows more like a 911 and backs the concept of the Panamera being a four-door luxury sports car. Its track is widened for a forceful road presence and overall is raked 20mm lower at the rear for a traditional coupe-like silhouette. It looks familiar, but better than you remember.

That feeling reflects across every surface of the new Panamera, with some changes blending in and others standing out; but combined as a whole, they deliver the best luxury four-door on the market.