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A luxury saloon with qualities of a sports car

Elegant interior
Panamera 4S
Sporty look
LONDON: The Porsche Panamera offers the best of both worlds: A practical luxury family saloon for four and a sports car of unmatched performance.
The second-generation Panamera 4S was redeveloped from the ground up. The GT is available in three all-wheel drive versions — the 4S, Turbo and 4S Diesel. The versatile four-door sports car comes in a fastback design allowing rear seats to be folded so that luggage space is doubled to 1,304 liters.
There is an obvious design link between the Panamera and the 911, especially from a silhouette view. In fact, the new Panamera concept has recently achieved a lap record for four-door cars on the Nurburgring-Nordschleife circuit with a time of 7 minutes and 38 seconds. The combination of a new chassis, lightweight aluminum and tuned air-suspension, with the Active Suspension Management PASM, helped Panamera to achieve that record. Other technical factors enhancing the Panamera superiority on the track include Dynamic Chassis Control, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus and electromechanical steering system.
The Panamera 4S was recently tested in the UK and it was instantly obvious that the bulk of the effort was to clean up the multitude of buttons and switches around the central console and dashboard. The new cockpit offers a clear and intuitive user interface via a large central screen and further interactive screens behind the steering wheel.
New assistance systems include night vision, which detects people and large animals at night by thermal imaging. The new Porsche InnoDrive includes adaptive cruise control and through three-dimensional navigation data, it computes the optimal acceleration rate for the next three kilometers. In doing so, this electronic co-pilot automatically takes bends, inclines and speed limits into account.
The Panamera 4S offered for a test drive had a 4-liter V8 turbo-diesel engine providing 422bhp. However, vehicles destined for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region would have a more powerful petrol engine with a twin turbo V8 that delivers 550bhp with a maximum torque of 770Nm. There is also a smaller petrol engine — a twin charged V6 2.9 liter, which delivers 440bhp.
The eight-cylinder engine accelerates the Panamera Turbo from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds. With the Sport Chrono Package, its sprint time is 3.6 seconds. For the first time, the Panamera Turbo comes equipped with an adaptive cylinder control system. In part-load operation, the system temporarily and imperceptibly turns the eight-cylinder into a four-cylinder engine. The result: Fuel economy is improved by up to 30 percent in the four-cylinder phases, depending on power demand. There is also a stop-start system to stop the engine while the car is stationary.
The diesel version is described by the company as “the world’s fastest diesel saloon.” It is also as comfortable and dynamic as the petrol version. However, Gulf consumers need not worry about these comparisons as they have the higher-power petrol engines.
The second-generation Panamera is the first model from Porsche to feature a dual-clutch transmission with eight instead of seven speeds. The eight-speed transmission generally enables an even better gear ratio spread.
The Porsche Traction Management (PTM) system distributes engine forces optimally between the front and rear wheels.

Driving impressions
The second-generation Panamera 4S is comfortable and fast, which sums up its main virtues as a saloon in a sports body. Power exceeds all expectations, especially when needed for overtaking. The design package is attractive and turns heads in the streets.
The lap timer on top of the dashboard is a nice touch maintained from the first generation.
Parking the Panamera is easy by making use of the front and rear cameras and sensors and the 360-degrees camera on top.
The power boot lid is a useful function that can be operated from the key fob.
The performance of the Panamera is not less than that of a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso or a Bentley GT but it also provides more practical interior space and comfort similar to that of a large premium sedan.

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