Thursday,21 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)
Thursday,21 February, 2019
Issue 1363, (5 - 11 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Testing the Panamera 4S

A 30-minute briefing by a Porsche expert and a 15-minute test drive were more than enough to get Mohamed Abdel-Razek excited about the new GT from Stuttgart

Testing the Panamera 4S
Porsche Panamera 4S 2017

Getting a phone call in the middle of the day, Porsche Center Egypt invited this reporter to take a spin in – they claim – the world’s newest ultimate saloon, the Panamera.

When you get a shot at reviewing a car, it’s not a good idea to get so excited, but in this situation, it was hard to resist.

The excitement helped for an early wake up. There she rested in the showroom. “I have to be calm. OK, let’s search for some German flubs,” I said to myself. Then came a gentleman in a suit, the Porsche expert. He didn’t know that I didn’t need convincing but he started the briefing anyway.

The car is the Panamera 4S, all-wheel drive, driven by the 8 speed PDK gearbox, powered by a 2.9L twin-turbo V6 producing a whopping (440 hp) and (405 Ib-ft) to get it off from (0-60mph) in 4 sec, when it’s on sport+ mode, and a top speed of 288 kmh.

Compared to its predecessor the car was transformed from the inside out, much slicker from the outside and cutting edge technology on the inside. The old Panamera looked clumsy to many people who compared it to other cars in its range, like Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear UK, who compared it in one episode to the Aston Martin Rapide and the Maserati Quattroporte.

Without a doubt, Clarkson said, Panamera beats all its rivals from the performance point of view but from the “looks” point of view he described it as the “ugliest”. Now maybe the designers at Porsche were watching, and perhaps the world of car enthusiasts appreciate Clarkson’s efforts. Porsche did a great job in the exterior design of the new Panamera.

If you love the sportiness and the lines of the 911 and its exterior design, but you need to transform it into a saloon without compromising anything, Porsche did it for you. From the 3D tail lights which connects along the centre of the boot to keep the lines connected, to the rear spoiler and the quad rear exhaust tips, the muscular fenders in the back that continues with the side lines until it reach the side vents, leaving the front with a typical Porsche design and new led headlights, the new Panamera is a joy to look at.

Jumping in the cockpit, the tons of buttons that used to be in the old Panamera no more exist. Everything is touch, including the 12-inch screen. At first that seemed to be confusing, but certainly is way easier than having to remember the function of each button. Everything is automated, even the vents of the air-conditioner. You no longer have to worry about breaking them; you can adjust them from the touch screen.

The button of joy is located in the steering wheel and allows you to select the driving mode from Normal, Sport and Sport+, in addition to a boost button integrated that if you press, it gives you 20 seconds of full boost. This car also had the chassis height adjustment, all controlled from the 12-inch screen.

Moving to the back seats, I felt I was completely detached from the front seats with all it holds. The back seats are only for two sitting comfortably with enough room. What is truly impressive is the centre display screen that kills any jealousy the back seat passengers might have. They can now have a screen to play with, adjusting their seats and even the front passenger seat in addition to rear climate control.

It will take forever to state every option. After so much information, it was time Porsche provided the key fob to test what it calls the best. The first thing I did was turn the car to its most aggressive mode, Sport+. The chassis automatically went to its lowest position, the suspension went to its hard mode, and everything from steering, throttle, gearbox, you name it, all went so responsive, while the 2.9 V6 with the exhaust sounded simply beautiful. There was concern it would be uncomfortable to drive with this mode in the bumpy streets of Egypt, but the car was very comfortable, and it didn’t hit anything from underneath.

The car is great and worth every penny, if you have lots of them, but if the price of the fastest sports sedan around Nurburgring, the TurboS, is too much, then what is second best? There’s no one answer because they may vary according to tastes and needs. But there is no other car with the same blend as the new Panamera, even if it doesn’t appeal to all.

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