2024 Porsche Panamera revealed: Specs, features, active suspension and prototype first drive
PorscheThe Porsche Panamera is back, for its third generation. It may not look like more than a facelift, but the changes are much more than skin-deep. You’ve got a whole new interior concept, updated drivetrains and a new active suspension that replaces the PASM / PDCC suspension that the older Panamera Turbos got.
The Panamera will soon launch with a whole spread of variants, starting at a RWD V6 to a full blown Turbo S e-hybrid. As of now, specs of the Panamera 4 and the Turbo e-hybrid are out, and if the word on the street is to be believed, the non-hybrid Turbo / Turbo S models will be discontinued with only the hybrids remaining as flagship models.
2024 Porsche Panamera styling and interiors
The new Panamera gets a nose job — it is more upright and has a gaping maw, with hints of the new Cayenne in there but still very recognisably a Panamera. I’m not sure if its prettier than before, but it certainly is more striking. The fenders are flared out further to make them visible from the driver’s seat — a 911 characteristic that has been integrated here. The rear windows get a frameless design, giving it a seamless glass effect from B- to C-pillar. The rear continues with minor tweaks, but that incredibly cool split wing is carried forward. We’re not complaining.
The Turbo e-hybrid gets some very visible differences from the base car. The face isn’t too different, but it does get air blades in the front bumper, 21-inch centre locking wheels, and the Porsche crests on the front, wheels and interior in a gunmetal finish.
On the insides, the interior layout straight out of the new Cayenne. New 12.6-inch full digital screen, new 10.9-inch infotainment screen and an optional passenger screen. The gear selector has been moved to the dash to free up space. The only thing inspired by the Taycan on the inside are the air con blower direction controls which are, annoyingly, set inside the screen. Why, Porsche, why?
2024 Porsche Panamera engines
“Think of it as a system,” says the project lead while talking about the hybrid drivetrain system in the Turbo e-hybrid, referring to the deeper integration between the ICE engine and the electric architecture with this update. The 4-litre V8 engine has been improved, with higher fuel injection pressures and optimisation of the valve train. The big updates are to the hybrid system, with a bigger battery and a new motor integrated in to the PDK transmission housing. The battery located in the boot is 25.9kWh and the e-motor independently makes a solid 140kW (188bhp) and 450Nm. The Panamera Turbo e-hybrid gets an increased electric-only range, which now sits at 90km, up from 53km. Charging times are quick too, a mere 2 hours, 18 minutes on an 11kW charger and the claim is that recuperation performance is “significantly improved”. But most impressive is the peak outputs — 671bhp and 930Nm. 0-100kmph comes up in 3.2 seconds and a top speed of 320kmph is the claim. Lest I remind you that this is only the Turbo and not the full fat Turbo S. 1000Nm doesn’t seem off the cards at this point.
What will likely come to India first is the Panamera 4 with the 2.9-litre V6 that puts out 348bhp and 500Nm. The claimed run to a ton here is a nevertheless impressive at 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 270kmph.
2024 Porsche Panamera suspension
There are updates to the chassis, and this is were significant strides have been made. Earlier, the Panamera got the base air suspension with PASM (dynamic dampers), or a more sporty air suspension with PASM and PDCC (active anti-roll bars). The base air suspension with PASM continues with some improvements — it now gets a two-chamber air spring (one chamber less), new two-valve damper (earlier was single valve). This gives it a wider breath of ability to balance sportiness and comfort, since rebound and compression can be individually controlled using the more sophisticated damper.
The top-spec PDCC-equipped suspension has been completely rethought and the Panamera will be the first Porsche to get ‘Active Ride’. It features a one-chamber air suspension, with an incredibly sophisticated two-valve damper and, get this, no anti-roll bars. The damper is connected to an oil pump, that is in turn powered by the electrical system. The pump can increase or decrease the pressure inside the damper and thus allow the damper to behave in a certain manner. Since each corner is controlled individually, this allows incredible control over what each wheel is doing and how it behaves.
What it allows for is complete control over pitch, dive and roll, resisting the traditional forces that would act upon a car. It can also sense the load on each wheel and give a specific wheel a certain load by pushing it in to the road. This allows for control of grip and even steering behaviour. Obviously, it theoretically provides maximum comfort while also providing involvement.
As with all air suspension systems, you can change the ride height. It rises by 550mm when the doors are opened in an instant to an access ride height — a trick similar to what the Audi A8 L employs. At higher speed and sportier driving modes, it also lowers itself to reduce its centre of gravity.
Porsche isn’t the first to debut such a system — Mercedes-Benz has brought it a few years earlier with the E-Active body control on the bouncing GLE and the Maybach GLS. That said, when Porsche develops a system, they usually get it perfect the first time around. We haven’t driven the production-spec Panamera yet but did get to sneak in a short drive behind the wheel of some near production prototypes in Germany last month. And it impresses!
2024 Porsche Panamera prototype driving impressions
The first thing I scribbled down in to my notes after driving the new Panamera Turbo e-hybrid was “Fast as f**k”. Because it was. The V8 combines with the e-motor to give near instant responses. Acceleration and traction is brutal. It sounds great too! That angry V8 revving out beautifully when you step on it. Plug in hybrids really are the best of both worlds — giving you the initial responses of an e-motor, the mid- to top-end of a V8 and of course, the emotion that comes with the sound. The PDK is the big update here — now capable of dealing with even more torque and with the motor neatly integrated in to to it. It shifts fast and kickdowns are immediate. You’re never left wanting.
I drove both the car with both the active suspension and passive one, and it was mind blowing. Irons out bumps beautifully, small surface imperfections in the roads aren’t felt at all. Feels like you’re floating. At first, I thought it was just the brilliant roads in Germany but when I drove the non-active suspension (which is also incredibly comfy), I could tell the difference.
It also works incredibly well to keep the car properly flat, resisting pitch, dive and roll. The first time I accelerated, it was quite unnerving because weight doesn’t feel like its transferring any weight. It just shoots forward without the usual squat. Same for the brakes. It just stays flat under braking and doesn’t dive forward. You can choose to have it tilt in to corners in a very measured way — it almost makes it feel like the corner is perfectly cambered when there’s nothing of the sort going on. All this works only in the more comfort-oriented modes. Put it in to Sport / Sport Plus and it gives you a much more natural feeling to what the weight is doing. Here it pitches and dives, roll is incredibly well controlled though and it feels sportscar-like flat.
I’m looking forward to driving it on Indian roads in familiar conditions, where I can get a much more well rounded understanding of what the car is doing. Until then, I can tell you there’s plenty to look forward to from Porsche!