What is it?
PORSCHE is best known for the 911, a sports car that’s been around for 50 years still has its engine dangling over the rear axle.
It’s also getting a lot of press coverage with the 918, a hybrid supercar that can lap the Nurburgring quicker than any Ferrari yet is officially more economical than a Toyota Prius, and is exempt from the London Congestion charge.
In short, the brand has never been known as a maker of sensible business cars though but that’s something it’s hoping to put right with the Porsche Panamera Diesel.
The stretched-911 look means it remains identifiably a Porsche – something vital to buyers of the brand – while space for a large engine and sleek bodywork means it comes in at over five metres in length, bigger even than a Range Rover.
Street presence is therefore assured, but not at the expense of the interior which has plenty of room for four grown adults. The four-door Panamera is more a luxury limo than an all out sports car.
The rear seats, tailored into individual sports seats, are separated by a solid centre console housing cup holders and iPod storage holes, while two leather clad beams either side of the centre console keep the driver and passenger apart.
A very traditional looking instrument binnacle sits in front of the driver, but there’s secret high-tech kit hiding away in there; one of the pods doubles up as a sat nav screen, bringing instructions directly in front of the driver.
A large touch screen dominates the centre, with options on there to control virtually any part of the car, while alongside and then down below are banks of switches that look initially overwhelming but soon become second nature to use.
Under the bonnet sits a 3.0 litre V6 turbocharged diesel engine sourced from Audi that delivers a healthy but unremarkable 250bhp. However, there’s a more impressive 550Nm of torque on tap.
That power all goes through an eight speed auto gearbox to the rear wheels, with steering wheel mounted paddles for when you want to do the gear selection work yourself.