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2017 Porsche Panamera – a sports car with the comfort of a luxury sedan

Released in 2009, the first iteration of the Porsche Panamera was a bold attempt to produce a car that combined the best of two distinct genres: the unashamed performance sports car and the luxury four door saloon.

Boasting a hefty price tag, and benefiting from a spruce-up and face-lift a few years later, the first model was generally well received but failed to set the world alight in quite the way the parent VW group hoped for. Porsche are now back for another attempt with the all-new Panamera v2 update.

The new model is very much an evolution rather than a revolution. Appearance-wise, the influence of the legendary Porsche 911 remains clear in the strong silhouette and curved rear – and after all, why wouldn’t Porsche hark back to their most famous creation at every opportunity?

But the second generation Panamera is a more successful marriage of the sports and street car forms. Slightly larger in every dimension than the original, it nonetheless appears sleeker and lower thanks to its reduced glass area and raised beltline. The long bonnet and large, pronounced wheels and arches give an excellent combination of smooth lines and aggressive intent.

The front grill has been redesigned and features new air intakes, while at the rear, new LED lights stretch right across the back above four solid exhaust pipes that hint at the power within. The side-on profile, however, has a much more saloon-like aspect which means it won’t look out of place set against more mainstream luxury models. In short, it’s a good looking car which retains its sporty style while enjoying a somewhat more practical four door form.

The commitment to the performance side of this car’s split personality continues under the hood. Initially available in two models, the 4S and the Turbo, the Panamera will be available with a range of engines starting at a twin-turbocharged 2.9l V6 petrol engine, rising through a V3 diesel model before topping out with a mighty 4 litre, V8 turbo version which can achieve 0-62 mph in as little as 3.6 seconds.

The highest performance model will boast a total engine power of 542 bhp and a nominal top speed of 190mph. It’s expected that as the range develops, more engine options will be added, including a rumored petrol/electric hybrid development clearly aimed at the very top end of the Tesla market.

Other performance features that lift the Panamera above the luxury saloon norm include active suspension management and dynamic chassis control to ensure that all this power is channeled into a smooth driving experience, even when the vehicle is being pushed to its limits.

Step inside the Panamera and you’ll be immediately struck by the luxury aspect of the new vehicle. Gone are the plethora of buttons and dials, to be replaced by touch-sensitive controls, two seven inch displays set either side of the physical rev counter, and a large 12.3 inch touch sensitive screen to control the Sat Nav, the in-car entertainment features, and the integrated voice control system. It’s a futuristic look that nonetheless doesn’t get in the way of driving.

From first impressions, it looks very much like Porsche have built on the solid foundations of the original Panamera, although a full verdict will have to wait until the official debut in September followed by full release in November.