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2017 Porsche Panamera — less ugly, uses Audi-shared engine

For 2017, Porsche has unveiled its new second-generation Panamera sedan. When the first-gen car launched, it was considered to be, well, ugly. Not the whole car, though, as the Panamera from the C-pillar forward was actually quite nice looking. But from the C-pilar back…woof. The rump of the Panamera was seriously ugly and the worst part about the car. The car, dynamically, was incredibly impressive as well and had a very loyal fan base.

So Porsche was in a delicate position, as it had to create a Panamera that was even more dynamically impressive than the previous car but one that’s also prettier while still looking like the Panamera that gained such a large fanbase. And, to Porsche’s credit, I think it’s pulled it off.

Welcome the new 2017 Porsche Panamera.

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The 2017 Porsche Panamera is actually quite good looking and far less ugly than before. In fact, from the rear, it’s actually quite pretty. Porsche was going for a sort of four-door 911 look with the previous car but failed quite miserably. With this one, it’s nailed it, as it genuinely looks like someone took a Porsche 911 and stretched it out to have four doors. In profile it looks especially good. The front end remains nearly the same, which is good as it wasn’t in a desperate need of changing.

On the inside, things are dramatically different than before. The Panamera was the first Porsche to feature the sort of columns of buttons next to the shifter, which are now on almost all new Porsches except for, ironically, this new Panamera. Replacing the button columns are touch-sensitive, illuminated buttons that not only look better but there are no longer cheap looking blank spaces when certain options aren’t equipped.

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A new steering wheel, pulled from the uber-expensive Porsche 918 Spyder, looks great and lies ahead of Porsche’s first digital gauge cluster. Instead of Porsche’s typical three-circle gauge cluster, there’s not a center tachometer with two digital seven inch screens flanking it. There’s also a large infotainment screen mounted in the center of the dash that looks much easier to use than Porsche’s current screens. Overall, the interior looks fantastic and really upscale.

But the big news, at least for Audi fans, is what lies under the hood. In the Panamera 4S, Porsche uses a 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V6 making 440 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. The Panamera Turbo will be powered by a 4.0 liter twin-turbocharged V8 that will develop 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of torque. The latter Turbo engine will be developed in-joint with Audi and actually shares its lineage with the turbocharged V6 in the Audi S4.

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The Panamera 4S is said to be able to get from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, but that can drop to 4.0 seconds with the Sport Chrono package. Things get even more brisk with the Panamera Turbo, as that can get from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, or 3.4 with the Sport Chrono. Equipped with Porsche’s seven-speed PDK dual-clutch gearbox, the Panamera Turbo was capable of getting around the Nurburgring time of 7:38, which is blisteringly fast.

To compete with such performance, Audi has the RS7 Performance, which is even more powerful and faster than the Panamera Turbo. Its own 4.0 liter twin-turbo V8 makes 605 hp and is capable of 0-60 mph in 3.3 seconds. We don’t have a Nurburgring time for the RS7 Performance but it’s likely very close to the Porsche’s. One thing the Panamera Turbo admittedly has that the RS7 can’t match is the insanely cool Transformer-styl rear spoiler that needs to be seen to be understood.

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So the new Porsche Panamera competes with the best super sedans from Audi while using an engine that is actually shared by Audi. It looks far better than before, even if it isn’t as pretty as an RS7, and has a great looking interior. It should turn out to be an incredible car and we’re excited to see how it turns out.

Nico DeMattia

I've been in love with cars since I was a kid, specifically German cars. Now I get to drive them talk about them on the internet.