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2021 New Porsche Panamera India Test Drive Review - Balancing Act Between Luxury and Sportiness

2021 Porsche Panamera. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

2021 Porsche Panamera. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

We drive the new Porsche Panamera to find out if this new car is all about practicality or does it have the same Porsche performance DNA as the other models.

When it comes to German luxury car makers, the Porsche Brand stands out with a distinction. From making the iconic 911 to diversifying its portfolio in the last decade or so, Porsche has come a long way and one such car that helped Porsche realize its diversification dreams is the Panamera, the only 4-seater Porsche which is not an SUV. Porsche launched the updated Panamera in India this February and we recently got a chance to drive it. Here’s our Porsche Panamera Test Drive Review to find out if this new car is all about practicality or does it have the same Porsche DNA as the other models.

Design
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I have met quite a handful of people who are not a big fan of Panamera’s Design and that’s justified when you see Porsche as only a luxury sports car maker. But see it through a wider perspective and the Panamera stands out of the crowd thanks to its imposing personality. The elements contributing to this personality includes the overall profile with a long bonnet and coupe design with sloping roofline merging into booth. The large headlight units, with large air intakes and bonnet creases add to the charm.

At the sides are again large side intakes, 19-inch wheels in the model we drove and a thick C-Pillar integrated into the boot. For me the rear is the best looking angle with a light strip flowing between the two newly designed LED tail lights and also gets dual chrome exhaust tips. Elements like soft close doors and rear functional spoiler further elevates the charm.

2021 Porsche Panamera front profile. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)Cabin

Inside the cabin you are welcomed by a rich looking design with dual tone finish. The model we drove had a tan brown leather upholstery and black leather dashboard with piano black stripe running across the dash and doors. The cabin is bifurcated with a waterfall console design that runs through the back seats and gives it a cockpit inspired feel.

The overall design is neat and easy, with a large touchscreen infotainment system taking the centre seat and gets an updated Porsche Communication Management (PCM) which includes additional functions such as wireless Apple CarPlay. The display in itself is HD clean and has easy user interface with some really nice graphics. You also get a multi-pod semi digital instrument panel keeping the things sporty. Some of the buttons on the central console near the gear lever take some time to get used too.

2021 Porsche Panamera cabin. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

I also liked the rotary knob placed just besides steering wheel to alter driving modes. The chronograph on the top of the dash, as seen in other Porsche cars is a nice touch as well. Then there are features like Park Assist with Surround View and head-up display, dual sunroof, electronically controlled sunshade, among others. There’s no push button but a key fob that gives a nice clicking sound when you rotate it. Overall the cabin is a well-knit combo of luxury and sportiness.

Porsche and rear seat riding doesn’t go hand in hand until it’s an SUV. But believe me you, the Panamera is super practical and comfortable if you ever decide to sit at the back seat, which obviously won’t be my choice, but then I wouldn’t mind showing off this Porsche to friends and relatives who can sit here comfortably and enjoy the true-blue Porsche driving experience.

2021 Porsche Panamera rear screen. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

The rear seat also gets controls for AC, sun shade among others. Interestingly, all four seats can be electronically controlled. The space is tremendous at the back while the practicality is also high with many spaces thrown here and there to keep your stuff. A luggage compartment has a wide opening tailgate with folding rear seats. The space depends on what model you choose, but the one we drove had 495-litre capacity.

Engine

Porsche is offering the Panamera in 4 variants, the standard one Rear-wheel Drive model which we drove, the GTS, the Turbo S and lastly a hybrid version as well. The model we drove gets V6 bi-turbo 2.9-litre engine producing 330 hp and 450 Nm of torque and is a rear wheel drive car same as outgoing model. To give you an idea about the rest of the models, the hybrid also gets a 2.9-litre unit with 560 PS and 750 Nm output. The GTS and Turbo S models gets 4.0-litre V8 engines with 480 PS, 620 NM and 630 PS, 820 Nm output respectively.

2021 Porsche Panamera 2.9-litre engine. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)

The model we drove had the least output among the rest of the models and that you can feel in terms of exhaust note, which is more refined and not as compared to other sports cars. However, it’s enough to have a semi-sporty drive, with a 0-100 kmph claimed top speed of 5.6 seconds, which is incredible for a near 2-tonne car. The Turbo S can do the same in just 3.1 seconds, which is a proper supercar territory.

The Steering wheel is heavy as per my liking and being Rear wheel drive means you get added driving fun. You can also increase the chassis height or lower it as per your liking and comes in quite handy for city driving. I mostly drove the car in the Sport Plus mode which had a bit stiffer ride quality, but put in normal and you get a very plush ride. Braking is incredible for a car of this size and weight.

2021 Porsche Panamera back profile. (Image: Arjit Garg/News18.com)Verdict

Despite Being practical and stuff, the Panamera is a true Porsche at the heart which means you get a driving fun no less than 718 or the 911. Pricing wise, the Panamera starts at Rs 1.45 Cr, while the Panamera GTS is priced at Rs 1.86 Cr. The most powerful Panamera Turbo S is priced at Rs 2.12 Cr and the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is price at Rs 2.43 Cr. Yes, it’s the second most expensive car in the Porsche line-up but then, buying one will put you in the exclusive club of India and that’s what matters the most when you are shelling out more than 1.5 crores on your car.

first published:March 26, 2021, 09:30 IST