While the second-generation Porsche Panamera has proven to be extraordinary all around, the focus of the 2017 Panamera Turbo is performance, driven by its force-fed eight-cylinder engine. Here are seven cool things we learned about Porsche’s super-sedan during our time behind the wheel:
1. The Turbo and its e-Hybrid sibling are the only 2017 Panamera variants with a V-8
It’s hard to care about the available V-6 when the non-hybrid Panamera Turbo’s 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 produces 550 hp and 567 lb-ft of twist—30 hp and 51 lb-ft more than the outgoing 4.8-liter twin-turbo eight-cylinder. That’s enough to send the Autobahn stormer to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds.
2. The new engine features considerable improvements
Porsche designed the new V-8 to be more durable and reliable. For instance, the engine uses the combination of a lightweight cast aluminum block and iron coated cylinder linings. This pairing not only reduces internal friction and wear, it also halves oil consumption compared to the previous mill.
Additionally, engineers positioned its oil passages positioned for better flow and circulation, ensuring all internal components are properly lubricated, especially under high-performing load conditions, like trying to clock-in a fast lap time on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. It also adapts better to variable conditions such as extreme ambient temperatures or cold-starts.
Further, the turbochargers have been relocated to the valley of the engine between the cylinder banks. This not only reduced complexity, it reduced the engine’s packaging size and weight by 20 lb.
3. It’s the first Porsche engine to feature cylinder deactivation
Thanks in part to this technology, Porsche promises a darn-impressive fuel economy rating of 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. To put that into perspective, those are almost the exact EPA figures as my 2011 Honda Accord Coupe V-6 manual—except, interestingly, the Accord is slightly less efficient around town, being rated at 17 mpg city. For the two-plus ton, 550-hp Panamera Turbo, those are quite good figures. The EPA rating translates well into the real world, too—even with a heavy foot on the throttle, fuel consumption averaged 16-18 mpg over the 600 miles I put on the odometer.
4. There’s a go-fast button called Sport Response
Sport Response is actually available on any Porsche equipped with the PDK, but in the Panamera Turbo however, it acts more like a switch for warp speed. Activated by pressing the button in the middle of the drive mode selector on the steering wheel, Sport Response tells the transmission to downshift to the lowest gear possible, sets everything in the computer to Sport+ , and provides a power boost for a time interval of 20 seconds. There’s even a cool countdown ticker that shows up on the partially digital gauge cluster. It’s an epic way to pass slow trucks on rural two-lane thoroughfares—or scare your passengers.
5. The sheetmetal isn’t just good-looking, it’s functional as well
In the back of the 2017 Panamera Turbo (and Turbo E-Hybrid) is a three-piece active rear spoiler unique to the powerful variants. (The rest of the lineup receives a two-piece design.) It goes up and down at the touch of a button—or automatically according to car’s driver profile and by speed. It improves aerodynamics at speedand doubles as a “Hey officer, pull me over!” flag.
6. It’s one of the most technologically advanced and complex Porsches ever made
Rumor has it that the Panamera Turbo has more lines of code than any current Boeing commercial jetliner. Totally believable because the 2017 Panamera’s “Porsche Advanced Cockpit” makes you feel like Captain Jean-Luc Picard, piloting a German interpretation of the USS Starship Enterprise on wheels.
Designers and engineers reduced the first-generation Panamera’s model’s fighter jet-like button fest on the center console to less of a button fest, featuring more touch-and-click surfaces. The only physical buttons or knobs are the toggle HVAC temperature adjustments, the (oddly placed) volume roller knob above the transmission selector, the infotainment control knob, and the parking brake.
7. Its chassis and suspension systems and dynamics deserve a bullet point of their own
Keeping the ride quality superb and the body flat in corners are Porsche’s Active Suspension Management and 4D Chassis Control systems. It may sound like fancy stuff, because it is. But how it all makes this Panamera handle like something half its size is the truly astonishing part.