The Panamera, a sales success for Porsche POAHY, -1.23%, has been around for more than a decade now. It continues to be available as a hatchback, a wagon-like Sport Turismo, an extended Executive version, and even as a trio of expensive-but-fast plug-in hybrid models.
Despite the multiple variations in powertrain, performance, and price, one thing remains constant: All Panameras drive great. Moreover, they all possess a top-quality interior and enough options to satisfy a variety of tastes. The luxurious cabin features a 12.3-in touchscreen with Apple AAPL, -0.67% CarPlay, and although we’re not big fans of the touch-sensitive controls, the Panamera has multiple driving aids that include a semi-autonomous system that works on highways. Look for this latest Panamera to arrive in early 2021.
Multiple improvements have been made to the 2021 Porsche Panamera:
- The base Panamera now gets a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 instead of last year’s single-turbo 3.0-liter V6
- The 620-horsepower Panamera Turbo S replaces the 550-hp Panamera Turbo.
- There’s an additional plug-in hybrid version (PHEV): the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid
- All Panamera Hybrid models get a battery with 17% more capacity
- New Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid model with 689 hp
- Panamera GTS now has 473 hp (up from 453)
- Subtle styling enhancements
- Lane Keep Assist and Traffic Sign Recognition are now standard
- Two new colors: Cherry Red Metallic and Truffle Brown Metallic
What we like
- Superb acceleration
- Excellent handling
- Practical (especially the Sport Turismo)
- High-quality cabin
- Roomy interior
- Three plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models
What we don’t
- Touch-sensitive controls
- Gloss black trim gets fingerprints
- Styling not loved by all
- Top models are expensive
Estimated $88,000 – $200,000
The new base engine, a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 that produces 325 hp and 331 lb-ft of torque at only 1,800 rpm, powers the Panamera and Panamera 4 models, as well as the Executive and Sport Turismo version of the same cars. The EPA fuel economy hasn’t been released for these 2021 Porsche Panamera models, but we expect it to be in the neighborhood of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, with AWD likely dropping those figures a small amount.
Powered by a 449-hp version of the 2.9 with 405 lb-ft of torque, the 2021 Porsche Panamera 4S has expected EPA numbers of 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway, while the Panamera GTS (with its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 making 473 hp and 457 b-ft of torque), likely will come in at about 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway. The new 620-hp/604 lb-ft Porsche Panamera Turbo S, using last year’s Panamera Turbo as a guideline, should return about 18 mpg city/24 mpg highway.
Next up, the three plug-in Porsche Panamera hybrids. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is powered by a 325-horsepower twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 and a 134-horsepower electric motor. We expect this model, with a combined output of 455 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, to have an EPA combined rating of 23 mpg or 51 MPGe in its gas/electric mode. The Panamera 4S E-Hybrid, with 552 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, will return similar fuel economy.
You might like: The latest and coolest auto technology to look for in 2021
Quicker and even more powerful is the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Its hybrid powertrain, featuring a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and an electric motor, has a combined output of 689 hp and 642 lb-ft of torque. We expect the Turbo S E-Hybrid to be rated by the EPA at 20 mpg combined (gasoline) or 28 MPGe combined in the gas/electric mode. The 2021 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the second most powerful vehicle in Porsche’s lineup.
All 2021 Porsche Panamera models employ an 8-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission. All except the rear-wheel-drive base model come standard with all-wheel drive.
Standard features and options
The 2021 Porsche Panamera remains available in three body styles: a standard-wheelbase hatchback, a wagon based on the standard wheelbase (known as the Sport Turismo), and an extended-wheelbase hatchback called the Executive. The standard and Executive body styles seat four, while the Sport Turismo has seating for five. It’s actually more of a “4 + 1” arrangement because the center seat in the back is best suited for kids.
The Executive, with 5.9 extra inches of wheelbase, adds more rear legroom, rear-wheel steering, an adaptive air suspension, soft-close doors, heated rear seats, and an enhanced rear-center console. Lane-keep Assist is standard on all 2021 Panamera models, along with Traffic Sign Recognition.
Any time you see the number 4 in the name of a Panamera, that means it has AWD.
The standard Panamera (est $88,000) and AWD Panamera 4 (est $92,000 standard; est $99,000 Sport Turismo; est $100,00 Executive) come standard with an adaptive suspension (PASM), a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated 8-way power front seats, partial leather upholstery, the PCM touchscreen interface, Connect Plus (remote vehicle services, onboard internet, vehicle tracking), Apple CarPlay, three USB ports, and a 10-speaker sound system.
The powerful Panamera 4S (est $106,000 standard; est $112,000 Sport Turismo; est $117,000 Executive) adds a stronger engine and different 19-in wheels.
The Panamera GTS (est $130,000 standard; est $136,000 Sport Turismo) is a more driver-oriented version of the Panamera that splits the difference between the 4S and the new Turbo S. The GTS is the entry-level V8 model which on top of the engine upgrade adds a sport exhaust, adaptive headlights, better brakes, and 20-inch wheels.
The new Panamera Turbo S (est $154,000 standard; est $157,000 Sport Turismo; est $164,000 Executive) features an improved twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 with 620 hp and 605 lb-ft of torque.
The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid (est $104,000 standard; est $108,000 Sport Turismo; est $112,000 Executive) models have a plug-in hybrid powertrain, and it’s joined this year by the new Panamera 4 S E-Hybrid (est $118,000 standard; est $132,000 Sport Turismo; est $133,000 Executive), which has 552 hp and a performance level similar to the discontinued Panamera Turbo.
If you’re keen on having the ultimate Panamera, it’s the Turbo S E-Hybrid (est $188,000 standard; $192,000 Sport Turismo; $199,000 Executive). In addition to a hybrid powertrain with 689 total hp, the 2021 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid has air suspension, a full leather interior, heated rear seats, adaptive LED headlights, a power-adjustable steering wheel, an Alcantara headliner, and a 14-speaker Bose Surround Sound audio system.
The destination fee for the 2021 Porsche Panamera is expected to remain $1,350.
Much of the equipment from upmarket Panamera models is optional on the standard Panamera (if there is such a thing).
Notable options include the pricey but long-lasting carbon-ceramic brakes, a blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control (with forward-collision warning), a head-up display, an enhanced adaptive cruise control system with semi-autonomous functionality, a surround-view camera, night-vision assistance, 14-way adaptive seats, 8-way power rear seats, seat ventilation, massaging seats, a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshades, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a 21-speaker Burmester premium audio system.
Every 2021 Panamera has Lane Keep Assist, which provides automatic steering assistance to keep this large Porsche in its lane. It’s complemented by Traffic Sign Recognition. With this technology, camera and navigation data are used to detect speed limits and no-passing zones. The information then is displayed on the Panamera’s instrument panel. By using the camera and navigational data, even temporary speed restrictions (such as spots where there is road construction) can be observed.
Also noteworthy: Traffic Sign Recognition is enhanced by what Porsche calls “corner notification.” Using navigational data and the camera’s recognition of road signs, the system displays an arrowed directional graphic on the instrument panel long before you reach a tight corner on your prescribed route.
Other standard safety tech on the 2021 Porsche Panamera includes Emergency Brake Assist, which reduces braking distances in emergency situations.
Behind the wheel
The Panamera is for those seeking a flagship luxury car that’s every bit as thrilling to drive as a sports car. Although it’s quite large, its handling, steering, electronic aids, and colossal power (regardless of engine) result in a car that works remarkably well. We’d recommend trying a variety of models to see which Panamera meets your preferences. No need to worry about performance; there isn’t a slug in the bunch.
You sit low in the Panamera, much as you do in a 911, enveloped by Porsche’s superbly comfortable, supportive, and adjustable seats. Interior space is excellent, and it’s even better in the long-wheelbase Executive model. The front cabin is dominated by a wide, rising center console covered in controls. We’d rather have conventional buttons than the touch-sensitive controls, but the 12.3-in main touchscreen allows the map to be large.
The hatchback design of the Panamera gives it excellent cargo versatility. With the Sport Turismo wagon variant, you get an extra seat and even more cargo space. Rarely has practicality been so much fun. Do keep in mind that the battery of the hybrid models cuts into the Panamera’s normally generous cargo space.
Other cars to consider
2021 Mercedes-Benz CLS – The Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class “4-door coupe” offers a supple ride, a lavish interior and tech that’s a little more user-friendly than the Panamera’s. The CLS-Class is more affordable, too. If you want supercar performance from your Mercedes, consider a Mercedes-AMG GT 4-door Coupe.
2021 Audi A7, S7 or RS 7 – This trio of Audis is close to the Panamera in concept. As a range-topping RS 7, it can hang with the Panamera Turbo S.
2021 Tesla Model S – Even if you’re not considering the E-Hybrid models, the flagship Tesla TSLA, -2.72% offers space and performance comparable to that of any Panamera. Tesla’s electric powertrains offer great appeal, but its reliability, build quality, and dealer network pale in comparison to Porsche’s.
Used Porsche Panamera – We know Porsche pricing can get eye-watering, so consider a used model from 2017 or newer if you want a second-generation Panamera at a discount. Porsche has one of the best certified preowned programs in the business, which makes CPO models worthy of serious consideration.
2021 Porsche Taycan – If the Panamera PHEVs appeal to you, why not consider going fully electric with a Porsche Taycan? This electric Porsche sedan isn’t quite as roomy as the Panamera, but it is fun to drive and it has a range of about 200 miles.
Questions you may ask
What does “PDK” stand for?
“PDK” stands for Porsche Doppelkupplungsgetriebe, which translates to Porsche double-clutch transmission. The 8-speed in the Porsche Panamera is a PDK transmission.
What’s the difference between a standard Panamera and a Panamera Sport Turismo?
The Panamera Sport Turismo is a wagon-like version of the Panamera. It’s more angular, more practical, and a bit more money. We also think it’s better looking.
How long is the warranty on the 2021 Porsche Panamera?
The 2021 Porsche Panamera has a 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranty. Hybrid components are covered for 8 years or 100,000 miles.
Which Porsche Panamera is the fastest?
That would be the 689-hp Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. It hits 60 mph in a fleet 3.0 seconds has a top track speed of 196 mph. That’s supercar territory.
What is the Porsche Panamera Executive?
The Executive is the long-wheelbase version (another 5.9 inches) of the Porsche Panamera. It has extra space and luxury amenities for rear passengers.
Which Porsche Panamera has 4+1 seating?
The Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo has a back seat designed primarily designed for two, but with a center section can be used as a “+1” seat if needed.
Where is the Porsche Panamera made?
The Porsche Panamera is built in Leipzig, Germany. Engines are assembled in Stuttgart.
With any Porsche, sample as many model combinations as you can. We’re particularly fond of the Panamera GTS Sport Turismo because we like the idea of having a practical V8-powered European wagon with AWD and a phenomenal top track speed of 186 mph. But even at the base level, the Porsche Panamera is a thrilling ride, and the monstrously quick PHEVs further underscore the technological might of those talented engineers in Stuttgart.
This story originally ran on Autotrader.com.