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Porsche Panamera Diesel review


Diesel Changes Panamera From Sports Car To Grand Tourer.

Highly Refined. Great For Crossing Continents.
Other Premium Executive Cars Do The Job Better And More Cheaply.

For – It’s a Porsche.
Against – It’s a Porsche – doesn’t bring the best out in fellow road users 

Porsche enthusiasts may feel there are two things wrong with this car – it has four doors and a diesel engine and not a Porsche diesel at that, but an Audi one.

Porsche Panamera DieselIt is said that Ferdinand Porsche always wanted to design a four-door car and in fact there are two four-door Porsches in the company’s museum, both styling studies. There is the C88, shown at the Beijing motor show in 1994, an 1,100 cc car specifically for the Chinese market and the H50 of 1994, a rather ungainly 928 with suicide rear doors. This was not intended for production but was made specifically for Ferry Porsche to take his family on motoring holidays.

It wasn’t until 2009 that Ferdinand Porsche finally got his way, posthumously; the four door Panamera. Enthusiasts weren’t only unhappy about the extra doors, some of them didn’t like the styling either.

Porsche were determined that at least their critics couldn’t say the new car wasn’t a proper Porsche in terms of driving responses. It had to perform and handle like a Porsche and it did, despite the extra weight and length. Originally available as a 4.8 litre petrol with or without turbo, 3.0 and 3.6 litre petrol engines were added and then in 2011, the dreaded diesel. The Panamera petrol engine versions were available with rear or all-wheel drive but unfortunately the diesel is only available with rear drive.

Porsche Panamera DieselAs Porsche had little or no experience of the dark art of diesel technology, they naturally turned to Audi, masters of the genre. The diesel selected would have to be six or V8-cylinder and Audi, at the time, could offer two three litre sixes of 204 and 245 PS and a 4.2 litre V8 of 350 PS. Porsche went middle of the road and took the 245 PS version which they modified to produce 250 PS at lower revs but surprisingly with 30 Nm less torque coming in at higher revs. Presumably, at some time Porsche will fit the wonderful twin-turbo 313 PS unit available in the A7 against which the Panamera may be currently losing ground.

While both Panamera and A7 petrol engines are offered with the double clutch auto gearbox, the diesels generate too much torque and are fitted with tiptronic torque converters.

The diesel in the Panamera does take away some of the sportiness and it is now a grand tourer rather than a sports car. This is a very easy car to drive and it will gobble up the miles in great comfort and in relative silence. If anything the noise insulation in the Porsche is even better than in an A7 TDI, a BMW 535d or a Mercedes CLS.

Buyers paying £60,000 for a car may not worry too much about economy but the advantage of a genuine 35 to the gallon is a range of nearly 800 miles. Mind you, the thought of spending £140 to brim any car is somewhat daunting; the diesel was offered primarily for European buyers who pay so much less for their diesel. While the Porsche can cover great distances without stopping for fuel, its luggage space may be a problem for continental holidays particularly if all four seats are occupied.  The A7, BMW Gran Coupé or Mercedes CLS are rather more practical here with boots the size of luxury cars.

Porsche Panamera Diesel

It is unlikely that owners of these cars are likely to carry fridges or flat-pack furniture but the Porsche and Audi offer great practicality with folding rear seats and good-sized tailgates, unlike the BMW and Mercedes which have only 4-doors.

As should be expected of a car costing £63,000, equipment levels are generous with bi-xenon headlights, multi-function steering wheel, automatic tailgate opening, leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, satellite navigation and electrically adjustable and heated front seats.

The Porsche is beautifully built and a wonderful environment from which to survey the mere mortals unable to afford such comfort but it is no better than the A7, Gran Coupé or CLS.

Porsche Panamera Diesel

Despite the fact that the VW Group cousin Audi A7 is £8,000 cheaper, faster, more accelerative, roomier, just as clean and economical and with all-wheel drive as standard, it is likely that a Porsche buyer would not consider the A7 or, for that matter, the equivalent BMW or Mercedes. This is a great shame as the A7, BMW Gran Coupé or CLS are surely better cars for the average driver. They are just as comfortable and while the Porsche might be better at the ‘limit’ with crisper steering feel and turn-in, the others are better all-rounders, particularly the all-wheel drive A7 in slippery conditions.

Porsche Panamera Diesel






2,967 cc V6-cylinder turbo diesel


250hp @ 3,800


550 Nm @ 1,750


8-speed automatic




0-62 mph/100 km/h 6.8 seconds

Top Speed:

151-242 km/h

Fuel Consumption:

claimed combined – 44.8mpg / 5.3 l/km


166 g/km


4,100 mm






1,129 kg




MacPherson/torsion beam

Boot capacity:

195 litres/2,012


None really, you would have to look at A7, BMW Gran Coupé or Merc CLS




It’s a Porsche and is great for crossing continents


Others do it better for less

Price – £62,922

© Robert Couldwell
For publication in WintonsWorld

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