- Published: Monday, 04 September 2017 20:46
Porsche’s stretched-wheelbase Panamera might be the ultimate limo for self-drive inclined bosses
Stuttgart, Germany -
Porsche’s luxury limo, the Panamera, has stretched out in recent times. Not only has the range been extended with the addition of the Sport Turismo wagon model, but there’s also a new stretched wheelbase model, the Executive.
While the Executive model already launched Singapore in July this year, this is the first time CarBuyer has had its decidedly non-executive mitts on the wheel of one.
The all-new second-generation Porsche Panamera is an impressive piece of machinery, with considerable improvements in all areas thanks to ground-up changes in everything from platform to engines, and its once-divisive looks have even grown more acceptable and well-proportioned in this iteration.
Like the Sport Turismo though, the Executive breaks new ground for Porsche - now the Panamera edges into the realm of ‘traditional’ luxury limos, most of which are sold only in long-wheelbase format for Singapore anyway.
With an additional 150mm between its front and rear axles, for a 3,100mm wheelbase (an S-Class L has 3,165mm, in comparison), and overall length stretches the same amount to 5,199mm. Width is the same, while the Exec model is 5mm taller and 90kg heavier than the regular model.
As a 4S model, this means the running weight with a driver is a considerable 2,055kg, given the additional weight of the all-wheel drive components (‘4’), while the engine is a twin-turbo, 2.9-litre V6 with 440hp.
The Panamera remains an obligate four-seater (the Sport Turismo has a three-seat bench) and retains its coupe-inflected styling, so the interior is more cosy, wraparound and less airy than a traditional long-wheelbase limo. With the Executive, increased legroom is immediately apparent, while the ability to kick your legs out further is emphasised by the adjustable rear seats, the rear infotainment/control panel and fold-out table.
Added length and weight are the kryptonite twins of making a fast, involving driver’s car, but the good news is that Porsche hasn’t dropped the ball with the LWB Panamera at all and there are very few situations you would feel it wanting.
There’s adjustable drive modes and a full load of Porsche’s latest tech (eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox, active dampers and aero, and more). In Stuttgart’s infamous jams, the Panamera does some of the work for you with its semi-autonomous traffic jam assist, and the car’s comfort settings do a great job of ensuring subtle, smooth progress.
The ‘Sport Response’ button delivers extra grunt for 20 seconds - as seen in all the latest turbocharged Porsches - and makes short work of reaching 200km/h on the autobahn. The Panamera remains rock-solid stable and feels like it can easily pile on more speed, the 440hp biturbo V6 is a leading example of a performance six-cylinder engine - it’s plenty powerful, sounds good, and we didn’t have (much) V8 envy.
Tight, twisty backroads aren’t the ideal place for driving a 1.94-metre wide luxury limo fast, but the Panamera shows off its true Porsche-ness with plenty of panache. For such a wide, long and large vehicle, it’s tremendously involving. The excellent steering, the impeccable ride quality (even in its hardest mode) and the instantly-responsive drivetrain means delightful cornering, tremendous grip and imperious overtaking.
The Panamera Executive feels like it would be equally adept at chauffeur-driven city shuttle runs or B-road blasts, and is probably one of the best-examples of a long-wheelbase limo that is also tremendous fun if you’re self-executing the driving.
Porsche Panamera 4S Executive
Engine 2,894cc, 24V, V6, biturbo
Power 440hp at 5650-6600rpm
Torque 550Nm at 1750-5500rpm
Gearbox 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Top Speed 289km/h
0-100km/h 4.5 seconds
Fuel efficiency 8.3L/100km
Price $592,788 without COE, options
Agent Stuttgart Auto
Verdict: Perhaps the most driver-focused, fun to drive luxury limousine around.
Also Consider: BMW 750Li, Mercedes-Benz S 500 L, Lexus LS 500