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The 2021 Porsche Panamera’s subtle changes are more than skin-deep

This sedan (or wagon) can give some supercars a good fight

The orange paint job suits the sedan. PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

When the second-generation Porsche Panamera was unveiled in 2017, it helped the German carmaker reach a wide market audience. The car suited customers who desired the Porsche driving feel and performance in an executive saloon package. For 2021, the Panamera is getting a bit of a facelift. Although the changes might seem a bit underwhelming, Porsche does guarantee that there is more to the updates than meets the eye.

But we're smitten with the Sport Turismo wagon. PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

The Panamera (in Turbo S trim) proudly holds the fastest lap record for executive sedans at the Nurburgring Nordschleife with a time of 7 minutes and 25 seconds. Thanks to the revised Porsche Traction Management (PTM), Porsche Torque Vectoring (PTV), Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) and the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) active anti-roll-bars, the Panamera’s athleticism remains impressive.

As before, there are two body styles available: the sedan (in regular and long wheelbase versions) and the achingly beautiful Sport Turismo shooting brake (station wagon to you and me). The exterior features Porsche’s new full-length 3D-effect taillights, redesigned front bumper, and revised dynamic LED headlights. Panamera Turbo S variants get their own unique front fascia with bigger inlets to cool the engine’s various heat exchangers.

The Turbo S obviously needs these massive anchors. PHOTOS FROM PORSCHE

However, underneath the skin is where Porsche has made huge changes. All engines feature better response, less lag, and reduced vibrations. The range-topping Turbo S now has a supercar-slaying 621hp and 820Nm of torque to take the fight to its key rivals like the Mercedes-AMG GTS 4-door and BMW M8 Gran Coupe. On the other end of the spectrum, the base model V6 gets a twin-turbocharged 2.9 liter that makes 325hp and 450Nm of torque. Despite these figures, Porsche claims far better fuel economy for this engine.

There is also a Hybrid variant for both the sedan and Sport Turismo body styles which combines the twin-turbo V6 with an electric drive system delivering power and torque figures of 552hp and 750Nm, respectively. A larger 17.9kWh battery increases the pure electric range to 54km, while revisions to the regenerative braking system improves battery charging.

We'd totally steal the keys from the family driver just for this cockpit. PHOTOS FROM PORSCHE

Inside, you get a slightly redesigned 918-esque three-spoke sport steering wheel that has been tweaked for 2021 with the traditional 5-bezel instrument cluster featured on all Porsches. Buyers have a choice of standard or special comfort seats, both with massage functions. Keen drivers can opt for the 18-way adjustable adaptive sports seats. A panoramic glass roof is available as well as an air ionizer, obviously a response to today’s health-conscious times. The long-wheelbase Executive variants have an optional rear center console that further increases the feeling of luxury and exclusivity. Customers can choose between a 12-speaker Bose or a 21-speaker Burmester surround-sound system.

A stately supercar killer on the Autobahn. PHOTO FROM PORSCHE

According to Porsche Philippines Managing Director Roberto T. Coyiuto III, the new Panamera should be available in our market toward the end of the year.

Botchi Santos

Botchi is your friendly, walking car encyclopedia. He loves helping people choose the right vehicle for themselves as much as he enjoys picking the right one for himself. Expect him to write about car culture, test drives and car-shopping advice. His regular column is called ‘Car Life’.