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2017 Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive review, test drive
Mar 22, 2017 by Hormazd Sorabjee
DETAILS IN BRIEF
  • Make Porsche
  • Model Panamera
  • Edition Turbo Executive



Porsche has jumped on the long-wheelbase bandwagon in India with the Panamera Turbo Executive. We drive this stretched sports sedan.

Stretched or long-wheelbase variants of luxury cars are very common in China where there’s a strong chauffeur-driven culture, just like India. Chinese car owners love to stretch out in the back seat, hence, in some segments, luxury carmakers don’t even bother offering models with the standard wheelbase. And suddenly, luxury brands in India have woken up to the fact that, in their quest to indulge owners with even more comfort, long-wheelbase variants of some of their cars could work pretty well here too.

Mercedes took the plunge recently with the long-wheelbase E-class and Porsche has followed suit with the Panamera Turbo Executive. A chauffeur-driven Porsche? Blasphemous as it may sound, there are owners who’d rather be driven around and it’s for them that the long-wheelbase version of the Panamera has been designed. It’s also made in the right-hand-drive for the first time, which makes it possible for Indian customers to buy one. But should you buy one?

The standard Panamera is decently spacious in the rear, to begin with, but the Turbo Executive takes legroom to the level of the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-series. It’s no less lavishly equipped with goodies like a panoramic roof, special ambient interior lighting, soft-close doors, 10.1-inch infotainment screens and electrically reclining seats that come with two fold-out tables to give you an executive jet ambience.

Lots of legroom in the rear and lots of toys to play with too.

But, with someone driving the Panamera the way it’s meant to be driven, sitting at the back is more like being in the tandem seat of an F-15 fighter. No, you can’t fire a Sparrow missile from the high-tech-looking central console but you may need a g-suit (and a puke bag) if the road gets twisty.

Whilst there maybe enough space on offer with great legroom and surprisingly decent headroom, you can’t lounge in the Panamera’s deeply contoured and sporty rear buckets as you would in an S-class. Also, the slim windows, sloping roofline and tall front seats don’t give you the airy ambience you expect from a chauffeur-driven luxury car. The truth is that the Turbo Executive is not the ideal car to be driven around in. It’s for someone who sits in the back seat occasionally or is perpetually late for their flight and needs to be to driven to the airport in a hurry.

The only place to be in any Porsche is in the driver’s seat and the Panamera is no exception. The moment you drop yourself into the perfectly bolstered driver’s seat, to face an all-new dashboard that blends traditional Porsche functionality with a digital interface, you forget that there’s a pair of seats and a pretty large boot behind you.

Gone is the bewildering sea of tiny buttons in the previous Panamera, which predictably, have been replaced by touch-sensitive controls, but what truly stands out is the infotainment system. The ultra-high-definition display, the haptic feedback and the unintimidating way in which the huge number of functions can be quickly accessed make this 12.3-inch-wide touchscreen a delight and less of a distraction to use.


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Technical Specifications

Engine

Type: V8, 3996cc, twin-turbo petrol
 
Power: 550hp at 5750-6000rpm
 
Torque: 770Nm at 1960-4500rpm

Transmission

Gearbox: 8-speed auto

Dimensions

Length: 5199mm
 
Width: 1937mm
 
Height: 1432mm
 
Wheel base: 3100mm
 
Boot volume: 495 litres

Performance

0-100: 3.7sec (claimed)

Economy

Tank size: 90 litres


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