Things are looking up for the Porsche Panamera. Dynamically, it's always been good – fast, comfortable, and much more spacious than something like a 911 – but the general consensus is that the first-gen Panamera's styling was, shall we say, less successful. All that changes for the second-generation car. Despite being longer, wider, and taller than before, it's much more attractive, with a lower roofline that sweeps back toward the rear haunches with a pleasing arc.
There's a clear styling link to Porsche's mainstay, the 911. The new Panamera's body is made mostly from aluminum, minus some high-strength steel and the optional large, panoramic roof overhead. LED lighting elements front and rear look suitably up-to-date, especially the interconnected design of the taillights. Wheels range from 19 inches to 21, with 20s standard on the Turbo.
Porsche isn't just recalling its current sports car with the new Panamera. The central tachometer is designed to evoke the one in the 1955 356 A, more colloquially known as the Speedster. Beside that one analog throwback, however, the latest Panamera is fully modern and technologically advanced. Two seven-inch screens flank the tach, and the Porsche Advanced Cockpit includes a 12.3-inch tablet-like touchscreen in front of the driver. Apple CarPlay is available, but there's no mention of Android Auto. A new thermal imaging camera makes it easier to see in the dark.
A completely new range of engines powers the second-gen Panamera, starting with a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 that puts out 440 horsepower and 405 pound-feet of torque. In the Panamera 4S, that's enough to launch the saloon to 60 in 4.4 seconds (4.2 with the optional Sport Chrono Package) and to hit a top speed of 180 miles per hour. The Panamera Turbo boasts a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 with 550 hp and 567 lb-ft. The 0–60 run takes just 3.6 seconds (3.4 with Sport Chrono) and the top speed is 190 mph. Both the 4S and the Turbo come with standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Much of the chassis tech from the last Panamera is carried over, including Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, and active roll stabilization. The available active air suspension has been updated with a three-chamber design. The 2017 model adds rear-wheel steering as an option, borrowed from the 911 line. All of this adds up to a handily quicker car; Porsche is claiming the car in the video below set the (unofficial) Nürburgring record for a production sedan, lapping the Nordschleife 14 seconds quicker than the outgoing model.
Expect to see the 2017 Porsche Panamera hit dealers in January of 2017. Base price for the 4S is $101,040. The Turbo begins at $147,950 and will surely rise quickly from there.