2018 Porsche Panamera

2018 Porsche Panamera Sedan Review

Who else but Porsche would build a plug-in hybrid sedan that produces 680 horsepower?
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

The Porsche Panamera was redesigned from the ground up just a year ago. It got new looks, new engines and a bevy of tech upgrades. But for Porsche, that's apparently not enough. The 2018 Porsche Panamera gets two big additions: the Panamera Sport Turismo and the Turbo S E-Hybrid. The Sport Turismo has an expanded hatchback area that gives the Panamera an almost wagonlike profile, while the Turbo S E-Hybrid packs more power than almost any car Porsche has ever made.

With a whopping 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of torque, the Turbo S E-Hybrid will out-accelerate most sports cars on the planet (Porsche estimates it will go from zero to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds with the optional Sport Chrono package). That would be impressive on its own, especially from such a big, luxurious sedan, but the same car can be plugged in and charged for, Porsche says, about 30 miles of electric-only range. Last year's Panamera was already performance-focused and conspicuously luxurious. It's even more so for the 2018 Panamera.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Porsche Panamera 4S as one of Edmunds' Best Sports Sedans for this year.



what's new

Fresh off a redesign just last year, the Porsche Panamera still gets some major updates for 2018. The biggest addition to the lineup is the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. It's powered by a twin-turbocharged V8, paired with an electric motor and a 14-kWh lithium-ion battery. Who else but Porsche would create a plug-in hybrid with 680 horsepower? There's also the new body style, the wagonlike Sport Turismo, plus some additional torque (from 435 to 516 lb-ft) for the standard E-Hybrid model.

we recommend

While the range-topping Turbo S E-Hybrid is appealing, it comes with a mighty price tag and for that reason, we recommend the Panamera Turbo (non-hybrid). The Turbo is available in all three Panamera body styles (we prefer the Sport Turismo) and it comes with Porsche's fire-breathing 550-hp twin-turbo V8.

Standard equipment on the Panamera Turbo includes a wide-view 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, an adaptive air suspension, full leather upholstery, 10-way power front seats with memory settings, heated rear seats and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Porsche Panamera is available in three different body styles, with five different powertrains. Equipment levels change as you climb up the ladder, but no matter which one you choose, each Panamera is highly customizable. Essentially, if you're buying a Panamera, you're spoiled for choice.

At the bottom of the ladder, there's the only rear-wheel-drive Panamera, the base trim. From there, everything else is all-wheel-drive: the Panamera 4, Panamera 4S, Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, Panamera Turbo and Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Everything above the base trim is also offered in the Executive body style, which is a longer version of the Panamera that adds nearly 6 inches of rear legroom. The 4, 4S, 4 E-Hybrid and Turbo models are also available in a Sport Turismo body style, which has a bigger hatchback cargo area. All Panameras come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and four seats (a middle rear seat is optional).

The base Panamera comes with quite a bit of standard equipment, including a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 (330 hp, 331 lb-ft), 19-inch wheels, Porsche Active Suspension Management (also known as adaptive suspension or PASM), LED headlights, automatic wipers, a panoramic sunroof, a power hatchback trunklid, power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors with heating, a two-way adaptive rear spoiler, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition (without keyless entry), partial leather upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, driver-seat memory settings, dual-zone automatic climate control, a manually adjustable steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth, a wide-view 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system (including a navigation system, Apple CarPlay and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot), and a 10-speaker audio system with satellite and HD radio and USB and auxiliary audio inputs.

The Panamera 4 keeps the same standard equipment utilizes the same single-turbo 3.0-liter V6 as the standard model but adds all-wheel drive. The Panamera 4S keeps the all-wheel-drive powertrain, but it swaps the engine to a twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 (440 hp, 405 lb-ft) and adds a unique dual exhaust system. The Panamera 4 E-Hybrid gets the 2.9-liter engine along with an electric motor and a 14-kWh lithium-ion battery (for a combined 462 hp, 516 lb-ft) with approximately 30 miles of all-electric driving range. To support the extra weight of the battery pack, air suspension is standard on the hybrid models.

The more performance-oriented Panamera Turbo makes use of a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 (550 hp, 567 lb-ft), 20-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, an adaptive air suspension, a four-way adaptive rear spoiler, quad tailpipes, keyless entry and ignition, a power-adjustable steering wheel, dark walnut wood trim, synthetic suede roofliner and pillar trim, full leather upholstery, 14-way power front seats with memory settings, heated rear seats and a 14-speaker Bose audio system.

At the top of the ladder, there's the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which adds the hybrid components to the 4.0-liter turbo V8 (for a combined 680 hp and 626 lb-ft). Essentially, standard equipment is the same as on the regular Turbo with the addition of 21-inch wheels; ceramic composite brakes; the optional Sport Chrono package (launch control, a dash-mounted stopwatch, an Individual driving mode for a custom feel, a dedicated Sport button and performance-oriented displays); and a second air-conditioning system to cool the car while it's parked.

There's a long list of stand-alone or bundled options for pretty much every trim level since Porsche believes that owners should be able to customize their cars to personal taste. You can have the 4 and the 4S with most of the Turbo's standard equipment. Additional highlights for the rest of the lineup include various wheel, paint, interior trim and leather specifications (with multiple two-tone interior treatments on offer), speed-sensitive steering assist, a sport exhaust, power-closing doors, a heated steering wheel, a 21-speaker Burmester audio system, 18-way adaptive sport seats, eight-way power rear seats with memory function, ventilated front and rear seats, massaging front and rear seats, four-zone climate control, a rear touchscreen interface, power rear sunshades and a dual-screen rear entertainment system.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2017 Porsche Panamera 4S (turbo 2.9L V6 | 8-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

5.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking4.5 / 5.0
Steering4.5 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort5.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort4.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0
Climate control3.0 / 5.0

Interior

4.0 / 5.0

Ease of use2.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.5 / 5.0
Driving position4.5 / 5.0
Roominess4.0 / 5.0
Visibility4.5 / 5.0
Quality4.5 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space3.5 / 5.0

Technology

3.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation2.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration3.5 / 5.0
Driver aids5.0 / 5.0
Voice control4.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
No car this big and heavy has any business performing on this level. It's mind-boggling how capable the Panamera 4S is on a fun, winding road. Anyone who claims it's not a "real" Porsche clearly hasn't driven one. And this is just a single step up from the base model in a very deep lineup.

acceleration

edmunds rating
Among similarly priced luxury sedans, the Panamera 4S is among the quickest, reaching 60 mph in only 3.9 seconds. Power is breathtaking, and the shifts are impressively smooth. Engaging launch control will fulfill your adolescent racer dreams, and the cars sounds great, too.

braking

edmunds rating
Stopping from 60 mph required only 101 feet, which is shorter than any rival's result. Under heavy braking, it remains composed and controllable. The pedal is on the soft side but very trustworthy. When it's driven hard, some odd clicking can be heard and felt, but it doesn't affect performance.

steering

edmunds rating
The steering effort is light, and the driver receives little feedback. But with a car that handles as well as this, it's really not an issue. Even though this is a big sedan, the steering is very accurate and you feel as if you can place it precisely where you want in a turn.

handling

edmunds rating
Precise in all situations. When driving the Panamera 4S on a fun road, you quickly forget that it's a 4,400-pound luxury sedan. It feels much lighter and smaller. There's seemingly no limit to the amount of grip from the sticky tires and all-wheel drive. It's almost as rewarding to drive as a 911.

drivability

edmunds rating
Not only does the Panamera perform like a smaller sports car, but it also maneuvers like a smaller sedan, too. The turning radius is narrower than you'd expect, and it's easy to squeeze it into a tight parking spot.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Panamera's performance means some concessions were made. The climate control is fussier than it needs to be, and ride quality isn't as luxurious as that of some rivals. But none of these issues comes even remotely close to being a deal-breaker.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Porsche's seat game is strong. Whether you're short or tall, the range of adjustments will accommodate you. The padding is thin, but the front seats are so well-shaped that all-day comfort is guaranteed. For hotter climates, we'd suggest springing for the optional ventilated seats.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
As expected, the Panamera 4S doesn't ride quite as smoothly as its less athletic rivals, but it is still exceptionally comfortable. Small, high-frequency bumps are almost undetectable, and broader undulations are well-managed.

noise & vibration

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Wind noise on the highway is absent, and the engine is well-muffled when you're just cruising. Because of this silence, you'll hear the summer tires more distinctly, but at no time does the noise become intrusive, even on coarse asphalt.

climate control

edmunds rating
The air conditioning cools the cabin rapidly, and the vent coverage is excellent. Using the system isn't as simple as it should be, and it takes a few button and touchscreen commands to access. The touchscreen-only control of the center vent direction is ridiculously complicated.

interior

edmunds rating
The new Panamera's interior is a vast aesthetic improvement, but many of the controls aren't as easy to use and can be a source of driver distraction. Otherwise, the cabin is as luxurious, modern and refined as those of any of its contemporaries.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Thankfully, this generation Panamera forgoes the mass of buttons of its predecessor, but some difficulties remain. The operation of the capacitive touch "buttons" take the driver's attention away from the road, and the gear selector takes some getting used to.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The Panamera is easy to live with. The doors are fairly short in length and open wide in tight spots. They remain in position throughout the stroke rather than at preset detents. Rear passengers will need to dip their heads slightly to clear the sloping roof, but only if they're tall.

driving position

edmunds rating
The primary controls are well-placed, and the range of seat adjustments ensure an optimal position for drivers of any size. Unfortunately, we encountered some glitches in the seat memory functions in which the system would not accept new adjustments.

roominess

edmunds rating
Even though you get a sporty, wraparound feeling from the cockpit, the Panamera is still very spacious. There's a wealth of headroom. The rear seats will easily accommodate people over 6 feet, and the long-wheelbase version adds even more space for tall passengers.

visibility

edmunds rating
The forward view is very good. The front roof pillars are well-contoured to minimize obstruction in left turns. The pillar between the front and rear seats is rather thick and requires craning the neck to see past. The rear window affords a good view, and the surround-view camera eliminates any guesswork.

quality

edmunds rating
The interior materials are befitting a car of this class and price, and there's a sturdy construction underneath. We drove the car exceptionally hard, however, and noticed a few new creaks afterward.

utility

edmunds rating
Though it's the "hatchback" in the luxury sedan class, the Panamera doesn't reap the rewards usually associated with that body style. There is plenty of space for luggage and cargo but not as much as the specifications suggest. Again, these are fairly small concessions for a sporty car.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
The door pockets, the center armrest bin, and glovebox are all on the small side, leaving you limited options for your personal effects. The small and large cupholders are good at securing bottles and cups.

cargo space

edmunds rating
With 17.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, the Panamera offers generous space on paper. In practice, the trunk is shallow, and the high liftover height is an impediment. The lack of remote seatback releases also deducts points.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
The LATCH anchors are hidden but easily accessed. Taller front passengers may keep a rear-facing car seat from fitting in the back, but forward-facing seats won't be a problem.

technology

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Operation of the Panamera's many features isn't as intuitive as in its rivals. The infotainment interface is the biggest offender and has been a persistent Porsche gripe. The company claims that these are secondary in a "driver's car." Still, we expect more in a premium luxury vehicle.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
Even with the new infotainment system, it trails the competition. The audio quality was decent but not impressive.The $8,000 Burmester audio upgrade would likely cure the issue. We also observed sporadic glitches with the controller knob not working when pushed.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard and easier to use than Porsche's system. Touchscreen inputs worked all the time, but the customizable steering wheel button did not.

driver aids

edmunds rating
The advanced safety features are well-tuned for a sporty car like this. False alarms were never triggered, and the stability control intervention was graceful. The adaptive cruise control was also smooth and maintained its speed even on steep downhill grades.

voice control

edmunds rating
Voice controls in the native powertrain control module (PCM) unit weren't as easy or intuitive as Apple CarPlay's, but this is true of most systems. But the voice controls did faithfully execute our commands.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.