2021 Porsche Panamera

Coming Early 2021

2021 Porsche Panamera
Estimated Price: Starting around $88,000 (estimated)

  • Panamera 4S now available as E-Hybrid
  • Larger battery pack for more consistent power delivery and increased range in hybrid models
  • More power for Panamera Turbo S and Turbo S E-Hybrid
  • Part of the second Panamera generation introduced for 2017
Contact your local dealers about upcoming availability and pricing details.
2021 Porsche Panamera Review
More Power and New Versions for 2021
What is the Porsche Panamera?

The Porsche Panamera packs Porsche performance into a more usable body than the historic coupes that built the brand's reputation. Available with a V6, V8 or hybrid powertrain, in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, as a sedan or liftback, and in regular or long-wheelbase versions, the Panamera offers a staggering array of choices. And based on our experience, they're all good to drive.

For 2021, Porsche has released an updated Panamera. Performance variants such as the GTS, Turbo S and Turbo S E-Hybrid get more power. The 4S E-Hybrid variant is new too. But most of the 2021 Panamera's tweaks are under the skin. You'll have to focus to really pick out the visual differences and host of small upgrades meant to collectively further refine the Panamera's driving experience. Yet overall they add up to an even better car.

What's under the Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Executive's hood?

First, caveat lector: We've only driven the new 4S E-Hybrid so far. And the one we did drive was quite a ... uniquely specced car. It was also a German-market model. That means not only did the navigation not work here in the U.S., but all sorts of bits from the exhaust to the engine tuning are ever so slightly different from the eventual U.S. model.

Other than being a trifle more Deutsch than the Panamera you'll eventually be able to buy, our ride's mashup of "all the features" made it an odd duck. As an Executive model, it came with 5.9 inches added to the wheelbase, making it only about 3 inches shorter than a BMW 7 Series. In current models, that added length also comes with about 150 extra pounds of mass.

On top of that, our 4S E-Hybrid has 552 total system horsepower, carbon-ceramic brakes, the Sport Chrono package and summer tires. We were given an executive car set up for track duty. Which makes no sense. Of course, that's the joy of Porsche: You can spec your car in deeply nonsensical ways if it brings you joy.

The point of lending us this particular sled was to illustrate the numerous minor improvements Porsche has made to the Panamera and E-Hybrid lineups. Basically every part of the driver's interface with the road has been breathed on, from software to hardware, suspension to drivetrain to steering, in an effort to make the car both more comfortable in Normal mode and more drivable in Sport or Sport Plus.

The battery pack is bigger for 2021 (up to 17.9 kWh from 14.1), which Porsche says provides more all-electric range plus more consistent electric boost to acceleration. The regenerative braking system has been redesigned as well. On top of performing more unobtrusively, it can now apparently generate up to 12 kilowatts of charging during aggressive driving. That's better than a Level 2 charger.

How does the Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Executive drive?

The new 4S E-Hybrid's acceleration is only a few tenths off the current Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, with a maximum claimed 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds (3.6 seconds for the Executive). That kind of power in a car that's likely to tip the scales over 5,000 pounds made us glad for the carbon ceramics, even if they did make limo stops in the long-wheelbase Executive devilishly hard. (Did we mention nobody would spec a Panamera this way?)

And there's no getting away from the fact that this is a very large car. It's long and heavy, and at low speed or in parking lots, you can't escape your awareness of its size. But on a back road, that nonsensical spec turns into magic. Thrown into Sport Plus, the Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Executive suddenly feels lighter and smaller. Almost small enough that it seems the whole name wouldn't fit across the back.

All of Porsche's trickery turns out to be a force for good, from the stronger power stabilizer bars to the active suspension to the retuned steering feel and revised regen/mechanical brake handoff. It's a big car that's easy and fun to drive hard and fast. It's a cliché to say it, but the car inspires confidence. In our hands, the P4SEHE monstered some incredibly tight mountain roads without putting a hair out of place.

A car this long and heavy shouldn't corner so sharply or so flat. It shouldn't brake so quickly into turns or accelerate out of them so aggressively. It feels like cheating. But who cares when you're smiling?

The Panamera has never been a slob in any of its iterations, but it's still impressive that Porsche manages to continue to refine and improve the formula and make a plug-in hybrid sedan feel like a true sports car.

How comfortable is the Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Executive?

The occasionally grabby low-speed behavior of those massive carbon-ceramic brakes aside, we had very, very few complaints. Porsche's efforts with the car's suspension were designed to create a wider window between comfort and sport settings, and they succeeded. The ride won't be mistaken for an S-Class, but in Normal mode it does an admirable job evening out bumps. The Executive's longer wheelbase certainly helped as well. The trade-off is noticeable body motion if you forget to switch to Sport before tackling a corner. Few cars change personality so completely at the push of a button.

Porsche's seats are generally quite good across the lineup (except the fixed buckets, which are a nightmare and anyone who tells you otherwise has been brainwashed or bought), and these were no exception. We had no complaints after four hours behind the wheel, and we appreciated both the halfway-decent massage function and fully decent seat ventilation. The seat cushion may feel a touch narrow, but when you start cornering hard you'll wind up wishing for more bolstering.

The Executive's rear seats are deep and comfortable, almost like a padded, leather-wrapped Adirondack. Executive seating in more dedicated luxury cars often includes a fully reclining seat, but in the Porsche you'll have to settle for a reclining backrest. You'll still get heating, ventilation and massage, though.

If we have a complaint on the comfort front, it's road noise. This may be down to the more performance-oriented tires Porsche has made available, but for a car that's otherwise so comfortable, and that can run silently in EV mode, the noise over cracks and bumps on the freeway felt out of character.

How economical is the Porsche Panamera 4S E-Hybrid Executive?

Porsche doesn't have official EPA range numbers yet, but maximum range is sure to increase from the current 14 miles. Even at 75% charge, our car estimated more than 20 miles of available electric range (but remember, German model, not final, YMMV, etc.). It seems likely that if it's left plugged in overnight, you'll be able to handle an average commute without ever firing up the V6. And while the car isn't very electrifying to drive without the gas motor switched on, it's certainly more than passable as a commuter.

How's the Porsche Panamera's interior?

Porsche hasn't done much to the interior beyond a new steering wheel and a new clock face (which you'll be able to buy as a matching watch from Porsche Design, of course), so our basic praises and complaints about the interior still stand. Construction and materials are impeccable, and there's a surprising amount of room up front (and a perhaps unsurprising amount of room in the back of the Executive model, which is Legroom City). But visibility runs the gamut from "eh" to "is there a car behind me?" and the low-set windows make the interior feel tighter than it really is. Oh, and the piano black center console creates blinding glare if the sun hits it just right. Invest in some polarized lenses if you're picking up a Panamera in sunny Southern California.

How's the Porsche Panamera's tech?

Again, not much has changed. Porsche is pushing improvements to voice commands and has introduced wireless Apple CarPlay, but our German-spec tester and 3-year-old Samsung mobile didn't really allow us to test either. A full verdict will have to wait until we get a U.S. model in for official testing sometime next year.

The driver aids still work quite well, and the optional Burmester stereo is still superb. But there are also still a lot of capacitive touch buttons that are distracting to use and a touchscreen infotainment system that simply isn't as intuitive or technically impressive as the best of what competitors have to offer. It's a car that works best if you're willing to set it and forget it. If you're a fidgeter, it's a bit bothersome. Especially with steering this sharp: Let your attention drift and you're likely to wind up in the next lane.

EdmundsEdmunds says

The Porsche Panamera does a better job of being all things to all people than it has any right to. It's a comfortable sedan; it's a sharp, confident sports car; it's a plug-in capable of short stints of all-electric driving (if you spec it that way); and it's very, very good at almost everything it does.

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