► Porsche Panamera Executive review
► We test the new long-wheelbase saloon
► Designed for China, sold in UK too
Yes, you can now buy a long-wheelbase Porsche Panamera Executive - the long-wheelbase version of the sports saloon with a chunky 150mm extra grafted into the wheelbase.
Does this make the Pan-am more of a rival to the Mercedes S-class and BMW 7-series LWB limousines? Sort of, but it’s worth stressing the four-door Porsche remains a sporting saloon at heart.
The ‘Executive’ bit of the badge is what gives the game away, heralded by the chromed kickplates as you climb in through the significantly bigger rear doors.
Does the long-wheelbase Porsche Panamera Executive work? Is it roomy back there?
You bet. The longer back doors make a huge difference. Rather than squeezing through and dropping down into the individual chairs, you now slide through into the rear captain’s seat.
Ours was equipped with the full-shebang massaging and individually adjustable rear pews. Having driven 10 hours back from the 2017 Frankfurt motor show in one blast, we can confirm they are very comfortable indeed.
Choose from Stretch, Wave, Shiatsu, Lumbar and Shoulder massages, selected on a six-inch digital infotainment screen. Our preferred back treatment? The vigorous Stretch - perfect for rubbing away the excesses of the IAA.
Is the Panamera LWB practical?
Legroom is properly comfy. Even with quite tall front-seat passengers, there’s plenty of space in the rear and the boot remains a very usable 405 litres (enough for four Frankfurt showgoers' luggage), rising to 1391 litres with the rear seats folded.
Ours also came with some of the most exquisitely engineered aircraft-style pop-out tables. Now we know where those Porsche turn-of-the-millennium cupholder engineers have been deployed for all those years.
Glitches? The lack of any USB ports in the rear is a surprise omission. We couldn't find a single one in the rear compartment of our test car...
How does the Porsche Panamera Executive drive? Does the extra weight blunt performance?
Hardly. We tested the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive, with the perky petrol-electric system. Around town, it’ll slip along city roads in a whispered hush for up to 30 miles on EV mode; plug in for extra juice if you commute daily and you'll rarely have to fill up with fuel if you do mostly short hops in the week.
On a high-speed cross-Continental cruise, we averaged a more mediocre 26mpg, so don’t go expecting miracle fuel economy. Certainly not the claimed combined average of 113mpg. But your tax bills will be remarkably reasonable with CO2 emissions pegged at a (still-risible) 56g/km.
This is a Porsche, though. So stomp the right pedal, and 0-62mph is dispatched in 4.7sec and top whack is 173mph. You’ll never want for performance in the E-Hybrid. That 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine is twin-turbocharged, don't forget - producing 326bhp and 332lb ft of torque, which is supplemented by a particularly punchy 100kW, or 134bhp, electric motor. It'll sprint to 40mph in EV mode in just 5.9sec, dammit.
The eight-speed PDK automatic slushes through the ratios with an oily precision; one of the few flies in the ointment is the way it can cog-swap unnecessarily, especially at an M-way cruise, between seventh and eighth. You almost sense the complexities of juggling twin power supplies, its 0rpm 'gliding' off-throttle and changing gear are too much for the electronic ECU brain at times.
Whatever, the 150mm wheelbase stretch has little discernible effect on ride and handling. Ours rode on large 19-inch alloy wheels suspended by air springs and proved very comfortable, with just enough of a controlled edge to the damping to remind you’re in a Porsche and not a comfort-biased German limo.
Which Panamera models are available in long-wheelbase?
The 150mm stretch is available on the following models:
- Porsche Panamera Executive
- Porsche Panamera 4 Executive
- Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive
- Porsche Panamera 4S Executive
- Porsche Panamera Turbo Executive
- Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive
However, it is not currently offered on the Sport Turismo shooting brake bodystyle. Read our Panamera estate review here.
Price? The LWB Panamera costs £5k over the regular saloon. Yes, that’s nearly a grand per inch!
Build quality is first-rate throughout and the rest of the Panamera package is as per the regular four-door. So you get the rather brilliant new digital screens to control most minor functions, fewer buttons than in the Mk1 and a great driving position.
The long-wheelbase model is a welcome addition to the Panamera range. It’s long been sports saloon of choice in this sector, and the latest Mk2 edition adds sweeter looks (the stretch doesn’t affect style, to these eyes) and lashings more practicality.
What’s not to like? Steep price aside, it gives the Porsche Panamera an even more rounded capability and gets the CAR seal of approval.
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