Five-Point Inspection: 2014 Porsche Panamera S

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

In case you didn’t know, the Panamera is heavily revised for 2014. Porsche claims that this is now the second generation of the Panamera model lineup and it includes a host of changes inside and out.

Chief among these changes are a new plug-in hybrid model, an extended-wheelbase model, and the discontinuation of the 4.8-liter V8 in the S and 4S models.

The 4.8-liter V8 will live on in the manic Panamera GTS, but the S models now receive a new twin-turbocharged V6 that promises to be more efficient and faster than the outgoing model. We had a chance to drive one recently during an event near Portland, OR to see if these claims are indeed true.

The S receives the same updates that all 2014 Panameras do. That means the front end now features larger air intakes and more distinctive headlights. In the back there is a new rear hatch with a larger glass that helps ease some of the awkward rear proportions of the older model. There is also a wider spoiler that rises up at highway speeds, a lower placed license plate holder and more pronounced LED taillights. Of course, a new set of wheels are now available.

It isn’t every day that Porsche adds a new engine to the manufacturer’s portfolio, but today is one of those days. Replacing the 4.8-liter V8 is a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 pumping out 420 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque. That is 20 more horsepower and 15 lb-ft more torque compared to the V8.

Hooked up to Porsche’s seven-speed dual clutch PDK transmission, the new TT V6 isn’t just more powerful, but also more efficient. Officially rated at 17 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, the new 2014 Panamera S beats last year’s numbers by 1 mpg in the city and 3 mpg on the highway.

The new twin-turbo V6 feels very powerful. Step on the throttle and after minimal amounts of lag, the Panamera launches itself down the road. Although the output numbers are similar to the E-Hybrid, the Panamera S feels much faster thanks to its lighter curb weight. It is not exactly a featherweight, but starting at just 3,990 lbs, and weighing in as tested at closer to 4,500 lbs., the Panamera S is almost as light as the base Panamera with the non-turbocharged 3.6-liter V6.

This drivetrain can launch the car from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, or even 4.6 seconds with the Sport Chrono package. As well, top speed is significantly increased compared to the base Panamera as this car can reach 178 mph top speed. The turbocharged V6 engine is all the power that is needed in the Panamera, but then again no one needs a Panamera so those paying the premium to drive this car may want to go for even more power and performance. Plus, the V6 turbo cannot match the glorious sound of the V8.

Panamera 4S

Compared to the E-Hybrid or Turbo, the Panamera S feels light on its feet, but that feeling comes from more than just weight savings. The suspension calibration settings seem to allow for more rebound than in the GTS or Turbo which makes the S more predictable to drive, but can also make it somewhat jittery on poorly maintained roads when pushing it hard.

Our test vehicle came equipped with the optional 19-inch wheels wearing 255/45R19 tires up front and 285/40R19 in the rear. Although these tires provide ample grip, the car doesn’t have the glued to the road feel of sportier Panameras and can be upset by mid-corner bumps. The S is better dynamically than the base Panamera and E-Hybrid though, but that is it.

The Panamera S starts at $93,200 which is a few thousand dollars cheaper than the E-Hybrid. From here virtually every Panamera option is available including the long-wheelbase Executive model. Our test vehicle was set up as a mini-limousine with options like the heated and cooled rear seats. Being a proper hatchback, trunk space is generous at 15.7 cubic feet.

The opulent luxury stuffed in this cabin makes the quick Panamera one of the sportiest luxury sedans in the segment. It is just not a four-door sports car like the GTS or Panamera Turbo are, but doesn’t cost anywhere near their prices either.

Curious about buying a new Panamera? You can learn more about Porsche’s lineup of cars in AutoGuide’s new car section. Or if you prefer, navigate directly to the latest version of the car by clicking here.

Discuss this story on our Porsche Forum.

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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