Infamously, Porsche charges extra for every little feature. In spite of this, even entry-level Panamera sedans come standard with one of the best infotainment systems on the market today.
Sliding behind the wheel, undoubtedly one of the first things you’re sure to notice about this luxury four-door’s interior is the display screen. It absolutely dominates the dashboard, spanning 12.3 inches. Not only that, it’s colorful, crisp and home to Porsche Communication Management, PCM for short, the item we’re covering here.
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This infotainment system is extremely easy to use thanks to an elegantly organized menu structure. Along the left side of the screen sits a row of buttons that take you to all the major vehicle functions, from navigation and media playback to settings and climate control. Think of it like the taskbar on your computer.
At the top of the screen is a header, which is home to a context-sensitive dropdown menu. Its functionality changes based on what page you’re on.
Making PCM more versatile than competing infotainment systems, you can also swipe from the right side of the screen to access other functions that you can even scroll up and down through. This is akin to the split-screen view you get on a tablet computer.
ALSO SEE: 2018 Porsche Panamera Review + Video
Of course, common gestures like pinch-to-zoom are supported on that gargantuan dashboard display for maximum intuitiveness. An added bonus, everything is super responsive. There really aren’t many stutters or delays with PCM.
Making it even more versatile, the navigation system supports handwriting recognition as additional input method along with a traditional popup keyboard. As expected, it’s fast, fluid and surprisingly accurate as you draw each character on the screen, plus it recognizes both upper and lowercase letters. Diacritical marks like tildes and umlauts are also registered.
But much of this is offered in other infotainment systems. Porsche is hardly the first to support pinch-to-zoom or handwriting recognition. Where things get interesting with PCM is on the home screen. It’s heavily customizable, allowing you to keep shortcuts to your most frequently used features right where you want them. You can also change the size of the icons and how much information is displayed on them, a thoughtful addition.
Just below the screen there’s also a separate click wheel. In conjunction with a back button, this physical control allows you to cycle through the system’s various menus if you’d rather not use your fingers on the screen, a handy addition when diving.
Aside from things like navigation or vehicle settings, the Panamera’s console-mounted air vents are also adjusted via PCM. Rather than having physical controls for direction and flow they’re controlled digitally, a curiously intricate addition, though it is a neat parlor trick. The vents motor closed on their own when either the vehicle or climate-control system is turned off.
Further down on the console is a range of touch-sensitive buttons, which have replaced physical switches. Engineers designed this area so it’s nearly impossible to accidentally push any of them, you’ve got to be deliberate to activate any given function.
Another feature of note is the diamond button on the right steering-wheel spoke. It’s a customizable shortcut key that you can program to a variety of functions. You can program it skip to the next music track, lift the suspension or do any number of other things, all at the push of a single switch.
And the last item worth mentioning here is Porsche Advanced Cockpit, the company’s digital instrument cluster and another item that’s standard in the Panamera. It consists of a center-mounted, analog tachometer that’s flanked by a pair of seven-inch reconfigurable screens. A very slick arrangement that underscores the Panamera’s technological excellence.
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