WHILE I was thinking about what makes a classic car, I did wonder if the Porsche Panamera will be so regarded in years to come.
The Panamera Diesel is a car I have recently spent some time with and is, to say the least, a very different type of vehicle to those usually associated with the name of Porsche.
I am confident the Porsche marque — synonymous as it is with the truly classic German sports car — will live on indefinitely, probably as long as there are cars on roads. Even if one day people “drive” cars without wheels, as in the Eighties sci-fi movie Blade Runner, I am sure there will be a rather astounding wheel-less Porsche among the best of them.
But the Porsche Panamera? This model is what I have always understood to be of the Gran Turismo variety. I love the concept of this car and have always thought the grand tourer (from the Italian gran turismo) or GT — once a type of car even referred to as an “English Shooting Brake” — is a car that warrants close attention and can be very attractive.
The reason for this is that you get all the practicality of a four- or five-seater car with generous boot space and power and performance to match. And as the name implies, you might embark upon a motoring grand tour with confidence in your GT.
In this regard, the Porsche Panamera Diesel is on the money. As one would expect with this German carmaker’s thoroughness there are a number of varieties of this model, including hybrid and turbo versions. The diesel car was wondrously comfortable, though a big car to manoeuvre.
This would be a matter of choice of course because if you did not want the luxury of a big, wide tourer then you would stick with the sports car.
Porsche recognises that the Panamera is a car of what it calls “thrilling contradictions”. That is, the Panamera could be right if you want a sports car for everyday use (and one that you can share with your family and friends).
In that regard this car makes perfect sense. You get a car — in the diesel version, for example — that can accelerate from 0 to 62mph in six seconds, hit a top speed of 160mph and deliver 44.1mpg on the combined fuel cycle. You could get through a lot of grand touring in such a vehicle.
The new Panamera Diesel is driven by a 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6. Fuel is injected directly by a common-rail injection system.
The diesel is priced at £65,269, while the top-of-the-range Panamera Turbo S will cost you £131,049.
By Nigel Wigmore