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Size and substance

Thursday 22 November 2012 8:00

Joe Olabode, managing director of IT Solutions company PCI Services, test drives the Porsche Panamera 3.0 litre V6 Turbo Diesel.

As someone who loves nice cars and indeed continually spends money (or rather loses it hand-over-fist when it comes to depreciation) on them, I’d like to think I know a fair bit more than the basics in terms of the technical engineering that goes into making them.

But despite this knowledge, my selection criteria is pretty simple. Does it look good from the outside? Does it have a presence on the road? Is it comfortable and well fitted out internally? Does it feel solid and have good road-holding - not to mention some poke when I want to have a bit of fun?

Oh and of course, how much is it? If all answers are yes and the deal is right then I will have it. So when I was asked to have a play with the Porsche Panamera I thought ‘great, a chance to play with a car made by a best of breed car maker steeped in history’. On delivery of the car my first impression was ‘‘wow’.

It looked great and it certainly had a presence on the road. The black exterior with 20” Titanium wheels was one box ticked right away.

Meanwhile, the brick red Interior with bags of room and loads of comfort, felt plush and absolutely quality, as I would have expected from a premier executive car - although I did find the control features and visual instruments to be a little congested and in some cases distracting (sometimes less is more as they say).

But I have no doubt that if I had the car long enough I would get used to or come to terms with what they could do for me and what they were telling me. In terms of performance and handling, when I first pulled away the first thing I noticed was its growl, which instantly wowed.

At once I had a sudden urge to get out there on the open road to see what this bad boy could do. Once I’d done this - and after acclimatising and familiarising myself with the car - I was able to see whether this model was for me.

Put simply, when driving I do like to really ‘feel’ a car or get a response from it whenever I press the accelerator. What was noticeable with this motor was the lag between the growl of me hitting the accelerator and the response of the car.

That, coupled with the contours of the front end bonnet, made it feel like I was always being reminded of the size of the car, which is pretty big. Clearly this was due to the cars mass and so what else should I have expected?

Out of interest, I decided to change into ‘sport’ mode which is a simple case of selecting the sport button on the centre console. Then came another wow! The difference was strikingly ‘in your face’.

The growl was directly in-line with the accelerator and instantly the performance difference was almost tangible. And in this mode the size of the car no longer mattered.

All the while I could feel the cars stability system keeping me in check, making me wonder why I’d bothered taking advanced driving lessons. More boxes were ticked however. In summary, having said all of the above, I think I would need the car for longer to decide whether it was for me.

Panamera 3.0 litre V6 Turbo Diesel is available from £63,000, the car Joe drove was £78,160. Porsche Centre Newcastle, Silverlink Park, Wallsend, Newcastle, Tyne and Wear NE28 9ND, ,