Until the Panamera E-Hybrid arrives later in the year, the 4S Diesel is the fuel-sipping economy champion of Porsche’s brand new super-saloon range. Of course, these things are relative; you’re not going to find a 2.0-litre four-pot oil burner under the bonnet.
In fact, you get twice as much capacity and twice as many cylinders – a 3956cc twin-turbocharged V8 with variable turbine geometry (VTG). The headline numbers are an impressive 416bhp and a staggering 627Ib ft of torque. Thanks to those clever VTG snails, you only need 1000rpm on the dial to get all that twist. A brand new eight-speed PDK gearbox sends power to all four wheels.
Underneath is a new mixed-material MSB platform that will also be used for the next-gen Bentley Continental GT. This is not only more rigid, but is also usefully lighter to boot.
Optional extras include a new three-chamber air suspension, all-wheel steer and a clever cruise control system that takes into account speed limits, bends and inclines to provide the most efficient cross-country transit.
What’s it like?
That MSB platform may have trimmed a few kilos from the kerb weight, but the Panamera is still a hefty piece of kit. Regardless, the 4S Diesel is capable of building speed like few other four-doors. It never feels quite as fast as it actually is – a trait shared with every other model in the range. But still, few cars could keep up with a 4S Diesel driven hard.