A diesel Porsche sounds like sacrilege, right? But then, a decade-and-a-half ago, so did a Porsche SUV and a Porsche four-door grand tourer. Well, here we are in present day – I’m behind the wheel of the Panamera and it’s got, well, a diesel engine.
The engine is a 247bhp, 3.0-litre V6 diesel that channels power to the rear wheels. It’s not a bespoke motor; it is in fact an Audi-derived unit, one you’ll also find under the bonnet of the Cayenne Diesel. Peak power is 247bhp which, as we found out, is decent if outright performance is not your number one priority. For the record, the Panamera Diesel will do the 0-100kph sprint in a claimed 6.8 seconds, which is still quick by any yardstick, especially for something that is on the wrong side of 1.8 tonnes. Where the Panamera works best, though, is when you want to cover large distances in little time. That’s because you have easy access to the engine’s 56kgm of torque, which is available from 1750-2750rpm. To see what we mean, you need to weigh down on the accelerator pedal at 160kph. It pulls like a locomotive – effortless and strong.
Helping in a huge way here is the responsive eight-speed automatic transmission that is in tune with the movements of your right foot and drops down gears with little hesitation when the need arises. Do note, the diesel Panamera uses a torque-converter box rather than the faster-shifting PDK double-clutch unit that the petrol cars can be had with. The ’box is tuned for efficiency (this is a diesel, after all), so unhurried driving will have the gearbox engage seventh or even eighth gear. But switch to Sport and it will keep the engine in the meat of its powerband, with the soundtrack increasing in volume to a subdued growl. Shifts now happen at 4500rpm and you can use the gearlever’s tiptronic mode or the steering buttons for added control. The pull-push buttons on the steering wheel aren’t that intuitive though.