Porsche, as we've seen time and time again, isn't the type of carmaker to rest on its laurels. It traditionally rolls out new and updated models with the efficiency and regularity you'd expect of a German company obsessed with performance; after a a brand-new generation of the iconic 911 drops, for example you could practically set your watch by the arrival of the many variants that follow.
So given that the second-generation Panamera debuted in 2016, it's certainly not surprising that Porsche would be rolling out a refreshed version for the 2021 model year. Still, the zoom-lovers from Zuffenhausen did manage to pack a few unexpected treats into the updated models.
The big news, as previously rumored, is the replacement of the Panamera Turbo in the lineup with the new Panamera Turbo S. To add that l'il "S" to the tail, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 has been tweaked and massaged to bump output from 550 to 620 horsepower and from 567 to 604 lb-ft of torque. That enables the car to vault from 0 to 60 mph half a second faster than before, according to Porsche, letting it do the sprint in a claimed 2.9 seconds. (Keep in mind Porsche's acceleration times tend to be conservative, so don't be surprised if independent tests reveal it's even quicker.) Top speed is a clench-worthy 196 mph.
Porsche Active Suspension Management (a.k.a. an active suspension) is standard on the Turbo S, as it is on every 2021 Panamera, and it's been retuned for a slightly more comfortable ride. (The steering has also been retuned, to make it sharper.) The Panamera Turbo S also scores the 48-volt anti-roll bar system called Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport, torque vectoring, ceramic brakes, rear axle steering and 21-inch 911 Turbo Design wheels as standard, thus making it one mean speed machine right out of the box.
While all 2021 Panameras benefit from a facelift (the Sport Design package of old has now become the standard look), the Turbo S nets a slightly different face with larger air intakes and unique lights. Inside, the new range-topping internal-combustion model picks up a new GT Sport steering wheel with leather-wrapped shift paddles for the eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 14-way comfort seats and a 14-speaker, 710-watt Bose stereo come standard, although you can swap those out for more expensive alternatives if you want.
The Panamera GTS that sits just below the Turbo S also scores a power upgrade, with its version of the twin-tuirbo V8 rising by 20 horses to 473. As before, it comes standard with a plethora of performance-oriented equipment like 18-way adaptive sport seats, an Alacantara-wrapped steering wheel and a sport exhaust, as well as blacked-out trim details outside.
If you're the sort of person who likes their performance cars to come with a plug, you'll be glad to hear that a new Panamera 4S E-Hybrid PHEV is joining the lineup. Sliding between the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid and the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid in the plug-in hybrid Panamera hierarchy, it melds an electric motor with a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 to spit out a combined 552 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, putting it in line with the outgoing Panamera Turbo in power. Expect 0-60 in a claimed 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 185 mph.
All new hybrid Panameras have picked up a 27-percent larger battery, as well, which should enable added electric-only range. And if you're the sort of person who just wants a basic Panamera, you'll be glad to know that all lesser models now use the twin-turbo 2.9-liter V6 already seen in the 4S instead of the old single-turbo 3.0-liter V6; it's just downgraded to 235 hp for regular Panamera duty.
As before the Panamera lineup comes in regular sedan, long-wheelbase Executive, and station wagon Sport Turismo versions. We'll take our 2021 Panamera in Turbo S Sport Turismo form, please.