The second generation Porsche Panamera has been shown to the media. As well as being the first model for MSB, a Volkswagen Group RWD/AWD architecture, the new hatchback sees the arrival of a fresh V8 diesel engine, now compliant with the latest EC emissions legislation.

As is normal when the SUV and sports car maker reveals a new model, only a handful of the eventual derivatives have been announced. There is for example no news on a replacement for the plug-in hybrid Panamera S E-hybrid. For the moment, the model range will be as follows:

  • Panamera 4S
  • Panamera 4S Diesel
  • Panamera Turbo

All three of the launch variants have all-wheel drive and pneumatic suspension, but RWD cars with steel springs will follow from the first quarter of 2017, as will the GTS, S E-hybrid and long-wheelbase Executive variants (initial deliveries commence in November). A shooting brake estate is also due to be added but this will not arrive until 2018.

The interior, while looking typically Porsche in shape, is a radical departure for the company. Gone are the multiple hard black plastic pushbuttons or blanked out spaces, replaced by touch sensitive controls from front and rear occupants. Meanwhile, the traditional dials in the instrument cluster have gone digital and the door handles are a new design. The effect is as if the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and outgoing Panamera’s dashboard and infotainment systems were mashed up. Some things, though, have not been allowed to change: the tachometer, positioned centrally in the instrument cluster, is reminiscent of that in the 1955 Porsche 356 A.

Porsche engineers developed the new car’s MSB architecture, and this features much aluminium in its construction. The same metal is used for the door skins, bonnet, roof and tailgate frame. MSB will also be the basis for the next Bentley GT and GTC as well as the replacement for the Flying Spur. Porsche’s own future rival for the Tesla Model S might also be based on this new platform.

The redesigned engines are all linked to an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. The least powerful variant at launch has a new 442hp 4.0-litre diesel V8 which has a torque output of 850Nm. This is said to be the world’s fastest diesel production car, with 0-100km/h taking a claimed 4.3 seconds and a top speed of 177mph. Next comes a new 440hp biturbo 2.9-litre petrol V6, followed by a 550hp 4.0-litre biturbo petrol V8.

PO620, which was the Panamera’s development code, will be fully manufactured by Porsche at its Leipzig plant: the current one has its bodies welded and painted at the Volkswagen van plant in Hanover. Around 20,000 Panamera bodies had been made at Hanover each year but this dipped in 2015 as the car’s age began to affect sales.

Confirmation of the switch to full manufacturing came in a March 2014 statement from the Volkswagen Group: “Since its market introduction in 2009, body shells for the Panamera have been produced and painted at the Volkswagen plant in Hanover before being shipped to the Porsche plant in Saxony for pre-assembly and final assembly. With the re-organization of the Volkswagen Group production system, body production and painting for the Panamera is to start in Leipzig from 2016. The company already owns land that can be used for the expansion of the plant”.