Can a large four-door sedan measuring more than 5m bumper to bumper be sporty and sexy
Sportier, sexier Panamera The new Porsche Panamera has a sleeker roofline. PHOTO: PORSCHE

Can a large four-door sedan measuring more than 5m bumper to bumper be sporty and sexy?

Sporty, yes.

The current Porsche Panamera Turbo S, powered by a 4.8-litre turbocharged V8 engine, sprints from zero to 100kmh in a blistering 3.8 seconds.

But the Panamera is not exactly sexy-looking. It has an awkward rear that looks a little too round, as if it cannot decide whether it wants to be a coupe or a hatchback.

That is set to change.

The German sports-car maker unveiled its new Panamera earlier this week to about 300 international motoring journalists, including The Straits Times, the only Singapore publication invited to the event.

The new Panamera is stunning.

Compared to its predecessor, the new model is 34mm longer (5,049 vs 5,015mm), 6mm wider (1,937 vs 1,931mm) and 5mm taller (1,423 vs 1,418mm).

But despite its larger proportions, it is still instantly recognisable as a Panamera, with its four doors and sloping rear roof line.

Little has changed at the front, except for a mildly reshaped bumper and a new design for its front lights. Viewed from the side, the tapering roofline is now sleeker and more coupe-like.

Gone are the awkward curves at the rear. After Porsche sliced 20mm off the roofline at the rear, the new car looks like a proper coupe, resembling a stretched version of the iconic 911.

The lower roofline means some compromise in comfort for rear passengers. When this 1.68m-tall reporter took the back seats, there was only about 10cm of headroom to spare. Any passenger taller than 1.8m is going to literally hit the roof.

Porsche launched the new Panamera with three engines: a 2.9-litre bi-turbo petrol V6 (Panamera 4S), a 4-litre bi-turbo diesel V8 (Panamera 4S Diesel) and a top- of-the-line 4-litre bi-turbo petrol V8 (Panamera Turbo).

The last of those makes the century sprint in 3.6 seconds.

Porsche also launched a new eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox with the Panamera, the PDK II, but it is unclear whether the new transmission will be standard issue across the entire range.

At the car's launch, Porsche chief executive Oliver Blume called it "the fastest limo in the world". For now, we will just have to take his word for it. Test-drives will be available only in the next few months.

The new Panamera is expected to arrive in Singapore by early next year at the latest.