Those with £100k to spend on a four-seat GT have plenty of options, from the demure and luxurious to the hardcore and driver-focused.

It’s for a Porsche to tend towards the latter end of that dynamic spectrum and deliver outstanding comfort and effortless distance-covering ability along with an engaging sporting edge – and that’s exactly what the Panamera 4S Diesel does.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Select Sport+ mode and the Panamera dives into tighter bends with brilliant agility, flatness and balance, and maintains that poise under power on exit

There’s more. So much about this car is the ideal manifestation of how you would want a big sporting GT to be, from the deliciously incisive pace and heft of its steering to the chassis’ wonderfully judged, mass-disguising meeting of grip, balance, handling response and body control.

Then there’s the uncommonly natural and progressive feel of the air-sprung ride in calmer moments and the way the four-wheel drive system adds traction and stability without dampening cornering poise or corrupting the steering.

There will be customers who’d prefer something more pillowy, or the more traditional purity of a steel-sprung, rear-driven, petrol-engined car. But nothing would come closer to keeping both of those customers happy at the same time than the new Panamera.

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The steering deserves a special mention. Nowhere else will you find an electromechanical rack on a car this heavy, with 21in alloys and, in our test car’s case, an optional four-wheel steering set-up that feels this natural.

From its expertly rendered weight, positivity, directness and consistency to the way it telegraphs ebbing grip under the front contact patches, it’s excellent.

But not quite as clever, perhaps, as air-sprung suspension that produces such outstanding body control in Sport mode while allowing it to feel so compliant and cosseting in Normal.

At all times the chassis has a sense of damping authority and close, gradual ride control that few like-for-like systems can equal.

That we tested the car without Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control active anti-roll bars is worth a mention.

We didn’t universally like them on either the SQ7 or the Bentley Bentayga, and it’s exactly the same technology.

Likewise, it remains to be seen how well a standard steel-sprung Panamera will ride. But be that as it may, it’s readily apparent that dynamic greatness abides here, provided you get the order form right.

The Panamera’s lateral body control, crispness of steering response and wonderful cornering balance are all so good that you could easily imagine you were driving a much smaller, lighter car. Some of this may be down to the effect of the four-wheel steering system, which allows Porsche to fit a quicker rack and a more alert handling tune than otherwise.

But the upshot is a car that feels incredibly well hunkered down and engaging when driven hard, and whose sense of poise extends to genuine handling adjustability that is rare for something with four driven wheels.

The optional 21in rims and low-profile, wide-section tyres aren’t unaffected by surface water, of course, and the braking results the car recorded in less than perfect conditions show that. But considering it’s a four-wheel-drive, two-tonne, air-sprung diesel GT, the Panamera does its maker’s sporting pedigree enormous credit.

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