Porsche's most controversial car just got a makeover

Seven years after Porsche debuted its controversially styled Panamera sedan, it’s back with an all-new second generation for 2017.

The iconic German sports car maker unveiled its latest offering on Tuesday in a ceremony in Berlin.

“The new model represents a completely redeveloped automobile — with new engines, a new design and new technologies,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement.

“To this end, we have invested a sum of $550 million — which includes a completely new body manufacturing facility.”

Initially, in the US, the new Panamera will be available with two different engines. A 440-horsepower, 2.9-litre, twin-turbocharged V6 engine for the 4S. The Turbo variant will get a 550-horsepower, 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8.

Both engines get their power to the road through a new 8-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel-drive.

According to Porsche, the Panamera 4S is good for a 60mph run of just 4.0 seconds, while the Turbo can make the run in a stunning 3.4 seconds. Not bad for cars that tip the scales at more than 4,000 lbs.

Porsche bills the Panamera as a sort of four-door 911. And the first generation model certainly delivered performance that made it one of the fastest and best handling sports sedans in the world. As a result, its ability to go fast was never in question, but its looks have always a point of contention.

Even though much of the car is brand new, the Panamera’s distinctive styling has only changed incrementally. Thus, no one will mistake the new car for anything but a Panamera.

The new second generation model gets more 911 DNA in its styling. The front end receives Porsche’s four-point headlights, while the rear-end has been restyled to mimic the 718 and the 911. Overall, the second gen Panamera is lower and longer than its predecessor, giving the car more coupe-like proportions.

“An observer will immediately recognise the coupe-like roof line, but it is much ‘faster’, even more dynamic and includes a new side window look that emphasises the coupe-like side view even more,” Porsche design boss Michael Mauer said in a statement.

Inside, the new Panamera’s cabin styling doesn’t change all that much. However, the first-gen car’s buttons-galore center console has been redesigned with capacitive controls and a more intuitive layout. The car also gets Porsche’s upgraded infotainment system with a large 12.3-inch touchscreen.

The driver will have a brand new instrument cluster called the Porsche Advanced Cockpit to work with. Although the car retains the company’s signature center-mounted analogue tachometer that has adorned every Porsche since the legendary 356, the tach is now flanked by a pair of seven-inch LCDs.

The new Panamera is also packed with driving tech, including infrared night vision and adaptive cruise control that can tailor its driving style to both traffic and the road terrain.

The 2017 Porsche Panamera 4S starts at $99,990 while the Panamera Turbo starts at $146,000. Both cars are available for sale immediately.

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