Porsche have proven their class once again with the Panamera 4S, reafirming the motoring giant’s iconic status.

When someone offers you the keys to a 2018 Porsche Panamera 4S, you simply say “Yes please!” keep quiet and hope they don’t change their mind. We at FACT had this exact experience when handed those very keys from Porsche Centre Bahrain, Behbehani Brothers w.I.I. and were told we only had to return them the following day. Nice! At first glance it was clear the master designers at Porsche have created a stylistic link between the 4S and the iconic 911. This second generation Panamera boasts the typical Porsche flyline with pronounced shoulders, athletic flanks and a roofline that dips 20mm lower at the rear for perfect aerodynamics. The refined exterior of this four-door coupé includes a brand new front-end design complete with a crossbar in the radiator grille. This emphasises the vehicle’s width as well as the stylish, arrow-shaped bonnet.

LED headlights finish off the front with a flourish, whilst at the back end, three dimensional LED rear lights that include integrated four-point brake lights, interconnected by a narrow LED strip, result in a unique night design. The inclusion of larger wheels gives this car an even more powerful  presence, adding to its already sporty appearance. As we gently lowered ourselves into the front of the vehicle, taking time to savour the experience, it was instantly obvious that pride and money had gone into every little design detail. It came as no surprise that only the very finest of materials have been used throughout the interior.

The seats were comfortable and firm at the same time, exactly what one would want for this experience and the newly designed steering wheel felt perfect in our hands. In addition, the 4S offers the best layout of any model in the Porsche luxury class, with a 40:20:40 split of the folding rear bench backrests. This plus the 495 – 1304 litre luggage capacity makes this vehicle very practical for everyday use, perfect for a family and luggage. Other great features include a panoramic tilt roof, massage seats, ambient lighting and a 3D high-end sound system from Burmester.

The designers behind this beautiful machine have put a huge amount of thought into the functionality as well as the easy interaction of the new Porsche Advanced Cockpit. A completely new display and control concept greets the driver and passengers upon entry. The intuitive user interface combined with the 12.3 inch display touchscreen, takes the operation of the communication, convenience and assistance systems to a new level. All hard keys and conventional instruments throughout the vehicle have been reduced and replaced with touchsensitive panels and individually configurable displays. We found all these to be extremely helpful elements of an already occupant focussed vehicle.

Initial inspections completed, we steered her out onto the road with a huge amount of anticipation. As we eased down on the accelerator, the truth about this hugely improved Panamera came to life. Modifications to the engine, transmission, chassis and overall design concept, makes it a performance icon in the luxury class. The 4S boasts a 2.9 litre twin-turbo engine that produces 440 hp with a top speed of 289 km/h. It can shoot from 0 – 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds! Believe us when we say that it is hard to breathe whilst this kind of acceleration is taking place.

The Mode Switch is an intuitively operated rotary ring on the steering wheel, which can be used to activate one of four driving modes (Normal, Sport, Sport Plus or Individual). This ensures the perfect settings for various environment types. The Panamera 4S applies its power to the road via Porsche Traction Management (PTM) – a permanent, fully variable all-wheel drive system. Tuned to the specific driving situation, PTM sensors continually monitor wheel speeds providing perfect performance on dry roads as well as in wet conditions. What a great driving experience! Yet another fantastic feature of this mechanical beast is its considerably improved fuel economy and reduced fuel emissions.

What Porsche have managed to accomplish with their latest offering is an effortless merger between a sports car and a luxury saloon. This boils down to an assurance of comfort, style and of course, power! Although it was tough to hand back the keys the following day, we were left with the memory of a near perfect ride.