It's fast, stylish and very economical. Ed Stephens enjoys this Porsche diesel.
The Porsche Panamera delivered to my home looked stunning in an Aqua Blue Metallic finish complimented with 20 inch black alloy wheels.
And perhaps it should have, as both features were optional extras priced at £2,517 and £3,197 respectively.
But there was another “extra” on each side of the car that would have some Porsche purists holding their hands up in horror.
Letters in silver spelled out the word “Diesel”. Diesel, on a Porsche sports car? Hard to believe, but true.
But the fact that the German high performance sports car manufacturer has finally decided to bite the bullet and put a diesel engine into one of its fastest cars is not the culture shock that you might think.
For the Panamera diesel is good. Very good. In fact it’s good enough to make you wonder when there will be a diesel 911 model.
The Panamera is Porsche’s only four-seater grand tourer, which, with a petrol engine, is known for its blistering performance.
But, make no mistake, the diesel version is quick enough to pin you back in your seat as it hurtles towards 62 miles per hour in 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 150 miles per hour.
It’s powered by a V6 turbo diesel engine with 250bhp and offers a hefty 550Nm of torque, which means its mid range performance is rocket-like.
And the bonus is that it will give you more than 43 miles per gallon, a figure which would be more than respectable for the average family hatchback let alone a supercar.
And while the average quoted by a manufacturer is usually impossible to attain, I managed just over 40 mpg over 400 miles, which is pretty close, and very impressive..
That means this diesel road rocket has a range of 745 miles without having to refuel. The stop-start system fitted as standard helps stretch out the fuel consumption.
At more than 16ft long the Panamera is a big car, but that means an abundance of leg room for four people, with two individually sculptured rear seats and two high backed sporting front seats, all in fine leather.
And one of the nice aspects of the cockpit-like interior is the centre console, which runs right from the fascia through to the backrests of the rear seats, giving everyone their individual space.
The high mounted gearshift for the eight speed automatic box is surrounded by a myriad of buttons while several others sit above the driver’s head giving the car an aircraft-like feel. Few interiors are as striking as the Panamera’s.
On the road there is never any obvious sense of a diesel engine under the bonnet, although the flexibility gives plenty of clues.
My car had the Porsche Active Management System fitted, which meant I had a choice of altering the suspensions at the flick of a button from comfort to sport or even sport plus for real performance driving.
And even though the car was fitted with an automatic tiptronic box you could still drive, it manually using the paddles behind the steering wheel.
The Porsche 911 has an enviable reputation for high performance, high adrenalin motoring but it’s limited to two people.
The Panamera expands the pleasure to four people, and with the new diesel versions also expands horizons so you have a truly long distance tourer with the same handling and excitement as the marque’s already established petrol-powered two seaters.
If you have the cash and want a performance four-seater that stands out in the crowd and offers exhilarating motoring with sensible economy you will struggle to do better.
Car: Porsche Panamera Diesel
Mechanical: Maximum 250bhp, 2967cc, 6cyl diesel engine driving the rear wheels via eight speed automatic gearbox.
Max speed: 150mph
0-60 mph: 6.8 sec
Combined mpg: 43.5
CO2 emissions: 172g/km