This is really quite unusual, I have to say. I’m driving along at a fair clip on the autobahn from Stuttgart to Dresden, and thus far, everything has been as per Germanic schedule – I’m making more than decent progress, the weather is holding and everyone else on the road is being scrupulously correct about rules and niceties. Then, a dark cloud in the shape of a sportscar appears, and whoever is driving it is quite obviously a cretin – I’m cruising along in the middle (and correct) lane, and he drives right up to my tailpipes and begins flashing his lights, which is ruder than simultaneously burping and passing wind in public, in these parts. Before I can begin to move aside, he darts to the right and overtakes (completely illegal in Germany), threading his way through some rather startled drivers, and then swerves back in front of me. At first I’m just surprised at such unusual behaviour on a German road – then I get annoyed.
I floor the throttle, and the Audi-sourced, 3-litre, 247 bhp, 56 kgm V6 reacts crisply, carrying me forward in a smooth wave of torque. The fellow is still in front of me, but I’m gaining on him quickly enough, and soon he sees me in his rear-view – he floors it in turn, increasing the gap, but I’m not backing off either, and keep it pinned. I’m not aiming to do anything stupid, mind you – I simply want to remain at a safe distance in his mirror, letting him know that he can’t shake me that easily, and it’s working. This little cat and mouse game carries on for a while, until I decide that I’ve made my point and cut the throttle, settling back into cruise mode; the guy in the sportscar goes back to driving like an idiot. I was never going to pull ahead of a hi-po, petrol-fed V8, but the point is that the Panamera diesel is no shrinking violet in the performance stakes; it will hit an indicated 247 kph quite easily, and that isn’t exactly a light stroll – but the fact is that the Panamera was never originally designed with a diesel option in mind. The V6 and V8 petrols that otherwise power these cars are fantastic, and regardless of what you think of the styling, they make the Panamera very nice to drive, not to mention very fast (the turbo is epic).
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