Driven: The 2024 Porsche Panamera’s New Party Trick Is Surfing Suspension

The 2024 Porsche Panamera brings the Saxon sport-luxe sedan into its third generation. The exterior’s a touch cooler looking without straying far from established design; the cockpit commits hard to screens and slick black surfaces. The real conversation starter, though, is a new optional air suspension system that can obliterate body motion from turns, potholes, or anything else you might drive through.

Andrew P. Collins
2024 Porsche Panamera SpecsPanameraPanamera 4Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid
Base Price$101,550~$110,000TBA
Powertrain2.9-liter turbocharged V6 | all-wheel drive2.9-liter turbocharged V6 | all-wheel drive4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 | 140-kW electric motor | 8-speed automatic | all-wheel drive
Torque368 lb-ft368 lb-ft685 lb-ft
0-62 mph~5 seconds4.8 seconds3.2 seconds
Top Speed169 mph168 mph195 mph

The Basics

Visually, the new Panamera has been synced with the rest of the current Porsche lineup. The silhouette hasn’t really changed, but the snout’s been made a little sharper and the rear lighting more intense.

I think it’s the best-looking Panamera yet, with one major asterisk: There is no Sport Turismo wagon version yet. Some of Porsche’s people that I talked to were vague about its future, but reading the faces and tone of the people who design these cars, I’d say it’s extremely unlikely/borderline impossible that we’ll see another Panamera wagon. Not enough rich people appreciated its gorgeous design, which is a shame. Still, this is a good-looking car and I really like the dark grey Turbonite decorative trim that’s available on the top-tier models.

Turbonite, as Porsche teased earlier this month, is a new black/greyish color you can get on badges, trim pieces, and wheels on Turbo model Panameras. It’s another way for people to pay for visual distinction, which Porsche people love to do. That said, I’m into it.

I’m less into the total plunge into digitization that Porsche’s done with the cockpit of this thing, though. The general shape and layout of the interior are amazing—the lines are lovely, visibility is good, and every surface feels premium. But like so many modern cars, I feel like I’m looking at the back wall of a Best Buy when I’m behind the wheel of this thing.

The main central infotainment screen is very neatly integrated into the dash, which I appreciate a lot. But the gauge cluster’s a screen, the passenger’s dashboard’s a screen, and the buttons on the center console are flush on a shiny black surface made to feel like, you guessed it, a screen.

I know I’m in the minority here and most people plunking down Panamera money probably do want to be bombarded with connectivity, but man, no animated information cluster is ever going to be as elegant as three-dimensional dials and needles.

The base 2024 Porsche Panamera ($101,550 with fees) runs a 2.9-liter V6 turbo claiming 348 horsepower and 368 lb-ft of torque—up 23 hp and 37 lb-ft from its predecessor. The Panamera 4 adds all-wheel drive to the equation and lists for around $110,000. The base car should be good for 0 to 60 mph in five seconds flat and a top speed of 169 mph. Panamera 4 is close: 60 mph in 4.7 seconds, top speed 168.

Porsche PDK, third-gen Panamera E-Hybrid
That big chunk on the left of the eight-speed PDK transmission is the electric motor for hybrid versions. This level of integration is new for this gen Panamera. Andrew P. Collins

We can expect four separate E-Hybrid variants (Turbo trim and otherwise, all-wheel drive and otherwise). Pricing there is TBA, but the Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid is going to be belting out 670 hp and 685 lb-ft between its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and 140-kW electric motor. That motor is integrated into the housing of the dual-clutch PDK transmission itself, making it much lighter than previous systems. That car’s supposed to be able to rip from 0 to 60 in three seconds and hit 195 mph if you’re brave enough for it.

Driving Experience: Bizarrely Balanced Against Tilts and Turns

All 2024 Panameras have two-valve, two-chamber air suspension and Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM) as standard. The idea with that is to separate control of compression and rebound, which should give you a broader range of performance between comfort and responsiveness. You can bias the car further one way or another for your mood with settings, but basically, the car should be more comfortable and sporty than its predecessor.

The optional suspension feature, Porsche Active Ride (similar name, different thing), is a little more novel. Using active shock absorbers connected to an electronically controlled hydraulic pump, a Panamera with Active Ride is able to adjust pressure extremely precisely—and so fast it lets the body of the car remain truly flat even through twists, turns, and tumultuous road surfaces.

Let’s take a beat to be clear on the differences between PASM and Porsche Active Ride. Many Porsche vehicles have PASM—practically speaking, this is the system that lets you have soft suspension in a comfort mode and stiffer, more responsive-feeling configuration in sport modes. Porsche Active Ride, on the other hand, is debuting as an option on this new-gen Panamera. Its mission is solely to flatten the body of the car throughout your drive, pushing against forces that disrupt that. It’s optimizing the cockpit for comfort, isolating the people inside from the physics of driving as much as possible.

In a sense, it’s almost like the car’s surfing the street—countering the forces it’s against to stay upright. It even has a mode that does an exaggerated counter-lean in turns, making the car lean in almost like a motorcycle (or, again, a surfboard). The system can also offset front-to-back forces like what you feel in acceleration or braking.


My first thought when Porsche’s people explained this to me at a factory tour in Leipzig: “Isn’t feeling forces the whole point of a sports car?” But while Active Suspension Management is about performance, Active Ride is a comfort feature.

Porsche is clearly looking to up the luxury element of the Panamera experience. I was able to take a short drive in a prototype Panamera fitted with this road-reading body-flattening suspension, and it’s so effective it was actually a little unsettling at first.

Open the door and the Porsche Active Ride-equipped Panamera boosts itself to its tallest ride height to meet you. It drops back down once you’re in, and then allows you to leave a parking spot with starship-like serenity. The bizarre part comes when you push the gas pedal into the carpet. The scenery gets sucked away into your mirrors … while your butt and body stay perfectly still.

Porsche can’t claim to have invented this concept of extreme vehicular body isolation. For example, Mercedes-Benz has showcased something similar on the S-Class (called Active Body Control). But I have to admit I was impressed with the execution and flexibility of Porsche’s rendition, even though I was only in a pre-production vehicle. You just need to understand what it’s for to appreciate it.

For relaxation and fighting fatigue on long trips, Porsche Active Ride would be a great tool. It’s admittedly a little odd and unsettling if you try to trick yourself and drive hard just to see what the system can keep up with. But when used as intended—during chill driving where you maybe don’t want to wake a passenger—it’s phenomenal.

The motion of starts, stops, and steering at slow and spirited speeds are basically entirely ironed out. When you want your Panamera to feel like it’s pouncing, you can simply turn the system off and get back the feeling of athleticism you go to Porsche for in the first place.

That’s all I can really tell you about the drive after a short stint, but I’m eager to see what other test pilots say about it when these cars hit the streets.

Immaculate Assembly

While watching the outgoing Panamera be assembled, I’m very sorry to say I was not allowed to take pictures because the facility Porsche maintains in Leipzig is a truly magnificent operation to behold. The level of organization and cleanliness is far beyond what I’ve seen in many other industrial spaces and the dance of parts coming off cargo trucks sometimes minutes before they’re installed onto cars was deeply confidence-inspiring.

A shot of Porsche’s Leipzig facility, which also builds the Macan. Leipzig’s a great town and if you’re planning a trip, you can take a Porsche factory tour too! Porsche

Once assembled, every Panamera takes a little lap around the track to make sure it’s all dialed in before being shipped off to wherever it’ll be sold, while some are randomly pulled for extreme scrutiny to ensure perfection.

If you’re gearing up to order one of these, I strongly suggest taking delivery in Germany before bringing it home. Or at least, try to get Porsche to throw in one of its cute factory-worker onesies with your car.

The Very Early Verdict

Me and my fellow test pilots publishing drive impressions today only did a short stint on neighborhood roads in prototypes—so don’t hang too much on any new-’namera driving impressions this week.


However, what I did experience of the Panamera’s design, development, and execution at the Leipzig facility where it’s made were extremely impressive. Porsche has made a great-looking luxury car that’s simultaneously a liftback sedan and a grand touring sports car. As for the Active Ride function, it certainly looked complicated and seemed to perform as advertised. I don’t really think I’d spring for it personally, but I can see the appeal if you often need to placate fussy passengers.

Even with just a few minutes driving it and hours climbing around it, I felt really engaged by the design. There’s a lot of impressive technology that makes this car look shiny, and I’m optimistic that there’s a memorable driving experience under the skin, too.


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