It’s hard to believe, but the Porsche Panamera is already due for a mid-cycle refresh. The current Porsche sedan debuted for the 2017 model year, finally ridding itself of the hunchback rear end that ruined the last-generation Panamera’s otherwise sleek profile. To prove that it hasn’t been resting on its laurels and basking in the car’s triumphant redesign, Porsche took the upcoming refreshed Panamera to Germany’s Nürburgring Nordschleife to break some records.
The refreshed Porsche Panamera, which is set to be revealed soon—likely—as a 2021 model, set a lap of 7 minutes, 29.81 seconds at the ‘Ring—quick enough to dethrone the current executive car class record holder, the Mercedes-AMG GT 4-Door. You might recall that Mercedes touted a faster time for the AMG GT, and you’d be right, but Nürburgring lap times are confusing. Let’s break down the different ways lap times have been measured so we can compare the two super sedans apples to apples.
Since 2019, the Nürburgring has required that all manufacturers complete the entirety of the nearly 13-mile track for a lap time to be recognized. Prior to that, the old track entrance was considered the end of the lap, leaving roughly 650 feet between the historical endpoint and the actual start/finish line. The new Panamera’s lap time conforms to the new standard, while the AMG GT 4-Door’s was set using the old configuration. Knowing this timing discrepancy would confuse many people, Porsche also recorded the Panamera’s lap the old way. The refreshed Porsche Panamera’s lap time comes in at 7:25.04 using the prior standard, a few tenths of a second faster than the AMG GT 63 S 4-Door’s 7:25:41 time.
Perhaps more importantly, the new model is roughly 13 seconds faster than the current Panamera Turbo, which lapped the ‘Ring in 7:38.46 using the old standard in 2016. Porsche wouldn’t say which Panamera variant set the record, but given today’s Panamera Turbo makes 550 hp, it’s likely the updated one makes at least 600 hp. To put the refreshed Panamera’s time further into perspective, it just about matches that of a 991.1-generation 2014 Porsche 911 GT3.
The refreshed Panamera recorded the lap on July 24, 2020, with test driver Lars Kern behind the wheel. The lightly camouflaged car was equipped with a racing seat and a roll cage but was otherwise stock. That includes its new set of Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 summer tires specially developed for the Panamera.