Just a few minutes ago, we told you about all the new features of the new Porsche Panamera 2024, the third generation of the sports car brand's large coupe. And now it's time to tell you our first impressions behind the wheel of Porsche's latest launch. How is that possible?

Well, with a test drive of the Porsche Panamera 2024, that's a little bit special. Because after getting to know the final version of the car before its official unveiling a few weeks ago at the Porsche Experience Centre in Leipzig, we had the opportunity to test drive a development version of the Panamera... still in camouflage!

And we're not going to kid you: used to seeing hundreds of spy photos on the web every week, it's a bit strange to get behind the wheel of a camouflaged car... and become the target of photographers. But it's all just curiosity when you have the keys to a Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid 2024 in your pocket.

Porsche Panamera Turbo 2024: 671 bhp hybrid performance

Although to tell the truth, there are two versions of the same car that I will be able to drive: one with the 'good' suspension, the latest generation air and adaptive suspension, already seen in the Cayenne, and another with the 'excellent' suspension, the new and revolutionary Active Drive. But we'll talk about that a little later...

Gallery: First test drive Porsche Panamera 2024 (prototype)

That said, if you've come this far looking for design news or interior details, we invite you to check out our first look at the Porsche Panamera, which includes a video of the car. Because here, you won't find any of that...

The car I'm testing has a thick layer of camouflage in the form of black vinyl that doesn't let you see anything. In fact, even the headlights have stickers on them to hide their final shapes and fool the human eye. And on the inside... everything is covered with fabrics and plastic coatings, all half-finished. I even see the famous red panic button in case I have to turn the car off in an emergency.

Primera prueba Porsche Panamera 2024 (prototipo)

First test drive Porsche Panamera 2024 (prototype)

The route starts in convoy, with the battery fully charged and an electric range on the dashboard close to 50 miles / 80 kilometres (the model homologates a maximum of 57 miles / 91 km).

And as I leave the Leipzig factory grounds, where the Panamera has been built since 2009, I take a quick mental review of what this Turbo E-Hybrid 2024 has to offer: upgraded version of the V8 engine, new 188 bhp electric motor, newly developed eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic transmission, a battery with 25.9 kWh of capacity...

All this, to deliver a maximum power output of 671 bhp and 930 Nm of torque, which in terms of performance, translates into a top speed of 195 mph (315 km/h) and 3.2 seconds in the 0-60 acceleration. That, for now, as the future Turbo S E-Hybrid will offer even better records.

Porsche Panamera 2024, this is how it's driving

After a few kilometres on the road, I begin to realise that the Panamera is still the same car it has always been: a model with the soul of a grand tourer, comfortable and pleasant to drive, but with the performance and behaviour of the best sports car, if you ask it to.

In short, a 'boxer in ballet shoes' that adapts to whatever you ask of it at any given moment, thanks to the different driving modes available, Normal, Sport and Sport Plus, as well as those that manage electrified driving.

And that's the magic of PHEVs: you can drive out of your garage and through the neighbourhood quietly, without making a sound or emitting a gram of CO2, but when you get to your favourite winding road, nothing stops you from squeezing every last horsepower out of a V8 that floods the cabin with its sound. I like it!

Primera prueba Porsche Panamera 2024 (prototipo)

First test drive Porsche Panamera 2024 (prototype)

These good sensations are what I experience, little by little, as the pace on the road increases. The car accelerates vehemently, the brakes respond as well as ever, the steering is quick and precise and, above all, the suspension keeps everything under control.

And that's where the doubts start to creep in. If the car is so good with the standard suspension.... how will it do with what has been sold to us as a revolutionary invention? To be honest, it won't take long to find out.

After all, after finishing the first loop, I get behind the wheel of a second example, now equipped with the eye-catching Active Ride system. In other words, to put it simply, an air suspension that uses active dampers with double valves, each connected to an electrically operated hydraulic pump. And what is all this for? I'll tell you right now...

Active Ride, the revolutionary suspension of the Porsche Panamera

Well, in addition to spending an enormous amount of time and money on its development phase, it also serves, according to Porsche's engineers, to "offer an unprecedented balance between comfort and driving dynamics".

So, with a myriad of components, electronic control units and a whole host of other things working at the same time, in a process too technical to think about while driving (and which is best explained in the first contact with the car), my feeling is that the body stays flat at all times, even though the sensation is highly artificial.

Why is that? Basically, because our brain is not used to the fact that you accelerate, brake or turn hard, and the car is still completely flat. Something really strange, which has to be experienced to be explained.

In fact, it may be a silly example, but what comes to mind with this suspension is a helicopter, the nose of which tilts down when you pick up speed and lifts up when you brake. That's more or less how the car feels, when you accelerate hard and the nose dips, or when you brake hard and the nose lifts up. Something totally contrary to the laws of physics. But that's precisely what the Active Ride fights against.

Primera prueba Porsche Panamera 2024 (prototipo)

Porsche Panamera 2024, the prices

Still trying to digest all this, I park the Panamera and get out of it thinking about how many drivers will appreciate this option, designed for the plug-in hybrid versions (present and future) of the model, and how many, like me, will be satisfied with the standard option. Because in a model with the ride quality and dynamism that this new Panamera offers, the Active Ride system could run the risk of becoming a 'firework'.

But I am sure that more than a few future customers will ask about this option when configuring their new sports car. According to the prices in Germany, it takes €107,800 to enjoy a Panamera, €111,900 to do the same with a Panamera 4 and a minimum of €192,500 to get behind the wheel of the Turbo E-Hybrid.

Gallery: Porsche Panamera 2024