[Zur deutschen Version] Is it possible to take the most powerful diesel sedan on the market, the Panamera 4S Diesel with 422 HP und 850 NM, and give it a performance boost? RaceChip thinks so. With the RaceChip Ultimate Connect, the four-liter V8 biturbo engine enjoys a power output of 505 HP and a legendary 1050 NM. No major hardware interventions in the engine are necessary: you simply place the RaceChip unit in between the engine sensors.
RaceChip is installed between engine sensors
We were already impressed by the RaceChip Ultimate last year when we tested it in an Audi RS3, RaceChip’s 2016 show car. RaceChip successfully squeezed a noticeable performance boost out of the already powerful five-cylinder RS3 – 410 HP instead of the factory 367 HP. The Panamera V8 diesel, although from the same group affiliation, has completely different conditions; the installation of the tuning module proved to be much more complicated than with the RS3. The module is still attached between the engine sensors, where it functions as an auxiliary control unit that basically feeds modified values into the sensors (the common rail sensor, the boost pressure sensor and the camshaft sensor). It’s a bit tricky to find your way around the engine of the Panamera II, however, which is why as a layperson it’s better to visit a workshop. The tasteful folio of the show car is made by Schwabenfolia. The Italian OZ rims help keep the total weight down. The show car also features height-adjustable suspension by KW (the lowering module DLC).
Tuning can be turned on and off via app
The factory-standard Panamera 4S Diesel is already impressive: the biturbo V8 diesel engine, with its nearly perfect all-wheel drive, takes you to 100 km/h in 4.3 seconds. The factory-standard torque keeps the driver glued in his or her seat with more than 850 NM. The power is transmitted via Porsche’s 8-speed double clutch (PDK). Of course the question remains: do you actually feel that extra power? If yes, to what extent? The RaceChip Ultimate Connect, the latest chiptuning module from the tuning wizards at RaceChip, can be controlled via smartphone app. This means that you can use your smartphone to activate and deactivate the tuning by Bluetooth. It’s therefore quite easy to compare any particular driving maneuver with and without the extra performance. In the city traffic – yes, this 2,050-ton diesel sedan is also meant for city driving – you hardly notice the difference. Perhaps only in “Race” mode, one of three driving modes of the RaceChip app (which are independent of the Porsche driving modes).
Performance boost impresses with launch control starts
To notice the difference you need to do some sporty driving on pretty country roads. You can really feel the difference in horsepower when performing a 0 to 100 km/h standing start. The Panamera with RaceChip improves on the standard 4.3 seconds, clocking only 3.6 seconds. This is equivalent to the acceleration of a Panamera Turbo with the Sport Chrono Package. Want proof? Our colleagues in the Netherlands have confirmed a deadly 3.6 seconds for the 0 to 100 km/h standing start, and for the sprint from 0 to 250 km/h, they have recorded 27.4 seconds compared to the factory 31.6 seconds. We found it tricky however to accurately time ourselves while inside the car – for one thing because of the massive G-forces when you accelerate that quickly. But we certainly felt the difference: after some launch control starts with and without tuning, the performance boost was obvious. You already feel it at that first jolt, that very special moment when the Panamera launch control gives everything it can to propel you out of the standing start with no loss of traction. This is always an experience for drivers and passengers alike. We also blind-tested passengers and they were able to say quickly: “yes, the tuning was on just now”. The PDK handles the almost 200 NM nicely. When performing standing starts with the tuning switched on, the torque surplus is a bit more noticeable as the car shifts from first to second gear. Otherwise, the automatic seems to have good control over the power of the eight-cylinder.
Combine driving modes for efficiency or maximum performance
The RaceChip via app control offers you a variety of driving modes: the three RaceChip modes (Efficiency, Sport, Race) can be combined with those of the vehicle. The Panamera’s standard modes are normal, sport and sport+. The RaceChip tuning is always active in parallel to the Porsche driving modes and does affect latter directly in any way – the effect is rather on the overall performance of the vehicle. Thanks to Panamera’s air suspension, its ground clearance also varies according to the desired driving program. The difference is noticeable with the Panamera: it can comfortably glide over cobblestone streets but on a country road in the same driving mode, the driver will feel some bumps. With its rear axle steering, the Panamera (which feels like a van in terms of its length) is relatively agile moving around corners. The 505 HP balances out a lot of its weight and makes the Panamera seem as if it were significantly lighter – when in fact it really is much larger than a two-seat Porsche sports car.
Accelerator pedal tuning promises better response
RaceChip has also done some virtual tinkering with the gas pedal. Response Control, which is attached between the accelerator pedal and the accelerator sensor, affects how the throttle responds to the driver’s commands. For example, while drivers of the factory model can reduce the Panamera’s throttle response in several stages for increased efficiency, RaceChip uses the pedal box of the Panamera to “amplify” the signals. The aim is to shorten the (already short) reaction time of the engine when the driver steps on the pedal. The RaceChip Ultimate is still responsible the actual performance boost itself, however.
The Panamera 4S diesel easily achieves 8 liters / 100 km
RaceChip claims that, in addition to a performance increase, fuel consumption is also optimized. Depending on the model, the engine should easily gulp down as much as one liter less fuel. The way it basically works is this: thanks to (depending on the engine) noticeably enhanced torque, I can drive in fourth gear at lower revs, where otherwise I would have had to drive in third gear at higher revs. The V8 of the Panamera is – it has to be said – surprisingly frugal. Porsche states it has a (combined) fuel consumption of 9.4 liters/100 km. We consumed – with a pretty efficient driving style – often less than 8 liters/100 km. On our regular route, the A70 Bayreuth – Bamberg, we consumed between 0.4 and 0.8 liters less fuel with the RaceChip activated. Considering the size of the Panamera engine, this is really quite impressive. After some juicy fuel consumption at speeds above 200 km/h, it’s a nice feeling to drop down to 130 km/h and make up for it with the enhanced fuel efficiency. That’s also what the Porsche Diesel is there for after all.
Even with a 4-liter V8, you can still get a noticeable power boost – we wouldn’t have necessarily guessed that. RaceChip can be a particularly worthwhile investment for ordinary engines – you don’t have to have a V8. The RaceChip configurator tells you how much you can get out of your own vehicle using a chiptuning module. The RaceChip Ultimate is available from 499 euros.
RaceChip Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
Leistung 310 kW (422 PS) >> 371 kW (505 PS)
Drehmoment 850 Nm >> 1.050 Nm
Leistungsgewicht 4,86 kg/PS >> 4,06 kg/PS
Getriebe: 8-Gang PDK
0-100 km/h: 4,3 >> 3,6 Sekunden
Höchstgeschwindigkeit 285 km/h
Leergewicht 2.025 kg
Basispreis 141.950 €
Preis Showcar (inkl. Tuning, Folierung, OZ Felgen, Reifen) 150.983 €