From a distance, and in bright sunlight, the paintwork looks like metallic black, but get closer and its distinct purplish hue becomes obvious. An accurate description would be deep brown black metallic, a classy warm shade that contrasts perfectly with the cream and gold interior.

The cream leather is embellished with gold-colored ostrich leather highlights on the dashboard, center console, steering wheel, seat edges, and door armrests and tops rolls. The wood inlays on the steering wheel, dashboard, and doors are lacquered piano black.

A most bizarre change, however, are pointy extensions to the shoulder height seat supports, where the new upholstery is supported by metal extensions to the base seat frames. While FAB Design has done enlarged shoulder supports on Mercedes seats before, these are more radical.

A finishing touch that we could not see in the daytime is the LED lights that light up the area beside the seats. These have a dimming switch so you can turn them up or down at night for the desired effect.

Where Sportec had been able to lower its Sport Chrono Package-equipped car a further 30mm via the suspension ECU controller, the FAB Design car has to remain at stock ride height so that the massive wheels and tires do not touch the arches.

With almost all the tuners still battling with the protection codes of the new Siemens ECU that controls the Panamera's motor and gearbox functions, major remaps that take in larger turbos and other major hardware changes are not yet on the table.

Thus, both the FAB Design and TechArt cars came with just 50 hp extra courtesy of lower backpressure sport exhausts and very basic ECU remaps. Both cars also lacked the Sport Chrono Package that allows overboost on the engine and the Sport Plus suspension setting.

SCP makes a huge difference to the perceived and actual performance of the car. While Porsche's overboost mapping does not increase peak horsepower, it increases peak torque by 10 percent for 10 seconds, and improves throttle response and acceleration when you need it most, like when overtaking. From a subjective point of view, it also has the effect of making the car feel more focused and aggressive.

As the Moroccan owner of the FAB Design Panamera will use the car for cruising the streets of Casablanca, the absence of SCP is not an issue. But for the other two, whose customers are more performance-centric, it certainly would be.

FAB Design Panamera


Layout
Longitudinal front engine, all-wheel dive

Engine
4.2-liter V8, dohc, 32-valve, turbocharged. Sport exhaust, ECU remap

Wheels and Tires
FAB Design alloys, 10x22 (f), 12x22 (r), Pirelli P Zero, 265/30 (f), 325/25 (r)

Exterior
Carbon front fenders, carbon rear fender flares, carbon diffuser, carbon-composite side skirts, rear wing

Interior
Cream-and-gold leather upholstery, piano black wood inserts, LED mood lighting

Performance
Peak Power: 550 hp @ 6000 rpm
Peak Torque: 516 lb-ft @ 2250 rpm
0-62 mph: 4.1 sec.
Top Speed: 182 mph

TechArt

We were surprised that the TechArt car lacked the Sport Chrono Package, which the Sportec car made the most of. It transpired that the previous TechArt demo car, which had more goodies, including SCP, was sold a couple of weeks before and this new car was quickly fitted with wheels and body kit to meet our deadline.

TechArt's Aero Kit One kit is subtle and classy. The three-piece PU-RIM front spoiler lip visually matches the more heavily sculpted side skirts. The new rear valance, with its rear diffuser, flanks TechArt's trademark "linked" exhaust tips.

A rooftop spoiler cleans up the airflow leading to the new fixed rear wing, while small body-colored masks give the rear lights a more dynamic shape. Along with the multi-function daytime running lights in front, these are a nice finishing touch.

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