Oakley spent a lot of time on road and track working to optimize the car's handling for the 580-hp engine upgrade. The factory suspension bounce and rebound settings are so well executed that extensive testing found no better solution. In the end, the only modification made to the suspension is the installation of a piggyback ECU module to lower the ride height by 25mm in all its settings. In combination with the lighter wheels and their different offsets, the only work done here was re-calibrating the suspension geometry to make all four rubber patches work optimally across their broad treads.
"The factory settings have too much toe-out for my liking, so we brought this back closer to parallel," Oakley explains. "Then we increased the negative camber at each corner to around 1.5 degrees. These modest changes sharpen up the handling and improve turn-in noticeably without introducing any nervousness."
Initially, the aftermarket Porsche tuners rubbed their hands with glee when they learned that the Panamera would use the same basic engines as the Cayenne. This meant most of their existing engine upgrades could be carried over to the new car.
However, the first thing they realized when they finally got their hands on a car was that the newly upgraded Direct Fuel Injection V8s were now run by a Siemens rather than Bosch ECU. DFI was not the issue as it is controlled by the ECU, but the Siemens controller had more layers of protection that took time to hack through.
"Luckily, we have one of the best electronics engineers in the business working for us, so this was only a temporary hold-up," Oakley says. "Thanks to our larger air intakes and a free flowing exhaust, we managed to find over 70 hp and 140 lb-ft of torque with just a modest increase in boost pressure."
In his fanatical weight reduction quest, Oakley decided titanium was the only way to go. The new cat-back system is less than half the weight of the OEM system, taking 90 pounds out of the car in one fell swoop. The exhaust also contributes to a gain of around 8 hp through lower backpressure.
The different resonance characteristics of this exotic metal deliver a deeper, more mellifluous tone under acceleration. On a light-throttle cruise, the exhaust note disappears into the background, which is how you want things in a long distance express.
The modifications take output up from 500 to 580 hp, and torque from 516 lb-ft to a dramatically enhanced 656. Taking the PCCB brakes into account as well, the Oakley Panamera Turbo tips the scales a good 210 pounds less than a stock Turbo with the same factory options.
The stopwatch now reads 3.8 seconds for the zero to 60 mph sprint. Compare that to the factory Turbo's time of 4.2 seconds, with the Sport Chrono pack and launch control. We're talking two full car lengths by 60 mph here.
The engine upgrade is seamless, and in normal driving you don't notice the difference. But when you drop the hammer, the Oakley car quickly establishes its greater mid-range and top-end punch. The standard Turbo is not lacking in this respect, but the extra power and torque is really icing on the cake, and its performance is truly ballistic when the two turbos are on full song.
The counterpoint is that thanks to the efficiency of DFI, the good aerodynamics and relatively low weight, over a long motorway trip, this near 600-hp autobahn stormer can return a claimed 23 mpg.