Cape Town - Porsche has extended its Panamera model range globally with Generation II - 10 models of which eight will be available immediately in South Africa – and Porsche SA showed off three of them this week in the Western Cape.Where else, with the still winter-green province’s well-maintained roads, soaring mountain passes and high-speed but less-travelled back roads on which – unlike most of the country – potholes are almost unknown and, when they do appear, are quickly filled?Porsche Panamera II galleryIt’s Porsche SA’s regular stomping ground, starting from the awesome Porsche Cape HQ in Cape Town’s Century City with the brand’s SA icon, Toby Venter, making a personal driving appearance away from his home branch in Gauteng – that one, a trophy dealership for South Africa, apparently the biggest in the world.Image gallery: Maria Sharapova with a PorscheThe countryside is a wide-open area of, this time of year, wheat and canola – the green and the yellow - where the Panameras could be given free rein, their drivers able to revel in the machines’ incredible road-holding, acceleration and braking. The route took in Franschhoek Pass, Theewaterskloof dam, a section of the N2 and then the country to the south of it that includes Caledon and, later, a lunch stop at Die Kelders on the Overberg coast of whale-rich Walker Bay.It was a 480km round trip using Panamera Diesel, 4S and Turbo models; no pain there I promise, though the turbodiesel model simply wasn't as much fun as the petrol models; it's urge feels unstoppable but is nowhere as explosive as the other two versions Porsche SA brought to the party.Porsche saw a hole opening in the big, fast but comfortable market for top-end German automobiles and in 2009 launched the Panamera (“to mixed reviews”, as they say) and named for the Carrera Panamericana race. Theory was that it was derived from Porsche’s 989 concept car of the late 1980’s.HUGE REVERSALMercedes, BMW and Audi did family/corporate sedans but, Porsche believed, there was space for a high-performance sports car that could seat four in limo-like comfort and the Panamera was born. Porsche fans could at last take the kids or friends along with them for a little Sunday lunacy and lunch.The Panamera was a huge reversal from the light and nimble sports cars for which the brand had become famous and perhaps its success encouraged Porsche to progress to bigger things, such as the rather grotesque Cayenne, sister to a similar VW product.Mind you, the Panamera is no lightweight – something hard to believe, given its acceleration data with a best of less than four seconds to the metric 100 from a car weighing 1800kg. Driving them in the Cape, they felt nothing like that heavy – and one of the engines was familiar... yes, i was assured, it’s also used in the new Audi RS7, a V6 twin-turbo that I drove recently in and around Stuttgart in Germany.It’s a truly awesome engine and its compactness makes it ideal for a car such as the Panamera.EXTENSIVE CHANGESThe cars’ mixed parentage is more apparent when you realise their engines are assembled in Stuttgart, the shell is welded together at a VW plant in Hannover and final assembly is in Leipzig – apparently in the same plant as it grosser boet, the Cayenne.Prices in South Africa? They’ll range from a modest (for some!) R908 000 to a whopping R1 946 000 with a range of engines fuelled not only by good ol’ petrol but also diesel and hybrid propulsion – the hybrids yet to arrive.With the second generation of the Panamera come, I was told, extensive visual and technical changes, among them new headlights, strikingly larger air intakes, flatter body lines and fewer curves. There’s also an arguably minor/major change to the tail hatch and its associated lighting systems.There are new side panels and new wheel rims and a chassis that’s been “fundamentally revised”.New technologies mean fuel savings of up to 56% and – with the exception of the diesel – more power. The standard version has a top speed of 250km/h, 230kW and a fuel consumption of 8.4 litres/100km.The new models include a re-developed double-clutch gearbox - the changes are truly imperceptible - larger chassis mounts, redeveloped tyres, lighter 18” alloy rims and a specifically tuned Porsche stability management system add to the car’s sportiness and comfort.And your apparent driving ability!There's a completely new V6 three-litre biturbo engine to replace the 4.8 V8 in the Panamera S and Panamera 4S (it's the one from the Audi RS7) whereas the GTS will retain its V8. The new engine gives the S and 4S models 15kW more power and 20Nm more torque, but with 18% lower fuel consumption. Turbocharging results in a maximum torque of 520Nm over a very broad range of engine speeds.The new Panamera is available at Porsche centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Umhlanga.As said, there are 10 global models that, Porsche says, offer an even broader range between sportiness and comfort, eight of them for SA.THE MODELSSee more about individual models and their prices - one by one.Panamera: 3.6-litre, 228kW V6 with seven-speed double-clutch gearbox, 0-100 in 6.3sec, top speed 259km/h; fuel consumption 8.4 litres/100km; CO2 196g/km. R958 000Panamera 4: Same car, same engine, but with all-wheel drive, 6.1 to 100 and slightly higher fuel consumption at 8.7/100. CO2 203g/km. R1 004 000Panamera Diesel: Three-litre, 184kW, V6 turbodiesel with eight-speed Tiptronic S; acceleration to 100 in 6.8sec; top speed 244km/h; fuel consumption 6.3/100; CO2 166g/km. R950 000Panamera S: Three-litre 309kW V6 biturbo, double-clutch auto gearbox 0-100 in 5.1, top speed 287km/h; fuel consumption 8.7/100 km; CO2 204g/km. R1 224 000Panamera S E-Hybrid: Parallel full hybrid with plug-in technology, three-litre V6 supercharged engine and synchronous electric motor with 306kW on tap when all systems go; eight-speed Tiptronic S; 0-100 5.sec; top speed 270km/h; fuel consumption 3.1/100 km; CO2 71 g/km. R1 279 000Panamera 4S: Three-litre 309kW V6 biturbo PDK gearbox, 0-100 km/h 4.8sec; top speed 286km/h; fuel consumption 8.9/100 km; CO2 208g/km. R1 271 000Panamera GTS: 4.8-litre 324kW; PDK; 0-100 4.4sec; top speed 288km/h; fuel consumption 10.7/100; CO2 249g/km. R1 419 000Panamera Turbo: 4.8 382kW biturbo V8; PDK; 0-100km/h 4.1sec; top speed 305km/h; fuel consumption 10.2/100 km; CO2 239g/km. R1 996 000Early in 2014 expect a more powerful diesel engine to replace the current unit. Also due in 2014 is a new Porsche Panamera Turbo S and Panamera Turbo S Executive."The exclusive and sporty pinnacle of the model range," Porsche says. Porsche's pinnacle, it seems, is like Mount Everest - slowly but steadily growing.See more about individual models and their prices - one by one.