Let’s consider the facts, shall we? It’s a Porsche. Let’s not beat around the bush. Audi, BMW and Mercedes make phenomenal cars and trucks. Cadillac, Genesis, Infiniti and Lexus can try as hard as they might but for the moment at least, the Germans are untouchable. Then there’s Porsche.
All brands are heavily focused and determined to conquer the world with the best product they can build. I visited Porsche’s installations in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen this past summer in relation to the 70th anniversary of the sports car. We were given a tour of the new facilities being erected in preparation for Taycan production.
The scene is out of a cataclysmic end-of-world movie where earth is being moved, concrete being poured and quarter-million-dollar cars are being built, wrapped and delivered. All the while, all assembly lines are maxed out, they’re preparing the next generation 992 911 and developing whatever else they plan on launching to Mars before the end of the decade.
The result of this relentless drive to create some of the world’s best cars is immediately noticeable when one comes in contact with the Panamera, and more specifically, the Turbo Sport Turismo.
$175,000+ is a huge sum of money. More precisely, $200,000 (Rear Axle Steering, 21-inch Exclusive Design Wheels, Premium Package Plus, Assistance Package, and a few others) gets you a car whose only limits are the Earth’s gravitational pull and the size of its fuel tank.
The Panamera, evolved
The new Panamera is a far more attractive car than the one it replaces. The Sport Turismo is a blatant attempt to make me weep and seriously consider and re-consider that bank job plan I put together after I first drove a 911 GT3 nearly 10 years ago. Porsche knows that the Sport Turismo station wagon (it’s my story) is a more polarizing design choice than current Honda Civic Type R, but they created it anyhow.
I, for one, know that no matter how you feel about the car’s style, you will stop and look at the car if only partially because you know it’s special.
The cabin will find no naysayers. Best suited for four passengers, the Panamera’s indoors are luxurious and comfortable. They are not however warm and affectionate. The excellent seats, all four outboard corners, are supportive and cajoling. The dashboard’s layout is evolved, functional and attractive.
The large 12-inch screen and the new Porsche Communication Management (PCM) are the portals to the majority of the car’s multiple functions. The ascending centre console, once covered in a plethora of controls, is now a large piece of touch-sensitive black glass. Settling in behind the superb steering wheel, the driver is about to discover why Porsche is Porsche, and why they do what they do.
The Turbo may no longer be the top-dog power-wise in the Panamera’s lineup, second only to the 680-horsepower E-Hybrid but the reality is that 550-horsepower and 568 lb.-ft. of torque from a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 will get you into serious trouble almost immediately.
There are cars soon to be available that will be quicker, such as the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S and assumingly, the BMW M8 Grand Coupé, but, and I’ve argued this before, this much power can never fully be put to good use.
Even though the Panamera Turbo includes AWD, there will be few opportunities to hit 100 km/ in 3.8 seconds (my tester did not have the Sport Chrono package which drops the time to 3.6 seconds) but I promise you, you will succumb to temptation very often.
The moment the throttle pedal moves towards the firewall, gravity is challenged. The complete absence of lag and immediate throttle response (Sport mode not engaged) thrusts passengers back into their hugging seats. The 8-speed PDK pounds seamlessly through gears and before you complete a blink, you’re in that serious trouble I was talking about.
The torque swell from a standstill is monstrous, but from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm, it is tsunami-like. Even so, Porsche’s Stability and Traction Management systems are never overwhelmed despite the near-freezing temperatures during the test drive, and the winter tires.
The Turbo includes Porsche’s electronic adjustable dampers that not only maintain an impressive amount of control over the car’s hefty 2,000+ kg weight but transmit enough feedback to the driver to make him or her well aware of what’s going on.
Perhaps the most important component any Porsche can be equipped with is the optional rear-axle steering. It immediately shrinks the car’s overall size and delivers an uncanny amount of agility to a car that should not behave like a typical 911. A final few words on the brakes: they’re awesome, and faultless.
I think it’s pretty swell myself
To summarize, the Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo just might be the most perfect car in the world – it’s all there in the name. It’s built to incredible standards of luxury and technology, it’s exceedingly fast, and it’s an AWD station wagon. Do I really need to spell out any clearer than that?