From £63,9138
Still the most satisfying Panamera to drive, but not necessarily the one you should buy

Our Verdict

Porsche Panamera

Four-seat grand tourer bids to redefine performance in the luxury class

31 October 2018

What is it?

Ever since Porsche rejuvenated the ‘Gran Turismo Sport’ moniker for the modern era, hardcore GT-division wares aside, it’s been the derivative to have. No wonder you can buy the 911, Boxster, Cayman, Macan, Cayenne and this, the mighty Panamera, all in GTS form.

It was back in 2011 the recipe first made for a particularly desirable version of Porsche’s four-door saloon. Dropping the ride height, stoking the engine closer to range-topping Turbo heights - but retaining glorious natural aspiration - and sprinkling punchy black trim over the sloping hatchback body gave the finest-handling luxury saloon money could buy an added sweetness. Alcantara interior trim and a very reasonable showroom premium didn’t hurt, either. 

But now the second-generation Panamera has come in for a GTS makeover, and while the story is familiar, bluntly speaking it does not whet the appetite in the same way. 

For one thing the 4.0-litre 90-degree V8 is now turbocharged like every other engine in the Panamera range. Figures of 454bhp and 457lb ft, delivered almost uninterrupted over a mammoth sweep from 1800 to 6100rpm, point to fairly rampant everyday performance, but this is now a ‘mere’ Turbo motor with the boost dialled down.

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Granted, it’ll do a WLTP-certified 27.4mpg combined compared to the old model’s 26.4mpg, which was a figure recorded on the absurdly optimistic NEDC test. Given the new model is not only larger and heavier but also 20bhp more powerful and 0.3sec quicker to 62mph, at 4.1sec, that’s some improvement.

But the GTS was always meant to about more than the numbers, and so it’s a surprise the mechanical modifications are also in short supply outside the engine bay.

The standard-fit air suspension sits the chassis no lower than for any other PDCC-equipped Panamera, though as is also the case for those cars, selecting Sport mode effects a further 18mm and 10mm squat at the front and rear axle respectively. You get thicker anti-roll bars, at least for the non-PDCC base model, but relatively few will buy with such austerity.

For PDCC cars with active anti-roll bars (and a torque-vectoring rear differential) the electronic actuator is instead ordered to massage quite a bit more tension into the setup when required. Damper rates are also up, but the existing hardware remains. The same applies to the sports exhaust, whose software is altered for a bit more muscle-car woofle. All in, the GTS feels a lot like an tuning exercise using code instead of compression testers. 

What's it like?

Not that any of this stops the latest Panamera from feeling unnaturally athletic for its 1995kg kerb weight. Our time on the road is limited but stints on track highlight the car's ability to summon truly tenacious grip one moment then indulge the driver with tip-toe poise the next. 

Porsche has tuned the four-wheel drive in the GTS to remain rear-biased even after grip turns to slip. Along with an ESP Sport mode calibrated to intervene a moment later, it really shows, with the chassis adopting just a touch of yaw and feeling supremely well balanced in general – at least on track.

Indeed, there are more genial super-saloons, and quicker ones, but no comparable car dials you into the driving experience like a Panamera, and that is more palpable than ever in the GTS. It’s responsive to the sort of subtle throttle inputs lost on other big-boned cars and, thanks to a linear EPAS steering setup you'd be grateful to have in a bona fide sport car, devastatingly accurate right up to the point the Pirelli P Zeros begin to wilt. You’re not conscious of the body control, either, which suggests it is superbly effective.

Caveats? Blemishes, more like. There’s some latency to paddle-prompted shifts from the eight-speed PDK ‘box and, despite a hot-vee configuration, there’s still no question this engine is blown. 

Admittedly, our fully loaded test car was equipped with eerily effective rear-wheel steering, the PDCC chassis and carbon ceramic brakes, which together add the cost of a VW Up! to a £105,963 starting point. At £6707 the brakes are simply unneccesary (how many of these cars ever see a track, you wonder), but the rear-steering and sport chassis are certainly beneficial to both the Panamera's useability and capability. We'd have them.

That price, by the way, rises to £108,110 for the more practical (and prettier) Sport Turismo shooting brake model, whose top speed also drops a touch from the coupe’s 181mph. An M5 Competition costs considerably less but lacks the Porsche’s glamour. AMG’s new four-door take on the GT coupe has more presence and certainly wins the battle of perfomance but the asking price is commensurately higher. While expensive, then, the Panamera does find itself in some clear air.

Should I buy one?

If the GTS leaves you puffing out your cheeks with admiration, as it surely will, then it is also suffers the same affliction as so many modern performance cars. You’ll have to contrive to find any meaningful objective fault, but as the driver your window of opportunity to appreciate Porsche’s detailed changes is simply too high to be relevant on the road.

There’s some technical overkill going on here, and there’s also the fact the ever-present charm of the old 4.8-litre V8 has left the building. Fabulous as the GTS would be own, it leaves us wondering why you’d get one of these instead of the already excellent Panamera 4S

Ultimately the most satisfying Panamera to drive isn’t as characterful as it once was. Neither is it’s delicacy so easy to appreciate.

Porsche Panamera GTS specification

Where Bahrain Price £106,963 On sale Now Engine V8, 3996cc, twin-turbocharged petrol Power 454bhp at 6000-6500rpm Torque 457lb ft at 1800-6500rpm Gearbox 8-spd auto Kerb weight 1995kg Top speed 181mph 0-62mph 4.1sec Fuel economy 27.4mpg CO2 235g/km Rivals BMW M5 Competition, Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S

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Comments
11

31 October 2018

Vivid green paint job and bright yellow calipers; can't find the right words.

31 October 2018
275not599 wrote:

Vivid green paint job and bright yellow calipers; can't find the right words.

....unforgettable?

31 October 2018
beechie wrote:
275not599 wrote:

Vivid green paint job and bright yellow calipers; can't find the right words.

....unforgettable?

I was thinking unforgiveable

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

FMS

16 November 2018
xxxx wrote:

beechie wrote:
275not599 wrote:

Vivid green paint job and bright yellow calipers; can't find the right words.

....unforgettable?

I was thinking unforgiveable

 

Your posts are just that and unoriginal and much more...none of it good. TwIT, the w is silent, as you should be.

31 October 2018

  I like it, there, I said it, I like this paint scheme, the Yellow Calipers are great too,even the interior is restrained compared to some, it seems price wise to sit in the middle ground in other words it isn’t silly money.

Peter Cavellini.

31 October 2018
Peter Cavellini wrote:

  I like it, there, I said it, I like this paint scheme, the Yellow Calipers are great too,even the interior is restrained compared to some, it seems price wise to sit in the middle ground in other words it isn’t silly money.

You could buy the Porsche with a few nice options, still come in below the base price of an M5 and probably lose a little less to depreciation. Running costs will be high either way.

Citroëniste.

31 October 2018

I think some valid points have been made reviewing this car.  I personally think that some cars are over engineered for the majority of folk.  You cannot fault the engineering that a lot of cars have but to for me, some of it seems too much, and how often will you delve into the menu screen and use all of the options that are avialable?  I wager not that often

31 October 2018

Wow what a classy car! Lovely color of Porsche Panamera GTS care which first model was launched in 2016. Those who are willing to buy new car and looking for best review of their favorite brand car. I was bit curious and confused about this car as one of my colleague who provide dissertation help to students at Elite Assignment, has shared mismatch review about it. But now I can say that it is worth to have.

1 November 2018
his article has suggested to me many new ideas. I will embark on doing it. Hope you can continue to contribute your talents in this area. Thank you.

20 March 2019

Every model of Porsche have new features like it. Freelance Web Designer in Dubai

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