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First drive: Porsche Panamera GTS. Image by Porsche.

First drive: Porsche Panamera GTS
Hold your horses if you're about to order a Porsche Panamera Turbo, as the new GTS model could be the choice of the range.

 



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Porsche Panamera GTS

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Do you agree that the Porsche Panamera has finally evolved into a desirable alternative to the default luxury saloons (and estates)? Naturally, it competes with sportier models in rival brands' line-ups, as you'd hope from a car with 'PORSCHE' emblazoned across its rear end. That's true of the whole line-up, but could it be that the new Panamera GTS is the sportiest-to-drive variant yet? Even more engaging and involving than the mighty-fast Panamera Turbo? Better read on for the answer.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo
Pricing: 108,110 as tested; starts at 105,963
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat estate
CO2 emissions: 242g/km (VED Band 226-255: 1,760 in year one)
Combined economy: 26.6mpg
Top speed: 180mph
0-62mph: 4.1 seconds
Power: 460hp at 6,000-6,500rpm
Torque: 620Nm at 1,800-4,500rpm
Boot space: 500-1,340 litres

What's this?

Potentially the sportiest of all the Porsche Panameras you could spend your hard-earned on. And yes, that includes the ridiculously powerful Panamera Turbo. In fact, the new Panamera GTS takes the Turbo as its basis, which says a lot about Porsche's intentions. So, under the bonnet is the same twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8. It's mechanically identical, but maximum turbo boost has been reduced, so peak power is pegged at 460hp, while there's a 620Nm torque plateau from 1,800rpm to 4,500rpm. Apparently, you can't just reprogram the engine control unit to release the same outputs as the Panamera Turbo, as the eight-speed transmission in the GTS isn't rated for the higher performance... Still, 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds is hardly shabby, made possible partly because of the standard active four-wheel-drive system. The five-door version does it in the same time incidentally, even if it is fractionally quicker flat out, though we'd compromise on that for the more appealing appearance of the Sport Turismo 'estate'. Saying that, the fastback version of the Panamera GTS also gets the crowd-stopping automatically deployable rear spoiler of the Turbo model, which we're not sure we could do without. For downforce reasons, natch...

The rest of the visual makeover is standard GTS stuff, including a set of black 20-inch wheels and lots of black or dark detailing throughout. It works particularly well with a bright colour to help visually shrink the Panamera, making this the best-looking car to wear that badge yet in our opinions. Inside, there's more loveliness in the form of bespoke sports seats and a perfectly-dimensioned three-spoke steering wheel trimmed in tactile Alcantara.

Pricing for the Panamera GTS starts at 105,963 for the fastback or 108,110 for the Sport Turismo.

How does it drive?

The GTS badge is usually only applied to Porsches that pay more than lip service to the driving experience - and that's the case for the Panamera, too. Porsche has subtly massaged the chassis and powertrain so that it's sportier, without drastically ruining the inherent continent-crossing ability of the Panamera. The GTS is, categorically, the firmest model in the line-up and yet, thanks to air springs and adaptive damping, it's rarely what you'd call uncomfortable on the road. Sure, the wide low-profile tyres pick up on poor surfaces, but the movements and noise are well-isolated from the car's occupants - same for wind roar, incidentally.

And that V8 engine is well-judged. There's a pleasing rumble from the sports exhaust at all times, yet it's not intrusive when you're just cruising along the motorway. Choose Sport Plus mode, though, and it gets a little more audible, with distinct pops and burbles on the overrun - they may be simulated in this day and age of precise engine control, but they're still a lot of fun. Adding to that, Porsche has fitted a sound symposer under the bonnet, bringing more of the engine noise to the cabin. All this makes it feel like the V8 is allowed more personality in the GTS than it is in the relatively mute Turbo - even if the former isn't quite as ballistic.

Only on the wide and smooth expanses of a serious race track (such as the Bahrain F1 circuit that Porsche hired for the GTS launch) could you need more performance than this car produces. The chassis is well-matched to the powertrain, too, shuffling most of the power to the rear wheels most of the time, which makes for an entertaining rear-led stance on the exit of corners. It's more fun to drive then a car of this size and weight should be, that's for sure.

Verdict

The new Porsche Panamera GTS costs about 10,000 less than the equivalent Panamera Turbo, yet it has more character, a little more involvement and, well, we think it's cooler, too. Those that want to be seen in the ultimate Panamera may not think like that, but those that want the ultimate-to-drive model will find a lot to like about the new Panamera GTS.

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

4 4 4 4 4 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Driving Dynamics

5 5 5 5 5 Powertrain


Shane O' Donoghue - 30 Oct 2018









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2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.

2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS Sport Turismo. Image by Porsche.








 

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