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Porsche pulls off 'The British Job'. Image by Porsche.

Porsche pulls off 'The British Job'
Red, white and blue Panameras transport £10m worth of gold bullion.
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Newer articles featuring 2018 Porsche Panamera

2018-05-01: Driven: Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo

What's all this about?

What do you reckon the most secure way of transporting £10million-worth of gold bullion is? An armoured car? A tank? Perhaps by a fortified train, armed with very large guns, a whole onboard security detail of MI6-trained operatives and maybe some ground-to-air missiles, too? Or, alternatively, you could just use three Porsche Panamera Sport Turismos.

You cannot be serious?!

Oh, we are. In a sort of above-board British version of The Italian Job, leading UK bullion merchants and gold refiners Baird & Co allowed Porsche to pull off one hell of a PR stunt - one that included no little security risk, we can tell you. In order to transfer the gold from Baird & Co's HQ in east London, to the Hatton Garden vault (yes, it IS that vault...) 12 miles away, the merchants insisted that the vehicles provided had to be capable of carrying four adults - the driver, a radio operator and specialist security - and have the load capacity to take two specially-designed gold bullion crates that, when loaded with the gold, weighed more than 60kg each. And as the longer the journey took, the more the potential risk of something going wrong, these machines had to be powerful enough to move fast if the need arose - even when fully laden.

Right, I see where this is going now. So were the Sport Turismos of the punchier variety?

They were indeed. Two UK-registered Turbo models, with 550hp, were joined by a German-registered Turbo S E-Hybrid, packing a 680hp wallop. And can you guess what colours these three Panamera Sport Turismos were in?

Red, white and blue?

Very astute of you. So, each gold bar is the size of a house brick, weighs 12.5kg and costs £416,666. With the three Porsches part of a convoy that included a lead vehicle, additional security teams and air support in the form of a helicopter, the crews set off from east London at 11am on a Sunday and were at Hatton Garden 30 minutes later without a hitch. Porsche is keen to let us know that, thanks to the Sport Turismos' air suspension, the cars remained level throughout the journey and, once they were at their destination, specialist teams extracted the six bullion crates and deposited the whole lot in the vault. Therefore, fast, secure and practical - can there be any finer demonstration of the Panamera Sport Turismo's astounding all-round capabilities than this?

No, probably not. Have we got any words from the Baird & Co people?

Indeed. Nick Hammond, director of Baird & Co, said: "We take an awful lot of measures to ensure the security of our staff and, of course, the gold - we really do try and avoid risk. And in this instance, we had a very large shipment of gold to transport - which is quite rare. We had to rely on the cars to be absolutely reliable, to be stable and to be more than capable of carrying the gold with capacity - in terms of performance - to spare. We didn't want the vehicles to be anywhere near their limits, which is asking quite a lot. And, despite the phenomenal weight, and the density of the weight, that the Panameras had to carry, they performed impeccably." Although we reckon it's unlikely the company will be using Porsches for all future trips as a result of this little escapade...

Presumably, Porsche is pleased with the way things turned out?

Oh, indubitably. But let's just leave you with some final facts: each of the Panameras' 520-litre boots was filled with £3.3m of gold. That's enough to buy 28 examples of the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo, at £118,828 each, and still have money left over for options, or even 23 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismos... with a bit of change. Yikes!

Matt Robinson - 22 Jan 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Porsche Panamera

2017-11-29: ‘Rent-A-Porsche’ scheme begins in London
2017-12-04: First drive: Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo

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