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Driven: Porsche Panamera GTS. Image by Porsche AG.

Driven: Porsche Panamera GTS
We’re getting perilously close to supersaloon perfection with this green V8 masterpiece.

 



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Porsche Panamera GTS

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: this is the Panamera at its absolute, mesmerising best - the GTS is just glorious

Not so good: it would be even better in this exact spec but as a Sport Turismo instead

Key Facts

Model tested: Porsche Panamera GTS
Price: Panamera range from £72,890; GTS from £105,963, car as tested £131,672
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed PDK dual-clutch automatic, PTM all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door fastback supersaloon
CO2 emissions: 235g/km (VED Band 226-255: £1,815 in year one, then £465 per annum years two-six of ownership, then £145 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 27.4mpg
Top speed: 181mph
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

Our view:

Car critics, like ourselves, can often talk about the 'sweet spot' of the range. Sometimes, this is simply a case of they couldn't book anything more powerful so they're merely trying to justify why the 110hp diesel is better than the 300hp hot hatch. And critics are sometimes also wowed by a demonstrator car's unique specification, getting blown away with the colour of a vehicle or its interior trim, without remembering that a) some people might not like searing bright yellow on the outside with a red-and-black carbon fibre/Alcantara combo within, and b) the car's excellence or otherwise is wholly irrespective of how its press office has trimmed it up with paint and upholstery.

Hopefully, though, we're not falling into the same trap here when we say this Mamba Green Porsche Panamera GTS is undoubtedly, in our opinion, the sweet spot of the German sports saloon's range. And it's also absolutely magnificent to behold in this beautiful metallic green shade, to the point that - for the first time in our lives - we're not ashamed to say that we find this Panamera actively handsome. In fact, were it not for the fact the last Pan we drove in the UK was a Sport Turismo, so this time around we had to book a 'saloon' in the interests of balance, if this car had been a Mamba Green Panamera Sport Turismo GTS then we'd have been moved to declare it top of our internal 'lottery win machine' list. Which is an entirely hypothetical collection, of course, but there you have it.

Beyond the sparkling paintwork (a £929 option) and the GTS interior package in Crayon (£1,938... oof), what makes the Panamera GTS so incredibly good is the cohesive, of-a-piece balance of the car's chief components. There are faster Panameras than this, in the form of the Turbo and the quite deranged Turbo S E-Hybrid, but the latter starts at around £140,000 and is really, really heavy, while the former is brilliant but doesn't add much to the road-driving experience that the GTS cannot achieve. And, in truth, the GTS feels a bit more focused, a bit more nuanced, than the 550hp Turbo.

The GTS uses pretty much the same engine, a 4.0-litre biturbo V8, which here delivers 460hp and 620Nm to all four wheels (Porsche Traction Management) via an eight-speed PDK dual-clutch transmission. It's not exactly a light car, clocking in at 2,070kg, but by supersaloon standards it's about in the middle of the pack and so performance is blistering: 0-62mph in 4.1 seconds, top speed beyond 180mph. It also sounds terrific, with a truly wonderful V8 soundtrack that veers through several different, alluring voices from 1,000rpm to the redline. Sure, the Turbo trims another half-a-second off the acceleration stat and goes to 190mph, but you pay ten grand more for the privilege and we're not entirely sure why you'd need more speed and/or noise than the GTS can serve up.

It also handles magnificently, although - at this point - we ought to point out how much you have to splurge to get the GTS to this spec. From a starting ticket just south of £106,000, the price quickly takes off when you add Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC) including Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus) for £3,527, Rear-Axle Steering (RAS) including Power Steering Plus for £1,536, Porsche Ceramic Composite Brakes (PCCB) with the trademark yellow callipers for... wait for this... £6,707 (gulp!) and 21-inch Panamera Sport Design alloy wheels with a black high-gloss finish for £1,661. There were many more 'cost extra' items, mainly made up of dynamic LED headlights and 4+1 seating arrangements and privacy glass and soft-close doors and four-zone climate control and adaptive cruise control and a head-up display and a Bose Surround Sound System, which contributed to a final figure of £131,672. Ouch. Of course, these latter bits of kit don't affect how the Panamera drives, but how comfortable its occupant(s) is (are). Yet, even at nearly £132,000, the GTS still feels epic.

It turns in and grips like something carrying about 800 kilos less than it actually is. The steering, maybe not the greatest set-up Porsche has ever created, is nevertheless at the very peak of modern power-assisted systems, with a surprising amount of feel, beautiful weighting and a singular level of accuracy. As not even an ounce of the monumental biturbo V8 drivetrain's exertions seems to be wasted, courtesy of the immediacy of the PDK and the unimpeachable traction of the PTM, the brutal acceleration and whipcrack throttle response feel almost otherworldly. In short, for handling and performance, it is every bit a pukka Porsche, despite its large stature.

But as a luxury saloon, it's also majestic. You can sense the sporting aspirations of the chassis and the sheer unsprung weight of the optional 21s at the corners from time to time, but it's never uncomfortable, just taut. And you will happily cover many miles in it in total comfort, because it's impeccably quiet and composed when you're just cruising. We managed 520 miles and nearly 12 hours at the wheel of it in a week, where it even turned in 27.3mpg overall (despite several thrashes to enjoy the jewel of a V8 engine and the sublime chassis) with a motorway-run best of 33.6mpg being quite astonishing for something so big and powerful.

Which makes the Panamera GTS the consummate all-rounder, a car which is incredibly talented in all disciplines and hard to fault in any of them, either. Of course it's not cheap and it could be even more practical (and desirable) as a Sport Turismo, but seven days with the Green Panalishi have convinced us this really is the sweet spot of the Porsche's line-up. You can keep your Turbos and your TSEHs; this GTS is incontrovertibly the supersaloon for us. Oh, and we'll have it in Mamba Green, thanks.

Alternatives:

Aston Martin Rapide: vastly more expensive than the Panamera, albeit more powerful and prestigious too. However, Rapide's ageing architecture cannot match the Porsche's platform.

Audi S7 Sportback: as the RS 7 is a rival for the Turbo, then the TDI S7 is your Audi alternative to the Panamera GTS. It's down on power and much cheaper, as well as being less involving to drive too. Not in the same league.

BMW M850i Gran Coupe: for about the same price as the GTS, you could have the 530hp BMW. It's quicker, it looks good and it does handle superbly, but it's not as well-rounded a performance four-door as the Pan.


Matt Robinson - 12 Sep 2019









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2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.

2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.2019 Porsche Panamera GTS UK test. Image by Porsche AG.







 

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