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First Drive: Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.

First Drive: Porsche Panamera Turbo S
Porsche adds even more power to its rocket-ship Turbo model to create the Turbo S. Autobahns beware.

   



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| First Drive | Munich, Germany | First Drive: Porsche Panamera Turbo S |

Overall rating: 5 5 5 5 5

Even greater autobahn-storming potential is added to the Panamera range with the Turbo S. It'll out-accelerate a 911 GT3 RS 4.0, seat four in comfort and cruise at over 190mph. Bonkers.

Key Facts

Pricing: 122,623
Engine: 4.8-litre V8 twin-turbo
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG, BMW M5, Aston Martin Rapide
CO2 emissions: 270g/km
Combined economy: 24.5mpg
Top speed: 191mph
0-62mph: 3.8 seconds
Power: 542bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 590lb.ft at 2,500 - 4,000rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

Thanks to Porsche's hectic launch cycle we've been here a few times recently and each time we're more seduced with the Panamera's looks. That's even truer with this Turbo S, which gains some subtle but effective body alterations to add some visual punch to match the massive grunt on offer from the twin-turbo V8. It's not pretty in a conventional sense, but there's no denying it's got plenty of presence.

Deeper side sills, a body colour painted retractable rear spoiler, 20-inch alloy wheels and Turbo S badging highlight this range topper on the outside. Inside, unique two-tone leather combinations are offered, while it's fully loaded with kit as standard too - as you might expect with the flagship model.

Driving it: 5 5 5 5 5

That the Porsche Panamera Turbo S is fast hardly comes as a surprise, as anything packing 542bhp and 590lb.ft of torque is going to be rapid. What's genuinely shocking is just how quick it is. The official 0-62mph time is just 3.8 seconds (faster than the 911 GT3 RS 4.0), but that number only tells a tiny part of the ferocity of the acceleration on offer. It's utterly relentless in its thrust, the 4.8-litre engine with its lighter turbines producing laugh-out-loud performance. The V8's mating with the quick dual-clutch seven-speed auto is a near perfect match; the gears shift almost imperceptibly - though the reluctance to upshift when dawdling does require some intervention via the hopeless wheel-mounted shift buttons - thankfully paddles are available for no additional cost.

Helping keep all that power in check is a chassis containing all of Porsche's dynamic and performance enhancing systems. As a result the Turbo S's specification has more letters attached to it than a Scrabble factory, though they all interact to enable the Turbo S to carry its so easily gained pace with utter impunity. It's ridiculously agile given its size, the only real limiting factor being the width on narrow roads.

The steering is finely weighted too; there's some feel at the wheel's rim and the grip and traction on offer is sensational. Find a series of fast, sweeping bends and there are few cars that'll carry such immense speed with such little fuss. Unrestricted Autobahns are the Turbo S's hunting ground, where it'll sit all day at over 180mph, but it's equally as capable on a challenging B-road. If anything it's the Turbo S's crushing competence in all conditions, on all roads, that robs it of some of its appeal. You won't go as fast in a Panamera S, but you'll have more fun - especially in the manual version.

What you get for your Money: 3 3 3 3 3

Aside from getting one of the most accelerative, most capable sports saloons you can buy you get lots of standard equipment. There's obviously the option to add some more, with Porsche's PCCB brakes inexplicably not coming on the standard equipment list. You can add premium stereo equipment and dip into Porsche's 'Exclusive' department, too. All in, it's not cheap, but buyers won't care - nor should they.

Worth Noting

All that additional pace doesn't come at the expense of fuel economy, with the Turbo S's official consumption figure pegged at the same 24.6mpg as its regular Turbo relative. Good luck with that though, as even with stop-start as standard and a light foot you're unlikely to ever see anything approaching such a figure.

Summary

Porsche's Panamera Turbo is crazy fast already and the S turns the loony dial up a notch. It's expensive, but it's packed with kit and if you're going for a Turbo anyway you might as well have the full-on S. Crushingly competent and insanely quick, it's difficult to compare it to anything else. And that's a huge part of its appeal.


Kyle Fortune. Photography by Max Earey. - 8 Jun 2011



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2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.



2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 

2011 Porsche Panamera Turbo S. Image by Max Earey.
 






 

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