FLEX­I­BLE FLYER

With a torquey turbo V8, Panam­era GTS bal­ances com­fort and per­for­mance AT A GLANCE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - DAMIEN REID

When a Porsche comes from the fac­tory with a GT badge, it’s usu­ally a no-com­pro­mise, all­out track day weapon. With the 2019 Panam­era GTS, the badge sig­ni­fies a bal­ance be­tween per­for­mance and com­fort rather than out­right ag­gres­sion.

In both body styles, con­ven­tional sedan and Sport Turismo wagon, the Panam­era GTS slots be­tween the ex­ec­u­tive ex­press 4S V6 and the mon­strously quick Panam­era Turbo V8.

There may be a pair of twin scroll tur­bocharg­ers to feed its 4.0-litre V8 but the GTS gives away 66kW to the Turbo. Still, with 338kW on tap, there’s noth­ing de­mure about it.

That’s ob­vi­ous from its looks. It gives all the right sig­nals by rid­ing on 20-inch al­loy wheels, air sus­pen­sion low­er­ing its stance by 10mm.

Its tuned ex­haust emits gives a deepthroated bur­ble at idle be­fore mor­ph­ing into a men­ac­ing growl at speed (which you can can­cel at the touch of a but­ton if the neigh­bours com­plain).

Sub­tly smoked lenses on the head­lamps and tail-lights cap off the kit — the GTS can only be a sport­ing mem­ber of the fam­ily.

On pa­per, the GTS en­gine looks sim­i­lar to the VW/Audi 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 that pow­ers var­i­ous Bent­leys and the Lam­borgh­ini

PORSCHE PANAM­ERA GTS PRICE

EN­GINE

THIRST 0-100KM/H TOP SPEED Urus. Porsche, how­ever, main­tains it’s an in­house en­gine de­vel­oped for the Panam­era, de­liv­er­ing peak power at 6000rpm and with 620Nm of torque com­ing on like a train from just 1800rpm.

In a day’s drive on roads through the hot, hu­mid deserts around Bahrain, its very us­able torque was the most ob­vi­ous trait, as the transms­sion shifts early through its eight gears.

This was fur­ther em­pha­sised later in the evening as we ran hot laps on the king­dom’s F1 cir­cuit. The V8’s power de­liv­ery was swift, eas­ily spin­ning into its 6000rpm red­line, but such was its flex­i­bil­ity that we could have matched the speeds by shift­ing early and rid­ing the torque wave as its tur­bos spooled up.

Once the ugly duck­ling of the Porsche fam­ily, the big Panam­era con­tin­ues its evo­lu­tion into a more ap­peal­ing shape thanks to the ad­vent of the Sport Turismo.

The wagon-like rear styling al­most cre­ates an op­ti­cal il­lu­sion, trick­ing the eye into re­gard­ing it as a big­ger car — and it is ar­guably bet­ter look­ing. The sub­tle cos­metic tweaks made to the GTS, mixed with some vi­brant new colours, con­tinue the wel­come trans­for­ma­tion.

De­spite ap­pear­ances, both body styles carry the same 2950mm wheel­base and mea­sure 5053mm nose to tail.

Each seats four but the Sport Turismo’s larger tail­gate makes load­ing eas­ier.

Tip­ping the scales at 2585kg, the Panam­era GTS is no light­weight but that didn’t hin­der its progress on track.

It ac­cel­er­ated from rest to 100km/h in

4.1 sec­onds and on to 200km/h in 15.4 sec­onds be­fore touch­ing 292km/h flat out.

The 2700kg Sport Turismo was two-tenths slower to 200km/h and ran out of breath 3km/h shy of the sedan’s top speed. Claimed fuel fig­ures show the Sport Turismo to be slightly thirstier at 10.6L/100km com­bined as op­posed to 10.3L for the sedan.

The adap­tive air sus­pen­sion uses three­cham­ber air springs to keep that large frame from pitch­ing and yaw­ing through tight cor­ners. Its brakes — 390mm front discs and 360mm rear — took some pun­ish­ment on track but were eas­ily up to the task.

Power is sent to Porsche’s ac­tive all-wheel drive set-up via the eight-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic.

Slightly more mod­est than the ex­te­rior, the GTS cabin has only a few tell-tale point­ers to high­light its sports cre­den­tials such as Al­can­tara leather for the 18-way ad­justable sports seats and steer­ing wheel.

The best news in­side is the adop­tion of a head-up dis­play, a lit­tle late in the game but with the ad­van­tage of be­ing fully cus­tomis­able via the 12.3-inch cen­tre con­sole touch­screen. The driver can se­lect as lit­tle or as much in­for­ma­tion as de­sired on speed, nav­i­ga­tion, as­sis­tance data and warn­ings.

Or­der books are open for de­liv­ery early next year. Prices are from $364,100 for the GTS and $371,400 for the Sport Turismo.

PRES­TIGE

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