For­mi­da­ble piece of ma­chin­ery

Business Day - Motor News - - MO­TOR NEWS -

That V8 en­gine im­me­di­ately takes cen­tre stage thanks to its burbly sound­track and su­per flat torque curve. You’ve ba­si­cally got 620Nm to play with from 1,800rpm all the way up to nearly 5,000rpm, which gives it some en­vi­able punch when ex­it­ing cor­ners.

It’s put down well too: Porsche’s ac­tive all-wheel drive sys­tem makes sure all that mus­cle is de­liv­ered to the tar­mac with­out any tyre-smok­ing drama. Com­ple­mented by a long wheel­base you get a car that feels in­cred­i­bly sta­ble when you turn the wick up — es­pe­cially through the faster high-speed sweeps. Gear changes are han­dled by the firm’s ex­cel­lent eight-speed PDK trans­mis­sion that, when set to Sport Plus Mode, has your back through all bends. Even though there are pad­dles on the wheel you will never need to use them — it’s that good.

Night falls and my sec­ond ses­sion is held un­der ar­ti­fi­cial light. The lay­out has been switched to the full-fat For­mula One cir­cuit and there are a few tighter and more com­pli­cated cor­ners thrown into the mix.

And the GTS hides its heft well when chucked through them thanks to its trick sports chas­sis. Not only does it sit 10mm lower to the ground than the reg­u­lar Panam­era but the ac­tive three-cham­ber air sus­pen­sion sys­tem has been tweaked to de­liver sharper han­dling on the ragged limit. Turn-in is might­ily im­pres­sive for such a large ma­chine while body roll is barely distin­guish­able.

You could be for­given be­liev­ing you were in a smaller ve­hi­cle. Yet for me the star of the dy­namic show is the brak­ing per­for­mance. Equipped with the op­tional car­bon ceram­ics there is zero fade present here — even af­ter three hot laps that in­clude brak­ing from 240km/h to about 60km/h in less than 100m. It’s quite as­ton­ish­ing.

THAT V8 EN­GINE IM­ME­DI­ATELY TAKES CEN­TRE STAGE THANKS TO ITS BURBLY SOUND­TRACK AND SU­PER FLAT TORQUE CURVE

But then the whole pack­age is. Well, at least from what I can tell af­ter driv­ing it for a few short hours. You’re get­ting all the lux­ury of the lesser mod­els plus a sportier ex­te­rior part­nered to the kind of per­for­mance po­ten­tial few own­ers will ever dream about chan­nelling.

And if Porsche does land the Panam­era GTS range at un­der R2m when it ar­rives here next year, well, then it’s some­thing of a bar­gain too. See it then as the think­ing man’s Turbo. Just not in Bahrain though: race­track aside I think I’d be more com­fort­able tak­ing a taxi.

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