Spaced-up Porsche

New Sport Turismo is roomier, more stylish ver­sion of the Panam­era

The Star Early Edition - - MOTORING - JESSE ADAMS

CALL IT what you will. Sta­tion wagon, es­tate, shoot­ing brake, or, in Porsche-speak … Sport Turismo. This roomier, and if you ask us, much more at­trac­tive new Panam­era body style was launched in­ter­na­tion­ally in Canada this week, and when it’s in­tro­duced to our mar­ket in Septem­ber, will sup­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing sedan range.

Porsche will tell you its new wagon, sorry, Sport Turismo has been de­vel­oped to of­fer cus­tomers some added prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits, and in­deed it does. The boot’s big­ger, the back door aper­tures are (ever so slightly) taller for eas­ier board­ing and dis­em­bark­ing, and it’s the first Panam­era since 2009 with seats for five.

Just don’t go ex­pect­ing this big-rumped ver­sion to cure all your lug­gage and pas­sen­ger car­ry­ing woes, be­cause if you dig deep into its spec sheets you’ll find the in­flated di­men­sions don’t add up to much ex­tra space at all. With the back seats in place there’s an­other 20 litres of cargo haul­ing abil­ity and 50 litres more (1390 litres) when they’re folded flat.

The Sport Turismo gets an op­tional 4+1 seat­ing lay­out, mean­ing there’s a third three-point seat­belt in the mid­dle of the rear bench, but this is best con­sid­ered an emer­gency jump seat for cart­ing an ex­tra kid­die home from soc­cer prac­tice. Sit here and your legs will have to strad­dle the cen­tre tun­nel, and worse, the rear cli­mate con­trol vents blow di­rectly at your nether re­gions. I’d ad­vise stick­ing to the stan­dard-fit 2+2 lay­out with in­di­vid­ual buck­ets, un­less spare kid­die haulage is a must.

The cargo bay may be not that much big­ger, but it is a more us­able shape. The hatch opens wider so awk­ward ob­jects like bi­cy­cles or dog crates will slip in­side with less fuss.

It’s also eas­ier to lift heav­ier items into the bay be­cause the load sill, at 63cm high, is much lower than the sedan’s.

Atop the tail­gate is a three­stage me­chan­i­cal spoiler (the first of its kind on a wagon, says Porsche) that gen­er­ates up to 50kg of down­force at speeds over 170km/h.

It also raises to a spe­cific hight when the sun­roof is open to pre­vent wind buf­fet­ing in the cabin.

The boot can be specced with a load man­age­ment sys­tem (also op­tional) which in­cludes four lash­ing points, and two em­bed­ded rails in the floor for an ad­justable par­ti­tion di­vider.

There’s yet an­other op­tion for a 230 volt house­hold-style plug point, but three elas­tic cargo nets and a re­tractable lug­gage cover are in­cluded for free.

From the B-pil­lars for­ward the Sport Turismo is iden­ti­cal to the Panam­era sedan. You get the same slick dash­board lay­out with a 31.2cm touch­screen dis­play, and a broad, gloss black cen­tre con­sole with touch sen­si­tive, hap­tic-click­ing but­tons. The in­stru­ment bin­na­cle is car­ried over, and in­cludes par­tial dig­i­tal lay­outs on ei­ther side of the over­sized cen­tral rev-counter for in­ter­change­able in­fo­tain­ment and nav­i­ga­tion dis­plays. The gim­micky cen­tre vents that move around elec­tron­i­cally with a fin­ger on the touch­screen are also in­cluded.

Tech is laid on thick, and be­sides the usual adap­tive cruise con­trol, lane keep­ing aids, bird’s eye view park­ing mon­i­tors and var­i­ous con­nected ser­vices, buy­ers can go wild with add-on items like 20-speaker Burmester sound sys­tems, night vi­sion, elec­tric tail­gates, panoramic sun­roofs and Ma­trix LED head­lights. A rear seat en­ter­tain­ment pack­age in­cludes two sep­a­rate 25.4cm seat-mounted tablet de­vices, each with their own in­te­grated cam­era for video calls and 32 gigs worth of stor­age space for mu­sic.

In­ter­est­ingly, the front dis­play is com­pat­i­ble with Ap­ple CarPlay, while the backs use An­droid op­er­at­ing sys­tems ex­clu­sively.

The Sport Turismo was launched with five en­gine op­tions, but we’ll only get three of those, with the diesel and hy­brid ver­sions off the list for South Africa. That leaves us with three purely petrol op­tions start­ing with a base Panam­era 4, a mi­dlevel 4S and a range-top­ping Turbo.

The 4 uses a 243kW/450Nm 3-litre turbo V6, and gets a claimed 0-100km/h time of 5.3 sec­onds with a top speed of 259km/h. The 4S ac­tu­ally em­ploys a smaller ca­pac­ity V6 (2894cc ver­sus 2995) but twin-tur­bocharg­ing bumps power up to 324kW/550Nm re­sult­ing in 0-100km/h in 4.2 sec­onds with a top speed of 286. The flag­ship turbo is fit­ted with a 404kW/770Nm biturbo V8, and fig­ures here are 3.6 sec­onds and 304km/h.

All ver­sions use eight-speed auto gear­boxes driv­ing all four wheels, and all get air ad­justable air sus­pen­sion and four-wheel steer­ing as stan­dard equip­ment. Wheel size is 19-inches for V6 mod­els, and 20s come on the Turbo, but ei­ther can get mas­sive 21-inch­ers op­tion­ally.

On av­er­age the Sport Turismo costs around R100 000 more than equiv­a­lent sedan mod­els, and that’s prob­a­bly a strate­gic move to keep in­ter­est in the reg­u­lar four-door vari­ant alive. See, Porsche will tell you the new wagon of­fers greater prac­ti­cal­ity, but we know it was made be­cause it’s just plain gor­geous. PRICES: Panam­era 4 Sport Turismo R1 431 000

Panam­era 4S Sport Turismo - R1 667 000

Panam­era Turbo Sport Turismo - 2 522 000

Claimed per­for­mance fig­ures men­tioned above are when fit­ted with op­tional Sport Chrono pack­ages. With­out Sport Chrono times are slightly slower.

From the B-pil­lars for­ward the Sport Turismo is iden­ti­cal to the Panam­era sedan.

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