Porsche Panamera GTS
Porsche Panamera GTS ST £108,110
WE SAY: TURBO S TOO FAST, 4S TOO PLAIN? THE GTS IS JUST RIGHT
You know the GTS formula: it’s the sporty but not insanely powerful one that collects all the best bits from the options list and blends with some visual tweakery. Designed to fill the gap between the 4S and the Turbo, this new Panamera GTS is the second of its kind, but the first to be offered in the Sport Turismo body style, thus making it infinitely cooler.
You get 4WD, an 8spd PDK gearbox, a sports exhaust and a 454bhp version of the 4.0-litre twinturbo V8 – 20bhp more than the 4S – for 0–62mph in 4.1secs. You also get adaptive air suspension lowered by 10mm, with firmer dampers, and the Sport Chrono package.
Then there’s the Sport Design pack, which adds black trim on the outside and black Alcantara and anodised aluminium trim on the inside, plus 20in wheels as standard and a liberal application of GTS logos.
As a GT, it’s supreme. Not squidgy like an S-Class, it guides you with a firmer hand but it’s never harsh, always whisper-quiet and ensconces you in one of the very finest interiors.
On track, the thrust, which seems bottomless on public roads, is a little thin. A combination of insulation from the outside world and a mediocre power-to-weight ratio means this isn’t a pointand-squirt weapon – there’s more finesse required to extract its potential.
You can lean on the brakes later and harder than you think, and if you don’t scrub enough speed, it will understeer. But get the nose turned in, and the way it tucks into the apex and then claws its way out the other side is impressive – there’s even whispers of 911 in the steering feel. The engine, while not quite as explosive or vocal as the AMG equivalent, is every bit as responsive, the PDK ’box approaching perfection.
I emerge from the Bahrain F1 track thinking the GTS would be ideal for driver training. You have to be smooth, precise and patient to make the most of it, but when you are, it’s capable of things you simply wouldn’t expect. Do the sums on the Panamera you want, and it’s the GTS that’ll pop out. We’ll take ours in Mamba Green.
VERDICT: A two-tonne wagon that attacks the track like a sports car and the road like a limo. The one to have...
SPECIFICATION3996cc V8 twin-turbo, 4WD, 454bhp, 457lb ft 26.6 mpg, 242 g/km CO 0–62mph in 4.1secs, 179mph 2025kg