Porsche Panam­era GTS

Porsche Panam­era GTS ST £108,110

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - JACK RIX

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

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